In the training of Food Safety Course 2019, five Kagoshima University (KU) students were sent to Oklahoma State University (OSU) from June 16 to 26, ten Mae Fah Luang University (MFU) students were accepted from August 17 to 26, and from September 16 to 25, 18 KU students were sent to MFU and one student from Ryukyu University also joined the program at MFU, bringing the total to 19.
In the training both overseas and in Kagoshima, students visited several food factories firstly for understanding the differences in the activities of food safety comparing with their own countries through interviews with the person in charge of quality assurance in the food factory. From these field activities, student groups with 5-6 person are developing HACCP-based food safety plan as the final goal of COIL activity. (HACCP: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point)
These trainings were conducted basically for the period of 8 days. KU students studied to understand the structure of JFS-C standard, which is Japanese standard benchmarked by GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative), as preliminary preparation in advance before overseas training. During the on-site training, all participants conducted factory visits and also had an opportunity for a Q&A session with the person in charge of quality assurance. After returning back to university campus, students discussed about the differences in the food manufacturing system between Kagoshima-Japan and overseas.
In the factory tour in US, many of companies visited were larger production scale comparing with that in Kagoshima. However, the finding that some food safety activities of companies in Kagoshima were recognized to be superior in cleanliness and efficiency seemed to be a great discovery and surprise for KU students. It is expected that these factory tour experiences would be useful when students have some opportunities to work in the food industries in near future.
In the factory tour in Thailand, students also discussed the similarities and differences with Japan. In addition to middle-scale companies with 100-150 employees, we visited small-scale companies with 20 or less employees, and tried to understand the problems of Thai food industry through Q&A session with person in charge of manufacturing division.
Although Kagoshima has many small-scale food companies, there are many cases that these small-scale companies in Thailand have higher levels of understanding and approach toward food safety standards. These findings seemed to have been a great inspiration for KU students for studying about food safety activity in Kagoshima.
One of the valuable things in the training in Kagoshima held in August was that we could conduct food safety program with three universities including MFU, KU and Rajamangala University of Technology, Isan, Thailand, who had a great interest in this program.
Role-play was carried out in the group work. First, a “mock company” was established, company staff including the CEO were assigned within each group, and a food safety plan was prepared for the ‘mock’ product based on the information of the factory where we visited. Each prepared food safety plan was shared by oral presentation, and all students discussed which process would be a CCP (Critical Control Point) in the HACCP plan, and how to set an appropriate CL (Critical Limit) in the food safety plan.
The food safety plan of each group was not completed because it was conducted during just short time of 8 days. Student are still working hard toward completion through SNS and remote conference system with each other.