Nick Blakemore, Laura Broome, Mike Bennett with technicians Jen Newall, Kate Chantler, Penny Masters, Jane Gilman, Damien Murphy Maintenance Engineer

Reaseheath College’s Food Centre in Nantwich has become the first educational institution in the world to achieve Grade AA certification for food safety from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

It is the highest possible benchmark for best practice in food manufacture.

The quality mark was approved after a two-day food safety audit of processes and procedures within Reaseheath’s food factory.

Areas inspected included food safety procedures, hygiene standards, traceability of food ingredients and recording, control and management systems.

It was led by Reaseheath’s Quality Assurance coordinator Laura Broome, supported by Reaseheath’s quality team with guidance from processing halls manager Mike Bennett and external technical consultant Dr Paul Carter.

Grade AA certification is aimed at suppliers of major retailers.

Mike Bennett said: “The team has worked extremely hard to ensure we deliver the best possible service to our students and should be congratulated on their success.

“Thanks to their hard work, we are ensuring the changing standards within industry are replicated in a controlled learning environment.

“In addition to our own students we have many trainees here from blue chip dairy companies such as Arla Foods, Muller, Dairy Crest, Wyke Farms, Meadow Foods and Glanbia and it essential that they are thoroughly prepared for the world of work.

“This was a very robust audit and special praise should go to Laura Broome for leading the team to such a successful conclusion.

“The result showed a significant improvement over previous years, with proof that all values are embedded across the team.

“We will continue to continue the pursuit of excellence in the knowledge that we will be aiming to meet the new requirements of BRC Version 8 in 2019.”

Reaseheath’s £7 million Food Centre was opened in 2011 and is one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe.

Built to exacting standards and staffed by a team of specialist food technologists recruited directly from the food industry, the centre has dairy processing halls and production areas for butchery, bakery, cake design and confectionery.

Many local, national and international food and drink manufacturers use the facilities for new product development, technical advice or staff training.

These partnerships lead to work experience and job opportunities for the college’s food technology students.

The college also offers training sessions to the public which include cake decoration, HACCP and food safety.

(Pic: Food Centre Manager Nick Blakemore, Laura Broome and Mike Bennett (front row) are joined by technologists Jen Newall, Penny Masters, Kate Chantler and Jane Gilman and by Maintenance Engineer Damien Murphy)

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