Hospitality

TRAKKD: Boosting Compliance, Traceability, and Sustainability Across the Hospitality Industry

Providing global visibility to local data on a digital, paperless system that reduces waste, saves time, and minimises system costs

In the current hospitality landscape, pioneering companies are looking to reassess their methods, practices, and procedures, setting a new course of action for the post-pandemic era of hospitality.

High-quality digital mangement is crucial to their key objective of pivoting towards a future that is digital, transparent, traceable, and adaptable. Newer, more innovative systems are finally replacing the endless mounds of compliance paperwork.

What are Digital Quality Management Systems?

Digital quality management systems are software solutions that help organisations manage and improve their quality management processes. This software connects and harmonises data between its digitised host and key processes in food prodution and service.

TRAKKD is a digital quality management system. As an entirely digital host of cloud-accessed data, it ensures that hospitality teams are never lacking the most important information. TRAKKD simplifies data analysis and strengthens food compliance, seen in its successful implementation by well-established brands such as McDonalds, KraftHeinz, and Albron, among others.

How does TRAKKD work, and how much can it save?

Put simply, TRAKKD has two core parts: the digital checklist, and the real-time wireless monitoring.

Moving away from manual paperwork towards a digital checklist system modernises information storage processes. As an entirely paperless app, it limits the amount of paper discarded in landfill sites, while making detailed calculations for regular food waste savings – integral to sustainability pledges. TRAKKD keeps all food safety data in one secure location, rather than in overwhelming piles of time-consuming paperwork.

See a specific cost savings breakdown below based on TRAKKD’s implementation at Albron, a leading food service and catering company with over 700 venues throughout Europe.

KPI

Cost of Current Method

Cost of Digital Method (TRAKKD)

Price per manual per year per location (paper, printing, sending, etc)

     -Complete manual /registration provided as a book

     -Per location £307 (per year)

£307

£105

Labour hours (filling in checklists) per location

     -Average 1.25 hours per week using current method

     -Average 1 hour per week using digital method

     -Fewer temperatures have to be taken using real-time temperature monitoring, saving 0.5 hours per week on average

     -Hourly pay rate: £12.50

£713

£570

Checklist management per year (maintenance, archiving, approval etc of checklists)

     -Quality support at HQ and regional managers involved in the process

     -Estimated savings of 2 FTE

£87,650

£0

Reduction of inspections (from two per year to one or ideally zero)

     -Inspections cost £132 per visit

£264

£132 or £0

Reduction of travel to separate locations (fuel, car maintenance, CO2 reduction, time saved)

     -Due to TRAKKD’s HQ/regional dashboarding and reporting, teams travel less frequently to single locations, management spends less time creating reports etc)

Hard to quantify, but one of the most significant costs in this table

As seen above, TRAKKD offers savings totalling more than £88,000 per year. And that’s not including waste savings due to equipment failure, especially of fridges and freezers.

This is because TRAKKD’s features allow users to make informed decisions about performance based on accurate data analysis, filtered by any parameter including user, site, region, country, etcetera – invaluable information for eliminating food safety hazards.

In the past, such information was only available on paper at the location itself, whereas TRAKKD’s global cloud access makes its data reachable wherever, 24/7. This traceability also pinpoints the root cause of any mishap, preventing any costly re-occurrences in future.

As put by Ruud Homan, Operations Manager at Albron: “TRAKKD gives us the opportunity to adjust immediately. In addition, it offers the possibility to make trend analyses at various levels. This gives us fast and actionable insights into which areas are performing better and which need improvement. We can then quickly adjust, operationally, according to these findings.”

Can TRAKKD connect with other equipment?

The second part of TRAKKD is real-time wireless monitoring with Bluetooth connectivity.

Using sensors compatible with its state-of-the-art software, TRAKKD combines the routine reporting and digital management system outlined above with wireless monitoring across a variety of parameters.

Of these parameters, the all-in-one temperature monitoring system has been highly praised by TRAKKD’s early adopter companies, above all its automatic synchronisation of information, which eliminates costly human error. As the first provider to offer this fully integrated hardware, we are immensely proud of the positive impact TRAKKD has had in better preparing food businesses for upcoming audits, while also saving vast amounts of money.

What are the main benefits of TRAKKD?

There are three overarching benefits to the implementation of a digital quality management system like TRAKKD.

1) Reduced Waste

Having to discard stock due to faults or coldspots in food storage areas is a massive drain on funds. TRAKKD prevents this, identifying potential breaches of compliance before they occur.

There is also a sustainability benefit to this. On average, 1/3 of our individual carbon footprint is made up of what we eat and drink. A primary consideration for many food businesses is how to cut this footprint. Choosing producers and suppliers who calculate the CO2 impact per product is one method. Operating with a system that – through rigorous, accurate tracking – significantly reduces food waste is another method.

2) Time Saved

By managing all data, checklists, and warnings in one place, on one app, TRAKKD significantly cuts the amount of time employees waste on manual paperwork checks and temperature monitoring checks. This ensures employees have sufficient time to focus on what they’re there to do – preparing and serving food!

Unlike other systems, TRAKKD is designed to be user-friendly to the extent that, once employees receive our training in how to professionally operate the system, this can be done independently, without any devious add-ons in price.

3) Minimised System Costs

Costs are lower than other digital management systems thanks to TRAKKD’s pay-per-kitchen model – a pricing structure which actually suits hospitality businesses, rather than the conventional pay-per-user system. In turn, this allows food businesses to offer greater affordability in prices for their loyal customer base, without compromising on compliance or quality.

Designed for kitchen teams, clients, contract teams, compliance managers, front-of-house teams (or really just any food team member, anywhere), TRAKKD offers an innovative digitised solution to post-pandemic food safety in the hospitality sector.

If you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our team of experts to arrange an initial consultation: 01473 461 800. We also offer a completely free of charge 30-day trial for those wanting to test out TRAKKD first.

If you want to learn more about our most popular digital quality management system, click below to download our TRAKKD information sheet.


What is the Best Way to Check Oil Quality?

Resolving the TPM vs FFA Debate

At Klipspringer, we’ve been helping manufacturing and hospitality businesses to ensure food compliance for over 20 years. By removing all guesswork from food oil management, we’ve modernised food safety for the likes of McDonalds, Whitbread, Chopstix, Wasabi, and Five Guys.  

One of the most frequent questions we receive from our customers is: which method of checking oil quality is most accurate, compliant, and objective? This article aims to answer that question, addressing a much-contested area of food oil management: the TPM (Total Polar Materials) vs FFA (Free Fatty Acids) debate.

Read on to find out more.  

Why does frying oil need testing?

Frying produces exceptionally flavoursome food. It is an inexpensive, rapid, and popular way of cooking, which delivers the ultimate food sensory trifecta of “golden, brown, and delicious”, or “GBD”.  

However, this trifecta is only guaranteed if the food in question is fried in safe, high-quality oil. Past a certain level – where the oil is not brand new, but rather from B-C on the below graph – this quality is jeopardised by the repeated use of oil, which causes it to degrade. When oil is used continually, an increasing number of chemical reactions occur, leading to alterations in its composition.  

As cooking oil degrades, so does the taste, texture, and overall flavour of the food. For manufacturers and hospitality businesses that prioritise product consistency, this can be a pressing issue.  

Product integrity is another area compromised by flawed oil management processes. In the worst-case scenario, it can expose customers to the build-up of acrylamide – a cancer-causing chemical.  

On the other side of the coin is oil wastage. Research has shown that, surprisingly, most businesses prematurely discard usable oil due to basic or outdated testing methods. Amid astronomical rises in oil prices, a growing number of restaurant operators are arriving at the same conclusion: monitoring oil quality ensures compliance, prioritises sustainability, and significantly cuts costs. The only question remaining is how best to do it.  

What are the most common oil testing methods?

Currently, there are three predominant oil testing methods used in the industry. The first is simple, but amateurish. The second is relatively accurate, but subjective. The third is eco-friendly, cost-saving, and entirely objective.  

Read on to learn about the core differences, pros, and cons of each method.   

 

Method #1 – Visual Inspection 

Unfortunately, many restaurants still change their oil based on a quick visual check. While some chefs with vast amounts of experience can make informed guesses about when to change their oil, their decision is still subjective. It stems from the “we’ve always done it that way” rationale which has come to harm many businesses over the years, whether it be through unnecessary expenditures, unsustainable practices, or audit non-conformances.  

In this day and age, taking a quick glance at a batch of cooking oil and deciding if it’s safe simply doesn’t cut it. This is twofold: the rate of darkening differs from oil to oil, and is also dependent on filtering practices and product types. Overall, visual inspection is better than no method of oil monitoring, but there are more accurate options available.  

Method #2 – FFA Measurement (Test Strips) 

High levels of FFA, or Free Fatty Acids, directly correlate to off-colours, off-odours, and off-flavours in fried food products. FFA is typically measured using test strips. After being dipped into the oil, a range of colours appear on the strip. This is then compared to a colour reference chart to determine FFA levels. Standard test strips measure free fatty acid levels from 2% up to 7%, with 5.5% to 7% as the discard range.  

So, just how effective are FFA Test Strips?  

With an overall accuracy of roughly 80%, these strips offer greater compliance than any visual inspection, but don’t provide the same assurance nor peace of mind as other methods. This is primarily because the comparison of the strips’ colouring with the colour chart is still subjective to inadequate or distorted lighting, and strips can also easily be contaminated by improper storage.  

Studies have found that monitoring methods based on dielectric constant provide more “objective and valuable results” than those based on colorimetric reactions. In other words, methods that go beyond surface-level colouring – outlined below – are more reliable.

Dielectric constant-based methods are also less likely to be single-use, unlike test strips, which result in an ongoing cost of around £300 per year.  

Overall, FFA Measurement is still a reasonable solution for food oil monitoring, but isn’t particularly ground-breaking given modern technological advances. As explained above, there is nothing inherently wrong or non-compliant about it. But, for businesses seeking to go the extra mile, other more innovative options are out there.    

Method #3 – TPM Measurement (Food Oil Monitors) 

Devices which determine cooking oil quality by TPM, or Total Polar Materials, remove the subjectivity found with previously summarised methods. By basing data on changes in the dielectric constant, handheld TPM devices – usually a Food Oil Monitor – are greater in accuracy than FFA-based methods.  

TPM Measurements is the most current method utilised in commercial kitchens. Legislatively encouraged across Europe, the go-to critical parameter for TPM limits falls between 24% to 27%. A TPM reading of higher than 25% is considered the discard point in many European countries.  

Best used at the end of each trading day, when the oil is still hot, Food Oil Monitors are efficient and fast to operate. Kitchen staff simply have to place the sensor stem into the vat of oil, and then use a gentle stirring motion until the light at the top of the instrument begins to flash. If the Monitor flashes green, the oil is safe to use again. If it flashes amber, the oil needs changing soon. If it flashes red, the oil requires immediate changing.  

For smaller establishments, a potential drawback of Food Oil Monitors is the upfront cost – usually in the region of £400. However, once purchased and implemented, the Monitors typically show a return on investment within six months, and should last for three or more years. What’s more, these Monitors can be specifically calibrated to various oil types, and are able to verify temperature, as well as oil quality.  

Method

Summary

Pros

Cons

Visual Inspection

Simple eye test based on oil colour

  • Speedy

  • Inaccurate

  • Dependent on individual judgement

  • Lack of product integrity & consistency

FFA Measurement

Uses test strips and a colour chart to measure Free Fatty Acids

  • Relatively accurate (around 80%)

  • Compliant

  • Single-use (£300 per year in ongoing costs & wastage)

  • Subjective to inadequate or distorted lighting

  • Contaminated by improper storage

TPM Measurement

Uses a Food Oil Monitor to measure Total Polar Materials

  • Uses the dielectric constant for high accuracy

  • Compliant

  • Objective

  • ROI within 6 months

1. Upfront cost of around £400

Hopefully this summary has given you a structured insight into the best ways to check oil quality, and has provided some clarity in settling the age-old debate between FFA and TPM.  

Want to quickly outline each oil monitoring method’s pros and cons with your team? Refer to the above table for a concise overview.  

For a concrete example of how Food Oil Monitors have helped companies increase compliance and cut oil usage, read about how Whitbread made savings of up to 52%. 


UK Hospitality Staff Shortages Hit Record High

Four Solutions to Help Food Businesses Overcome the Recruitment Crisis

Recent figures reveal that one in four hospitality businesses have been forced to close their doors due to an ‘endemic’ of staff shortages.

Exacerbated by Brexit and Covid, the hospitality recruitment crisis had been building for years. Now, the problem has spiralled horribly out of control, culminating in a record high 174,000 hospitality vacancies according to trade body UKHospitality.

During the height of summer, when hospitality businesses generate around three-quarters of their annual turnover (especially coastal businesses), staff-enforced closures can be the difference between survival and insolvency.

While the recruitment crisis is undoubtedly predicated on the current economic climate, there are several approaches that hospitality businesses can take to alleviate its burden.

Based on conversations with our partners and customers at Klipspringer – and our twenty years’ experience as the leading compliance provider across the complete food industry – we’ve compiled a few solutions for overcoming staff shortages.

Read on to find out what these are.

Solution #1 - Opening Hours

Amid the current crisis, many venues are radically altering their approach to service, placing greater emphasis on improving the treatment of their staff teams, and convenience for their customers.

Crucially, this involves reducing opening hours. While some may be aghast at the prospect of fewer hours, evidence suggests that businesses which optimise their opening hours are less likely to face bankruptcy.

This is because these venues waste less time and resources remaining open during times in which it is not profitable to do so. Pinpointing exactly when these times are is unique to each business, but a good place to start is with an appraisal of peak and non-peak hours, based on a typical day.

When setting opening hours, it is also worth considering the competition, holidays, special events, and – above all – customers. The best way is simply to ask them; release a simple poll or micro-survey enquiring which operating hours would be most convenient for them, via social media, email, or even face-to-face.

Solution #2 - Menus

While menu change is a gamble, it is undeniably necessary in the current climate. As hospitality businesses recognise the need to offer more lucrative staff wages, conditions, and perks, many reach the inevitable conclusion that they must do similar numbers over fewer hours with fewer staff.

For hospitality venues, simplifying the number of menu options available is often easier to manage. During Covid-19, even the largest chains decreased menu offerings to satisfy investors and remain profitable – often without any negative customer feedback.

The benefits of a smaller menu include:

  • Easier to train new employees
  • Faster cook times
  • Higher-quality meals
  • Reduced waste
  • Less inventory to manage
  • Decreased restaurant costs

While removing menu options that have long been cornerstones to a business is hard, it may be a necessary step in staying afloat and profitable. To do so, we recommend five logical steps:

  1. Cost Evaluate the Menu
  2. Categorise Menu Items According to Profit and Popularity
  3. Design a New Menu
  4. Test the New Menu
  5. Implement the Successful Aspects of the New Menu

Solution #3 - Streamlined Systems

With an increasing scarcity of staff, food businesses must ensure that their workplace systems are airtight – whether that be relating to production or service. Re-evaluating and, if necessary, reorganising the efficiency of current systems through the implementation of effective products and services is a crucial step in freeing up employee time for more pressing tasks.

Examples include digital quality management systems, shadow boards, or thermometer probe verification devices. For a specific idea of how product or service implementation can revolutionise large-scale food service, read this case study about how Five Guys improved their standards, efficiency, and compliance using a Food Oil Monitor.

Solution #4 - Culture

When making enquiries amongst the food sector – from hospitality workers and managers to factory production personnel – one factor continues to resurface: culture.

As raised above, the recruitment crisis was festering long before Brexit or Covid. These factors massively catalysed the problem, but were pre-existed by a widespread culture of poor employee treatment.

For years, workers tolerated a culture of extremely long working-hours and undervalued pay due to job scarcity. Zero-hour contracts gave employers the right to fire staff at any moment, a phenomenon seen repeatedly following the initial Covid-19 lockdown.

The ball is now in the other court. Knowing that businesses desperately need qualified, experienced workers, employees simply will not stand for subpar working conditions. Companies which have prioritised employee welfare for years have, unsurprisingly, been least affected by the staff shortages – but many companies are now re-evaluating their priorities. Better late than never.

This article has summarised the factors fuelling the current UK recruitment crisis, and provided some concrete solutions for food industry businesses to implement.

Should you have any enquiries or questions, our knowledgeable team are more than happy to help. Feel free to reach us by phone: 01473 461 800.


Klipspringer Announce Attendance at Commercial Kitchen Show 2022

What is the Commercial Kitchen Show?

We are delighted to announce that Klipspringer will be returning to this year’s Commercial Kitchen Show. As the go-to industry event for decision-makers involved in equipping and running efficient commercial kitchens, CKS is an unmissable opportunity for suppliers and buyers alike.

CKS22 has the makings of the best show yet, with a star-studded line-up of suppliers, hundreds of innovative new products, dozens of informative seminars, and thousands of commercial kitchen decision-makers seeking an edge over their competition.


When and where is CKS22, and how much does it cost?

Date:
Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th September
Time:
10:00am–5:00pm (last entry at 4:00pm)
Location:
ExCel London (One Western Gateway Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1FR)
Price:
The event is free to visitors who register in advance, or £20 entry for those who haven’t pre-registered.


Looking Back at CKS21

Since 2019, we’ve been an ever-present feature at the CKS, solving customer questions with detailed industry expertise, exhibiting new, ground-breaking products, and even winning a prestigious award for originality at last year’s show.

The accolade in question – Commercial Kitchen’s Innovation Challenge Gold Winner – was awarded to our LazaPort Mono thermometer calibrator, with judges labelling it as “a solution to an age-old issue”. Our team of enthusiastic experts are eager to share more details on the Mono with commercial kitchen decision-makers at this year’s show, following its successful implementation at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium by Compass Group.


Looking Forward to CKS22

This year, we want to surpass our previous CKS appearances, building on our status as the leading provider of food safety compliance. We’re anticipating that most queries will relate to our specialisms, which include:

  • removing the guesswork from food oil management
  • providing UKAS-accredited temperature calibration services
  • eliminating foreign body risk with durable, metal-detectable equipment
  • increasing the efficiency and accuracy of thermometer checks
  • offering a market-leading range of colour-coded food grade products
  • developing innovative digital quality management systems
  • maximising workplace organisation with visual aids
  • minimising risks, costs, and audit non-conformances
  • sourcing eco-friendly cleaning utensils from ocean plastic

Of these, we are particularly excited to announce EVERSEA® – a brand-new range of sustainable cleaning utensils. Sourced from plastic waste in the Mediterranean, EVERSEA® is a circular economy project which alleviates the astronomical amount (14 million tonnes!) of plastic dumped into our oceans each year.

Projects of this sort are gathering momentum and support across the food and hospitality industry, to the extent that the CKS Team published this press release solely dedicated to the EVERSEA® launch.

Ahead of CKS22 this September, you can also read about how our much-acclaimed Food Oil Monitor used by the likes of McDonalds and Whitbread helps to cut oil usage by up to 52%.

Interested in attending Commercial Kitchen Show 2022?
Click here to learn more.


Already got your free ticket?
Visit Stand CK436 to chat with our friendly, knowledgeable team about your kitchen requirements.


Unpacking the BRCGS Standard for Food Safety Issue 9

What the Latest Global Standard Food Safety Issue Means for Food Businesses 


On August 1st, BRCGS released the latest issue of the Global Standard in Food Safety. This publication – known simply as BRCGS Issue 9 – stipulates the newly revised requirements for food manufacturers to achieve BRCGS certification. From equipment hygiene to process control, this article summarises and explains the key points of BRCGS Issue 9 as relevant to food businesses.  


NOTE – this article uses descriptions and images of some Klipspringer products to provide tangible examples in advising how best to comply with BRCGS Issue 9. We are immensely proud of our work and its impact. However, we want to clarify that this article is primarily about helping food businesses to adjust to the new safety standards in the food and beverage industry, not self-promotion.   


Adopted by 30,000 certified food manufacturers and suppliers in over 130 countries around the world, the BRCGS aims to standardise quality, safety, and operational criteria to ensure that manufacturers fulfil their legal obligations and provide protection for the end consumer. It was first published in 1998, as British retailers sought to raise the bar of industry hygiene and compliance standards. While it is not a legal requirement in the UK, most large food retail brands and foodservice companies demand that their suppliers are BRCGS-certified. 

BRCGS Issue 9 was released four years on from its predecessor, BRCGS Issue 8, which was published on August 1st, 2018. The key changes between these two issues are informed by the most frequently occurring non-conformities throughout 2021. 

The below table lists eight non-conformities in order of commonality:

Clause

Non-Conformity Details

4.11.1

Premises & equipment hygiene

4.4.8

Doors - both internal & external

4.6.1

Equipment construction & maintenance

4.9.1.1

Chemical control

4.4.1

Walls - condition & cleaning

2.7.1

Hazard identification

4.15.1

Risk assessment for safe storage of ingredients

1.1.2

Food safety culture plan

Continue reading for guidance on how food businesses can implement strategies, policies, and procedures to get ahead of the food compliance curve before Issue 9 becomes fully auditable from February 1st, 2023.

Key Area #1 - Culture

BRCGS Issue 9 has placed a strong onus on the role of senior management in committing to continual improvement. As seen in Clause 1.1.2, BRCGS Issue 9 contains a far more tangible focus on the power of top-down company culture in perpetuating food safety standards 

Clause 1.1.2 

Clause 1.1 (‘Senior Management Commitment and Continual Improvement’) is one of the BRCGS’s twelve ‘fundamental’ requirements to achieve certification against the new issue. Within this, Clause 1.1.2 provides a specific list of activity design features needed to enact this positive culture change.  

These include activities such as open commnication on product safety, training, feedback from employees, required behaviours to sustain and improve product safety processes, a plan indicating how these activities will be carried out, and a review of their effectivness.

Of particular interest are the specification for employee feedback – an invaluable, if sometimes overlooked activity – as well as an action plan involving processes, measurements, and timelines. As Issue 8 made no reference to review, or frequency of review, requiring this plan to be reviewed and updated on a yearly basis is also new to BRCGS Issue 9.  

Key Area #2 - Equipment

Given its position as the first and third most common type of non-conformity on the above list, equipment compliance is logically one of the predominant focal points of BRCGS Issue 9. This can be seen across the range of clauses explained below.  

Clause 4.6.1 

In Clause 4.6.1, there is far more detailed guidance on sites’ responsibilities regarding equipment management than in Issue 8. This includes a documented purchase specification, as well as any relevant legislation, food contact approved requirements, and details of intended use of the equipment.

To this end, it will be invaluable to have a reliable place to keep track of production and hygiene utensils used on site, equipment verification schedules, calibration due dates, and warranty lengths. An example is our Calibration, Audit and Product Certificate Portal, which allows users to… 

  • View and download compliance certificates 
  • Manage technical equipment 
  • Track calibration due dates 
  • Download calibration certificates 

 …therefore maintaining compliance with the final part of Clause 4.6.1, which states that ‘suppliers should provide evidence that the equipment meets these site requirements prior to supply’.  

Clause 4.6.2 

A common cause of audit non-conformances is contamination – whether it be microbiological, allergenic, or foreign body. Often, these various forms of contamination take hold in the hidden crevices and small parts of food manufacturing or cleaning equipment, hence BRCGS Issue 9’s requirement for ‘the use of correct seals, impervious surfaces, or smooth welds and joints’.  

In light of this, it is strongly recommended that equipment is chosen based on risk minimisation. Shadow boards offer a fitting example. As an increasingly popular hygiene management and storage solution across the food industry, shadow boards can be constructed to minimise cross-contamination – but only when designed with food safety in mind.  

Specifically, this means minimal welds, joints, or hidden crevices behind the board. One solution is a through-board hook system, which keeps shadow boards hygienic, easy to clean, and free of any foreign body risks. Another is a magnetic mounting option, which allows for convenient and regular cleaning behind the board.  

Clause 4.9.6.2 

This particular clause emphasises the pressing need for portable handheld equipment to be designed with a focus on prevention. At factory or production sites, pens are the most commonly found handheld utensil, and are consequently the cause of many foreign body contamination non-conformities due to their clips, springs, and other small, breakable parts.  

Practices a site may consider reviewing include the exclusion of non-approved items and restriction of site-issued equipment. Furthermore, sites should ensure any such portable handheld equipment items are designed without small external parts, as well as being detectable by detection equipment (metal detectors, X-ray etc), or are only used in areas where contamination is specifically prevented.

Organisations with the highest priority on compliance mandate the use of pens which, first and foremost, prevent foreign body contamination (through shatterproof pens made of durable materials, with no metal springs), and – as a last resort – are detectable by x-rays and metal detectors.  

Key Area #3 - Product Control

Ensuring a safe, consistent, and contaminant-free product is the backbone of any food business. While product control doesn’t tend to rank high on lists of most frequent non-conformances, when it does appear, it often has disastrous consequences, both to the safety of consumers, and the reputation of brands.   

Clause 5.3.4 

Clause 5.3 (‘Management of Allergens’) is another of the BRCGS’s twelve ‘fundamental’ requirements to achieve certification against the new issue. Within this, Clause 5.3.4 outlines various procedures for carrying out effective management of allergenic materials.  

Broadly, this means minimising the risk of allergen contamination and cross-contact by having a system or process for managing allergenic materials, and which as a baseline meets legal labelling requirements.

To a greater extent, this clause suggests segregating allergen-containing materials during storage, processing, and packing, as well as having on-site a set of separated, identified utensils for dealing with these materials.  

What is the best way of identifying these utensils by allergen?  

A compelling solution is colour-coding. Whether it be production utensils or brushware; squeegees or storage containers, using sharp, vibrant colours to clearly delineate equipment by its purpose is a reliable way of preventing allergenic cross-contamination. With stronger colours, compliance failures can be easily spotted, which makes the management of allergen segregation easier.  

See the below table for how colour-coded equipment might be implemented.   

Allergen

Assigned Equipment Colour

Nuts

Brown

Eggs

Blue

Shellfish

Red

Soy

Green

Milk

Purple

Wheat

Orange

Another popular method of managing allergens is physical segregation using screens, curtains, or covers. Hygienically designed for food industry environments, these segregators prevent cross-contamination, as well as reducing production downtime and eliminating unnecessary single-use plastics.  

Clause 5.9.1 

Animal primary conversion is an entirely new section included under BRCGS Issue 9. It states the importance of implementing specific controls to keep food safe, authentic, and legal during the conversion process – above all using risk assessment results to inform testing procedures and raw material acceptance. It states the company shall undertake a risk assessment for potential prohibited substances, including pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicines, heavy metals and pesticides.

Key Area #4 - Process Control

As another of the BRCGS’s new ‘fundamental’ requirements, process control is essential for ensuring full compliance with a HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) or food safety plan. For maximum effectiveness, it usually involves documentation and systematisation of production procedures to optimise product quality, safety, and legality.  

Clause 6.1.3  

In Clause 6.1.3, the standard outlines the importance of process monitoring for ensuring products are manufactured within the required process specification. In relation to this, wireless monitoring systems are proven to provide highly accurate, real-time temperature data, support food safety compliance, and cut costs of loading refrigerated food transportation. Clause 6.1.3 includes temperature, time, pressure, and chemical properties as some examples of key parameters to measure. Leading wireless monitoring systems will typically have the capability to also measure:

  • Humidity  
  • CO2 
  • Energy 
  • Concentration
  • Door contact 
  • Data from advanced plant/engineering sensors 

For more information, watch clips from a webinar we hosted recently on the factors to consider when choosing a wireless monitoring system. Drawing on decades of industry experience, our team dissect nine relevant factors – from the system’s hardware to its data storage access.  

 

Clause 6.1.4 

Clause 6.1.4 directly addresses another of these factors: the type of alarm used by monitoring systems. A good tip is to look out for the systems that issue alarms by the widest range of mediums, so you can adapt the system to best suit your site or team.

Why?  

In the event of an alarm – whether it be a product quality issue or a malfunctioning chiller unit – speedy and decisive action is essential. This cannot happen without being instantly notified about the situation, which highlights the urgent need for alarms to be sent by a variety of methods (e.g. phone call, SMS, email) rather than riskily depending on just one. Clause 6.1.4 also includes a requirement to routinely check that the alarm and alert system is working correctly.

Clause 6.4.2 

Instrumentation devices which measure a specific parameter – the most common being temperature-measuring probe thermometers – must in turn be checked for accuracy and recalibrated.  

BRCGS Issue 9 strongly emphasises the need for this checking process to adhere to a recognised national or international standard. In the UK, the most credible recognised standard is a UKAS calibration certificate, which distinguishes the industry’s leading measuring devices from the satisfactory.  

Consider re-evaluating outdated approaches to accuracy checks of measuring devices. This is particularly relevant to thermometers; many companies still use the traditional ice or boiling water check, without realising that there are far more innovative methods which remove all subjectivity from checks, and save quality assurance teams hours each month.  

This article has deconstructed the BRCCG’s latest standard in food safety into four key areas and nine standout clauses, explaining their ramifications – and providing tangible solutions – for food businesses.  

If you’d like to take a look at the BRCGS Food Safety Issue 9 in full, you can head to this webpage and select ‘Free PDF’ on the right-hand side for a free copy.

At Klipspringer, we’ve specialised in food safety and audit compliance for more than twenty years. As a BRCGS partner organisation, we work with the smallest artisan producers to the largest food producers and manufacturers, including the likes of Whitbread, McDonalds, Kerry, Hovis, and Greggs.  

Whatever your situation, our knowledgeable team are on hand to help. Feel free to contact us by phone at 01473 461 800, or book an online meeting via the form below: 

References 

BRCGS (2022a) Global Standard Food Safety Issue 9. Available at: https://www.brcgs.com/our-standards/food-safety/issue-9-revision/. 

BRCGS (2022b) Food Safety Issue 9 Interpretation Guideline. Available as purchase.  

High Speed Training (2020) Our Guide to Understanding BRCGS. Available at: https://www.highspeedtraining.co.uk/hub/understanding-brcgs/ 

Techni-K (2022) BRCGS Food Safety Issue 9. Available at: https://techni-k.co.uk/brcgs-food-safety/brcgs-food-safety-issue-9/ 


Cooking Oil – Rising Prices, Needless Costs and Unsustainable Practices

In 2022, oil dominated global headlines: a constantly revolving door of rising oil prices, supply chain issues, and sustainability breaches.

Countries worldwide are admitting to massive shortages, with even oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia revealing that their reserves are running out.

Lower-income households struggled to afford cooking oil – let alone fill up their petrol tanks – while protests called for windfall taxes on the soaring profits of energy giants like Shell and BP.

Rising Oil Prices

On June 8, the global oil price rose above £123 per barrel ($147), matching the all-time high price points of the 2008 recession.

Cooking oil prices have also increased astronomically, doubling to $1.90 (£1.60) per litre in the UK, and $2.72 (£2.29) per litre on international average.

The current rises in oil prices are unprecedented, and are being caused by factors such as:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic
  • Increased biodiesel demand in the EU
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
  • Extreme weather in Western Canada and South America (prominent areas of global oil exportation)

These circumstances culminated in strong global demand for oil, but extraordinarily weak supply.

At Klipspringer, we watched in disbelief as oil prices reached near-unaffordable levels, but few companies implemented failsafe methods to cut waste, save on costs, and increase sustainability.

In commercial kitchens, the dangers of unsafe oil are well-known, particularly relating to acrylamide build-up.

Despite this, research has indicated that most companies actually discard their cooking oil more often than necessary.

Why is this?

Why Are Most Companies Changing Oil Unnecessarily?

In our experience, there are three key reasons why food cooking oil is being changed prematurely…

1) Status quo. “It’s always been done this way”. Nobody knows why, but the procedure hasn’t changed, and nobody wants to be the person who risks changing it. This line of thinking typically sees oil changed once or twice a week, or every Friday morning, or when fish and chips are on the menu.

2) Visual checks. “It looks like it needs changing.” This is always based on experience, and whilst there are many trained eyes in commercial kitchens, colour is subjective. What looks like a subtle difference in oil appearance can make a massive difference to its working life.

3) Colorimetric methods. The most common colorimetric method is test strips and a colour chart. This measures FFA, or Free Fatty Acids, which directly correlate to off-colours, off-odours, and off-flavours in fried food products. While compliant and reasonably accurate (usually around 80% accuracy), colorimetric methods are still subjective to human error, and can be contaminated by improper storage.

What Is the Best Way of Knowing When Oil Needs Changing?

At Klipspringer, based on our twenty-plus-years’ experience as the industry leaders in removing the guesswork from food oil management, we recommend the following steps to maximise your oil life, in-keeping with the below graph of oil degradation.

  • Make it measurable. Oil quality should be measured as an arbitrary number, and a threshold set for changing the oil. Regular checks mean oil life is then extended to its maximum without compromising product quality.
  • De-technicalise oil management. All unnecessary complexity should be removed from oil-checking and changing procedures. Any team member should be able to check the oil quality and then make an entirely objective decision as to whether it needs replacing. This is only possible once arbitrary, digital measurement has been implemented.
  • Report. Every oil quality measurement should be recorded. As should the date and time when the oil was last changed. Management should review this on a regular basis to make sure oil is not being changed too regularly or too late. A fully documented ‘audit trail’ also supports effective kitchen management and circumvents non-conformances.

In terms of practically implementing these steps, we recommend a solution based on neither status quo, nor visual checks, nor colorimetric methods.

This solution has been used by the likes of Five Guys, McDonalds, and Whitbread to refine their frying process, conduct eco-friendly practices, and cut their oil usage by half.

Click here to find more about this solution.


WEBINAR: Six Strategies for Maximising Oil Life Without Compromising Quality

On 1 June 2022, for the first time since late March, the global oil price rose about $117 per barrel (£93.47). Amid supply chain uncertainty and soaring prices, it has never been more crucial for the hospitality industry to maximise the life of cooking oil. But how can that be done without negatively impacting the safety and quality of your menu?  

At Klipspringer, we decided to host a webinar answering exactly that. Led by a panel of oil management experts, this webinar detailed six actionable steps to ensuring that your food oil is compliant, consistent, and methodically conserved.

Using relevant clips from the webinar, this article breaks down each step into concise, digestible chunks. It answers some of our mostly commonly asked questions, including: 

When should I change cooking oil? 

How do I check oil quality? 

Does filtering help to extend oil life? 

Navigate the menu below to be directed to the step most applicable for your food oil needs, or keep reading for a holistic insight into one of the most pressing issues the hospitality sector faces today.   

You can also view the webinar in full below:

Step 1 - Choosing the Right Oil

As put by Vincent Igoe, Managing Director for Olleco Scotland: “In my 25 years in the industry, I’ve never seen markets like this”. The astronomical current price of oil is unprecedented, and is being caused by factors such as: 

  • A knock-on from the Covid-19 pandemic 
  • Extreme weather in Western Canada 
  • Increased biodiesel demand in the EU  
  • Adverse weather across South America 
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine  

These circumstances have culminated in strong global demand for oil, but extraordinarily weak supply. In light of this, selecting the right type of oil has never been more crucial.  

When choosing the best oil for frying, there are five overarching aspects to consider: 

a) Taste 

b) Performance 

c) Cost 

d) Safety 

e) Sustainability 

Once you’ve evaluated each of these aspects and narrowed your search down to one or two types of oil, refer to the below chart for the specific benefits of three widely used oil types.  

Rapeseed Oil

Vegetable Oil

Long-Life Oil

Non-genetically modified seed

Produced from genetically modified soya 

Non-genetically modified seed 

Extended life

Extended life

Lasts 2x longer than extended life oils 

Anti-foaming agent (makes it safe for use in fryers) 

Contains anti-foaming agent 

Lasts 2x longer than extended life oils 

Anti-foaming agent (makes it safe for use in fryers) 

Contains anti-foaming agent 

Contains anti-foaming agent 

High smoke point 

One of the UK’s best-selling standard cooking oils 

Certified by RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) 

Step 2 - Choosing the Right Fryer

Once you’ve selected the right oil type for your needs, an effective oil fryer is the next requirement. Watch the above clip for advice from Michael Eyre, Culinary Director at Jestic Ltd, on various industry staples, including:

  • Simple Fryers (£)
  • Gravity (External) Filtration Fryers (££)
  • Pumped (Internal) Filtration Fryers (££)
  • Digital Fryers with Built-In Filtration (£££)
  • Low Oil Volume Fryers (££££)

Step 3 - Fryer Operation and Filtering

After selecting an appropriate oil fryer, it’s important to learn how it operates. This requires thought about food types, (auto)filtering, skimming, loading, and frying temperatures. For example, does your food type contain crumbs (e.g. breaded chicken)? If so, do you have a workable particulate filtration system in place to catch solid impurities that might fall into your oil?

Read on for a three-part process to ensure the best frying practices.

Before Frying:

  • Don’t skip ‘melt-mode’ in your morning check-ups and clean
  • Never fill the basket over the vat
  • Respect the recommended quantity per basket (don’t overfill the basket)
  • Ensure that oil is at cooking temperature before dropping the basket in
  • Cook food items either always from frozen or always from fresh (for better consistency)

During Frying: 

  • Ensure correct frying temperatures (frying at higher temperatures does NOT decrease frying time) 
  • Never place a basket in the oil without using a timer 
  • After placing the first basket in oil, allow 30 seconds before dropping the second basket into the same vat
  • Program an alarm to remind cooks to shake the basket during the cooking cycle  

After Frying:  

  • Drain/shake the basket over the vat 
  • Skim the vat regularly throughout the day 
  • Top-up oil throughout the day 
  • Use ‘night’ covers (to prevent debris falling into the oil and reduce contact time with light) 
  • Test quality of oil at least once daily (after the daily filtration/clean) 
  • Proactively filter the vats during the day (the more often the better) 
  • Use the ‘idle’ feature when the fryer is not in use 
  • Change filter paper daily 
  • Polish oil daily 

Step 4 - Monitoring Oil Quality

As summarised by Murray Carlyon, Managing Director at Klipspringer, there are three overarching reasons to monitor oil quality.  

Firstly, to reduce costs and wastage. An effective oil monitoring system results in significant savings, both economically (costs) and environmentally (wastage). Instead of discarding perfectly usable oil – a costly and unsustainable outcome – businesses are now using Food Oil Monitors for maximum accuracy. For a minimal upfront cost, these monitors offer a comfortable ROI, usually within just six months. Click here to read about how Whitbread’s use of a Food Oil Monitor reduced their oil consumption by up to 52% across their 1,200 different venues 

Secondly, to maintain product consistency. Most kitchens change their oil either based on colour (when it goes dark/black, using single-use test strips and a simplistic colour chart) or schedule (twice a week – because it has always been done that way). Led by the likes of Wasabi, McDonalds, and Five Guys, hospitality businesses seeking to distinguish themselves from the crowd are standardising the use of Food Oil Monitors to guarantee such consistent menu quality  

Thirdly, to ensure product safety. Paramount to any hospitality business is consumer welfare. As shown by the figure below, the frying process can release a variety of polar compounds (e.g. free fatty acids), which are in turn associated with acrylamide build-up. This customer-harming, cancer-causing chemical can reach dangerous levels when relying on subjective oil quality monitoring methods.  

A percentage reading of Total Polar Compounds or Total Polar Matter (TPC% / TPM%) is reliably used in the food industry as a measure of oil degradation. High levels of TPC can negatively impact product taste, texture, and appearance, as well as causing various health disorders, both short-term (e.g. gastrointestinal disorders) and long-term (e.g. risk of heart disease).  

A growing number of countries across Europe are legislating TPC percentages, typically around the 24-27% mark. While there is no existing legislation in the UK, leading companies are setting their own standards around a similar benchmark, using digital solutions to take the subjective guesswork out of monitoring oil quality.  

Step 5 - Pumping and Storing Waste Oil

Watch the above clip for advice regarding pump stations, filtration, and waste oil tanks. It addresses the following questions: 

  • How do I get oil into a fryer? 
  • How do I remove waste oil from my fryer? 
  • Where do I store waste oil? 
  • How can my waste oil get collected? 
  • How can I monitor waste oil? 

Step 6 - Returning Used Oil

Getting the most longevity and value out of your oil supplies is imperative for two reasons: profitability and sustainability. As one of the largest contributors to carbon footprints in commercial kitchens, oil is best suited to a circular economic system (illustrated below). Leading oil suppliers now offer the service of collecting ‘waste’ oil in the same containers it is delivered in – and they even pay for it, balancing the value of your reused oil against the costs of your fresh oil.  

Implementing these six steps will ensure that your oil quality remains compliant, consistent, and methodically conserved. Customer satisfaction will increase, costs will decrease, and your business will be more adeptly prepared to meet any sustainability targets and initiatives.  

Watch the below clip to hear Surendra Yejju, Executive Chef at Wagamama, outline how these six steps have helped teams across Wagamama venues nationwide.  

Interested in learning how other leading food and hospitality companies have benefitted from food oil monitoring?  

Click to learn how Whitbread reduced oil savings by 52%

Klipspringer Announce Attendance at Hotel, Retail and Catering Show

21 – 23 March 2022, Excel London

The Klipspringer team are very excited to be joining over 1500 food service and hospitality suppliers at the Hotel, Retail and Catering (HRC) Show at the Excel London on 21st and 23rd of March 2022. With it being the first HRC Show since 2019, industry professionals are coming back to reconnect with peers and explore the latest technology and innovations out there.


Event Highlights

There’s a host of incredible experiences to explore, watch and take part in, from hosting the UK’s most prestigious cooking competition – International Salon Culinaire, to welcoming the UK’s top chefs and culinary experts to cook up a storm on The Staff Canteen Live. Plus, a Tech X stage where you will see renowned speakers discuss the latest trending topics set to impact our industry for 2022 onwards.


How Klipspringer is supporting commercial kitchens

Klipspringer’s range of innovations takes the guess-work out of food safety for commercial kitchens, helping them to increase compliance, efficiency and cost-saving measures. Some of these include the Food Oil Monitor, the Trakkd Digital Quality Management System and the new Lazaport Mono.

Find out how the Lazaport Mono has helped Mark Reynolds, Executive Head Chef at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, to save time and increase compliance within his team, by watching the video.

Register for your free ticket below!

Re-connect with industry peers and explore new innovations and technologies to drive your operations forward. Be sure to book your ticket below and and meet us on Stand P481.


Understanding Your UKAS Calibration Certificate

Your UKAS Accredited Calibration Certificate – what does it mean?

When your temperature or humidity device arrives back from Klipspringer’s calibration laboratory, it will accompanied by a certificate. Do you and your team understand the information you are being presented with and how it relates to your instruments?

Using the example below, this blog will guide you through each element of the certificate along with how and where the information is applicable.

Key

A.  The address where the calibration was completed. In this case it was in our UKAS accredited Laboratory. If the calibration had been completed on a customer’s site, their site address would be entered here.
B.The official UKAS mark, detailing the laboratory’s accredited number at the bottom.  Details of the schedule for each lab can be obtained from the UKAS website using this code. This symbol also demonstrates that the calibration is traceable to the UK’s national standard.
C.The date the calibration certificate was issued.
D.The unique certificate number.
E.The name of the person who approved the calibration result.
F.The due date of the next calibration; this can only be entered if requested in advance by the customer.
G.The signature of E.
H.The name of the person or company requesting the calibration.
I.The address of the person or company requesting the calibration.
J.The unique serial number of the IUT (Instrument Under Test) which has been calibrated.
K.Where the IUT has a detachable probe or sensor etc, this is the unique serial number for this. When this item does not already have a unique number applied, then this will be the serial number of the IUT with the suffix “A” afterwards. Please note, Klipspringer are able to IndeliMark a serial number onto probe handles for permanent and food-safe identification.
L.The description of the IUT. In some cases, this will also detail any damage to the device on arrival to Klipspringer, or where any adjustment has been made after customer authorisation.
M.The date the IUT was received into the laboratory for calibration.
N.The date the IUT was calibrated.
O.The temperature, humidity or pressure (where applicable) within the laboratory when the IUT was calibrated.
P.The range requested for calibration by the customer.
Q.The method and equipment used to carry out calibration of the IUT.
R.Any specific requirements, such as the depth of the probe in the calibration bath.
S.The temperature or humidity tested against.
T.The actual result of the IUT. A figure different to column S shows that the IUT is reading slightly higher or lower and this is the correction factor. E.g. IUT above is reading 40.10°C @ 40.00°C therefore the correction factor is -0.1, The correction factor should be applied when using the IUT, especially where the device is either to be used for monitoring a CCP (Critical Control Point), or where it is used to check the accuracy of other devices which will be used for monitoring CCP’s. If the calibration certificate relates to an in-house calibrator machine (ECMP4, 8 or 12), this will be an average across the ports.
U.This is the uncertainty of measurement of the calibration. Measurements cannot be absolute and even with the most expensive equipment and controlled environments there is always a degree of variation. The uncertainty value printed on the calibration certificate will have taken several factors into consideration, such as repeatability of result, linearity, atmosphere, equipment being used etc. to give a figure which covers all of these variabilities. An uncertainty measurement allows you to have a high level of confidence in your results. For example, @ 40.00°C the certificate states the IUT reads at 40.10°C, with an uncertainty budget of ± 0.13°C, so your results will confidently be between 39.97 and 40.23°C*.
V.This statement details the ‘k factor’, e.g. k=2. The ‘k factor’ is a statistical calculation for how often the uncertainty will be ± 0.13 °C. When k = 2 you would be safe to assume that 95% of the time the device reading will have an uncertainty of ± 0.13 °C.

* We recommend that you incorporate both the correction factor and the uncertainty value into the operation of your device, to ensure the readings reflect the accuracy required. Where your device has only 1 decimal point, then you should round down or up depending on the combined figure, e.g. 0.13 would be ± 0.1 °C.

Klipspringer’s uncertainty budgets are reviewed frequently and against each other when reference instruments return from UKAS calibrations. As our uncertainty values are low, our customers can achieve the best possible result and be confident when using their calibrated equipment.


Food Oil Management – A Bigger Problem Beneath the Surface?

Talk to anyone about the headlines which dominated conversations around cooking oil in 2018 and you are assured of two answers - "palm oil" and "sustainability".

And you could say rightly so. Palm oil production is said to be responsible for 8% of the world’s deforestation between 1990 and 2008. The statistics against palm oil and it’s (lack of) sustainability is significant. Yet, with increasing consumer awareness, and organisations ever-more conscious of the impact on their brands and reputations, is the obsession with palm oil masking other concerns around food oil management?

For example, waste?

Over the last 20 years, we’ve had the opportunity to partner with many global restaurant chains, commercial caterers and the hospitality sector. If you asked us to identify one common trend it would be this:

Food cooking oil is being changed too frequently. But why?

In our experience, there are 5 key reasons food cooking oil is being changed when it is.

1. The status quo. It’s always been done this way. Nobody knows why, but the procedure hasn’t changed, and nobody wants to be the person who risks changing it. (eg oil changed every Friday morning, or when fish and chips are on the menu.)

2. The visual check. “It looks like it needs changing.” This is always based on experience, and whilst there are many trained eyes in commercial kitchens, colour is subjective. What looks like a subtle difference in oil appearance can make a big difference in working life.

3. Person dependent. Sometimes the responsibility falls on one person. All too often that’s the busiest person. Unwilling to risk product quality, and running a hectic schedule, the instruction to change the oil is sometimes given too soon.

4. Reputation. Every chef and commercial kitchen operative wishes to serve up the best food – it is what their reputation depends on. This must be respected, but does have its drawbacks. For example, cooking oil gets changed earlier than necessary to protect product quality. As the working life of the oil is never extended, nobody is aware that it could be extended by up to 50%!

5. Don’t know better. Commercial kitchens are high-pressure environments, and there are more pressing concerns than the food oil. The current system is working, there are no problems, and everybody is happy. As a result, it doesn’t get given any attention.

That’s all very well. Is there a better way?

What gets measured, gets managed.

To overcome these challenges requires 3 key actions:

1. Make it measurable. Oil quality should be measured as an arbitrary number, and a threshold set for changing the oil. Regular checks mean oil life is then extended to its maximum without compromising product quality.

2. De-skill oil management. The procedure for checking and changing cooking oil should be de-skilled. Any team member should be able to check the oil quality and then make the decision whether the oil needs changing. (Note this is only possible once arbitrary, digital measurement has been implemented).

3. Report. Every oil quality measurement should be recorded, along with when oil was changed. Management should review this on a regular basis to make sure oil is not being changed too regularly or too late. A fully documented ‘audit trail’ also supports effective kitchen management and due diligence.

Interested in how this works out practically? Concerned about rolling this out on a national or global scale? Intrigued how well-respected brands such as McDonalds, Whitbread and Five Guys partner with Klipspringer to implement effectively?

Reach out to Klipspringer’s Consultants today for a chat about your oil management challenges and opportunities.