After working in food safety and quality for over 19 years, Chrissie Tuetken knows a thing or two about keeping food safe for consumers and making sure the processing plants meet strict standards. “I feel like it’s my duty to ensure companies have the resources to produce safe food. I have extensive experience in this area and love sharing this knowledge with others in order to establish good practices,” Chrissie said.
Last fall, Chrissie joined PFS client Bee Natural Uganda, a honey processor, on a project that included reviewing their GMP documents before being audited by the Uganda national regulatory body. “I’ve never worked with honey before, so this was a new experience for me. I had to learn what they do every day for their honey process,” she said.
There are many steps involved in producing safe honey for customers, Chrissie explained. “The product is checked before the combs are crushed and honey is extracted, then sieved, sterilized and packed into containers. I found it interesting that many of the general food safety ideas are the same even though the production steps were different. For example, we have to ensure our suppliers bring in the correct product and that checks are performed throughout the process to confirm the products meet specifications. Like many food products, the quality of our supply chain is key in producing quality products.”
When the project ends, Chrissie hopes Bee Natural Uganda and their quality team will gain a better understanding of the GMP prerequisites and can go on to become certified in the near future. “Overall, I have enjoyed learning from Bee Natural Uganda and talking through their food safety challenges as some of them are similar to the challenges we face in our plants.”
*Update (October 2020): Bee Natural Uganda is now prepared for a food safety and quality audit. Chrissie has recently joined a second project with Bee Natural Uganda helping them put together a HACCP plan that will further improve their food safety management system.