US audits Nam food safety

…as Meatco’s American beef market entry looms

By Hilary Mare

NAMIBIA, through the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) has undergone a public health and assurance audit by the United States of America via Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS).

The audit that was completed late last month ensures that Namibia complies with all the import requirements of the US beef market and based on the final audit report Namibia will be granted excess to continue exporting to the USA.

Confidente understands that as a food business operator, Meatco was audited at plant level by the FSIS auditor.

The auditor conducted a walk through the plant on 24 September at 06:00, whereby a thorough assessment of how the plant is prepared by the DVS health inspectors for start-up was carried out.

This was then followed by a further audit with the DVS personnel.

In addition to this, the auditor reviewed the plant’s food safety plan, namely, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), with no findings observed regarding the plan in place.

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“The final audit report will be shared with the DVS Namibia and they will communicate the findings with Meatco for the implementation of corrective actions, if there are any,” Quality Assurance Manager, Marchella Somaes, says.

“Meatco through Namibia was granted access to the American market in 2016 and the approval of the labelling was done at the beginning of January this year.

We are, therefore, excited about this additional market milestone as we look forward to fruitful trade relations,” Somaes adds

Meatco intends to market boneless raw beef products such as primal cuts, chuck-and-blade and beef trimming.

This inspection was conducted under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is responsible for the commercial supply of meat, correct labelling and packaging in that country.

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As aforementioned, this audit allows for American authorities to verify that Namibia remains in compliance with maintaining their required standards.

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On an annual basis, DVS submits an online self-audit, which FSIS verifies with an onsite audit every two years.

Namibia was audited on handling of Specific Risk Material (SRM) and controls over condemned material, microbiological sampling and testing, humane handling of animals, non-conformances and corrective actions, hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Plan, sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP), standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and verification, verification and review of documents and residue sampling and testing regimes.

Namibia intends to export some 860 000 kg of beef in the first year, rising to 5.

7 million kg by the fifth year. The projected Namibian beef imports in the first year would only be about 0.008 percent of total US production and 0.07 percent of total US meat imports.

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Evaluation of the Namibian meat inspection system started in 2002 and resumed in 2005 after which the government of Namibia requested approval to export beef products to the US.