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Environmental Audit of Flyaway Foods

Flyaway Foods (In-Flight Catering) Limited is a company, which produces food air companies. It works with several big air companies in several countries. Flyaway Foods also deals with used and returned food trays from previous flights. We will study the opportunities for environmental audit in this company, its perspectives concerning the environment protection and most important issues for environmental auditing. To get a better idea about the work of the company, we will enumerate the processes, which are generally performed during the food production. These processes include: preliminary operations, such as sorting, cleaning and grading; peeling, cutting, freezing or chilling; more complex operations, such as milling, refining, preparation for preservation; complicated techniques, used to produce ready for eating products, such as cheese, biscuits, beer, bread. These processes are performed by the most of the companies, working in the food industry and in Flyaway Foods they are performed also. Possibilities for environmental audit can be found on any stages of food preparation.

In addition, we must remember that Flyaway receives used and returned food trays from previous flights and has to deal with the problem of waste dumping and recycling. So, all the environmental audit of this company can be divided into two major stages. First of all environmental audit must be performed during the process of food preparation and here there are several major tendencies, which should be taken into account. Second major field for auditing includes all the auditing, which takes place after the food is consumed. To get a better understanding of environmental auditing, we will shape the issues environmental auditing deals with. Environmental audit aims to examine how well a facility’s operations are complying with local, state, and federal environmental regulations, and correct any problems that are identified (Carawan, 15).

Environmental audit is a systematic examination of the environmental management and its accordance to environmental norms and standards.

For Flyaway, environmental audit should be performed on different stages of performance. All the policy of the Flyaway in the field of environment protection should be directed in order to reduce or exclude different types of environment pollution. This aim can be achieved by several means, such as using less water during the food production, making the food packages environment friendly and easy to recycle and economic use of water, electricity and other natural resources during the food production. First stage where environment consultant can perform audit checks concerns the cooking process itself. There are several things, which environmental consultant should consider during this process. It’s necessary to control the amount of waste obtained during the food production. If the amount of waste exceeds the norms, it’s worth to think about more economical modes, which would help the situation. It’s necessary also to take into account if eatable and non-eatable wastes are separated during the cooking process and if yes, to which extend. The better different waste is separated, the easier will be to deal with it later. It’s necessary also to identify the costs of places and costs of waste disposal. Audit consultant should take into account company’s participation in re-use and recycling programs. Environment consultant should note the type of packaging of food the company uses for further food preparation. When talking about wastes, consultant should also note if metal, paper, glass and recyclable plastic are separated before recycling.

The consumption of water (which is the most in food industry, in comparison to other fields), electricity, gas and fuel should also be the subject of concern of audit consultant. Economic use of natural resource benefits everybody and new technologies can become a good way out for company owners. Recirculating clean rinse water, using water for the second time for pre-washing, switching off the water even during the small breaks, using either non-toxic or less-toxic cleaning supplies compounds for dishes washing are only some things, which should be taken into account by environment consultant. Environmental auditing assumes checking up the proper work of all technical equipment, such as refrigerators, freezers or air conditioners in order to reduce the energy consumption in the situations, when these devices breaking.

As we deal with the company, which produces ready food for plane passengers we must pay special attention to the problem of packaging. Audit consultant should note if it’s the policy of the company, to use minimal packaging and to use products with reusable packaging. In the case with Flyaway it’s especially convenient, as the company gets back all used food trays. This creates a good opportunities for the use of reusable packages. In the cases, when the use of reusable packages isn’t possible it’s necessary to use as little layers of packaging as possible. This should also become the subject of concern of environment consultant.

As the company deals with lots of wastes, it’s necessary to audit if there is any special waste reduction program and which are the policies, defined by this program. Consultant should check up not only the existence of such a policy, written on the paper. He should also audit if all the employees of the organization are acquainted with this program and if they use it in practice. The environmental audit should check up if any waste reduction training takes place inside the organization and its regularity.

Providing good information about environmental protection is also an important factor, which should be considered by the environmental consultant. It’s evident that environmental protection should be applied on different levels of work and only good information can provide the involvement of all members of the company into the process. Consultant can also check up if the employees are aware about the possible damage on the environment of different products and materials they use. It’s also necessary to find out if any pollution prevention training is hold inside the organization.

Flyaway produces ready food with short terms of storage. It’s necessary to take into account that the company has to deal not only with big amounts of used packages but also with some extra food, which is left after the flights. Environmental consultant should take into account, what happens with this food.

It’s necessary to audit if food wastes, which are left after the cooking, are donated to some organizations, which use it for composting, rendering, landspreading or animal feed. For this purpose, edible and inedible wastes should be separated during the process of food production. Consultant should especially note the participation of the company in one or several food donation programs or food donor programs.

Consultant should note if the company makes different between food waste with expired terms of use and food wastes, which still can be used but have unaesthetic looks. Latest can be donated to different charity organizations.

All points mentioned above could become the subject of concern of environmental consultant but there are some points, which should be paid special attention to. Taking into account peculiarities of the Flyaway Foods, I would distinguish packaging, waste dumping and recycling as the main objects of environmental audit. Taking under control packaging will have an essential influence on the amount of waste. Waste dumping and recycling control audit is important because the type of services the company provides assumes big amount of waste and gives the company the opportunities to control waste dumping, recycling or reuse of some packages for food as all the waste left after the flights is returned to the company. Issues, mentioned above have crucial importance for the environmental management of the company and this is the reason they should become the objects of auditing.

1. Carawan, Roy E., North Carolina State University (March 1996). Pollution Prevention Pays in Food Processing, Reducing Water Use and Wastewater in Food Processing Plants, How One Company Cuts Costs. Publication Number: North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Water Quality & Waste Management.
2. Derr, Donn A.; Dhillon, Pritam S. (April 1997). “Keeping the Options Open: The Economics of
Recycling Food Residuals.” BIOCYCLE, pages 55-56
3. Shober, Robert T., Campbell Soup Company, Camden, NJ (1998 Food Processing Waste Conference). Water Conservation – Waste Load Reduction in Food Processing Facilities.
4. Youde, Jeffrey: Prenguber, Bruce (October 1991). “Classifying the Food Waste Stream,” BIOCYCLE, pages 70-71.
5. A Fact Sheet for Managing Food Materials. North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance, 1639 Mail Service Center, Raleigh
7. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: U.S. Department of Agriculture. Waste Not, Want Not: Feeding the Hungry and Reducing Solid Waste Through Food Recovery