Burning Spear News
Uhuru Foods & Pies passes food safety audit, prepared to sell pies through major grocery chain
Pete, Uhuru Pies donations volunteer, joins Su-tchas, Bakari, Sealli and other volunteers at Black Joy Parade in Oakland
For well over a year, Uhuru Foods & Pies in Oakland has endured an extensive onboarding process with Whole Foods to get Uhuru Pies on the shelves of northern California Whole Foods stores.
This process has been arduous and highly detailed. Uhuru Pies changed the way we make and deliver pies by becoming even more professional.
We've implemented weighing pies before baking, changed our labels and, best of all, now make pie shells from scratch using our own recipe.
After many steps in the process, we learned that we are required to have a third-party food safety audit and meet USDA and FDA requirements.
We began studying the process, creating documents detailing proper food preparation processes, allergen handling, and updating personnel practices, such as handwashing, hairnet wearing, jewelry policies and more.
Trust the process
We were required to hire a third-party auditor to complete the audit in two sections: document reviews and a site inspection.
The process also mandated a “hazard analysis” of all of our steps and ingredients, even though baking is safe.
Each step of the process must follow a detailed procedure. Every procedure must include a justification, an individual responsible for implementing it, and specific steps to follow, primarily. Finally, we are required to maintain logs to monitor these processes.
It was six months of fine-tuning the systems and documents and implementing "traceability" processes. The latter shows the temperatures of pies in the oven, walk-in refrigerator, and freezer. Even our boxed and pie tins are properly stored and sealed according to a procedure.
Finally, the second part of the audit process happened on September 16, 2022.
All hands on deck
Uhuru Foods & Pies has numerous volunteers. However, three core people lead this institution and provide direct leadership to this process: Bakari, Sealli and Maureen. We were able to get invaluable support from other food professionals who know and respect the mission and work of Uhuru Pies, including John Roulac, Steve (the owner of the kitchen), Greg, a Quality Assurance specialist and other bakery owners.
Two days before the on-site audit, all hands went to the kitchen to make sure that everything was in place. This was especially important because we currently work in a shared kitchen. We needed to make sure that not only was our team in place, but that others were also following good manufacturing practices.
During the inspection, the auditor took us around the whole kitchen, pointing out potential problem areas. They also gave cleaning tips, noting how we should always look up, as well as behind and inside equipment to ensure that everything is clean and up to code. The whole experience was very informative and eye-opening. And…Uhuru Foods & Pies passed the audit!
With this most recent victory, we now await completing (or repeating) any other required steps so that Uhuru Pies are in Whole Foods stores.
Politics and pies
Other September victories include the Oakland Days of Reparations event. These were two highly attended UFP Open Meetings that won many people's participation in and support of the Uhuru Holiday Pies Campaign 2022, as well as new participants on the Holiday Pie Campaign Steering Committee.
Uhuru Foods & Pies is a fully-owned business of Black Star Industries: the economic umbrella of the African People’s Socialist Party.
Point #2 of our Party platform states: "We want the rights to economic development and creative and productive employment which promote the needs and well-being of our entire people."
Uhuru Foods & Pies is much more than just baking delicious pies. It is building the independent economic capacity of the African working class through food production and distribution.
All these victories and improvements are part of the path to opening the Uhuru Jiko Commercial Kitchen in St. Louis, which will be the future home of Uhuru Pies and the African Independence Workforce Program and much larger growth of this economic institution of Black Star Industries.
During our holiday pie sales in California and Florida, we will continue to call on supporters and donors to continue to donate to the build out of Uhuru Jiko.
In Florida and California, Uhuru Pies are now available for holiday orders. Don’t miss out!
Support the Independent African Economy!