The Maritime Food Authority (MFA) launched in October 2019 with the mission of serving as “a quality standards authority for food safety management, auditing, yacht sanitation, outbreak management, and outbreak control in the superyacht industry.”
A few months later, when COVID-19 emerged as a global pandemic, that mission became even more crucial. MFA Founder and Managing Director Georgie Mainey, a professional yacht chef with hotel management and teaching certifications, identified the need for the new organization after serving as Hotel Fleet Training Consultant for Cunard and P&O cruise lines, working with public health and food safety training across their fleets. “I became quite aware that the superyacht industry was not quite lining up with what the cruise industry was doing,” she says.
MFA is a membership organization that offers member yacht programs an annual audit of their food safety and sanitation practices. “You get an onboard audit as ‘a critical friend’ to make sure you are achieving excellence,” Mainey says. Following a successful audit, the yacht’s Managers in Charge, such as the head chef and heads of service, laundry, housekeeping, and deck crew, receive MFA Certificates of Excellence. This not only gives the crew confidence that they are adhering to the highest standards, but it also serves as an endorsement for yacht owners and charter clients seeking reassurance that they can cruise safely aboard the vessel.
Another member benefit is the MFA Food and Sanitation app. “We can tailor the yacht so all your regular hygiene and food checks are all done at the touch of a phone,” Mainey says. “It gives you a full 24/7 real-time audit of how the yacht is doing, which has never been done before.”
MFA also provides member yachts with access to advanced training in food safety and sanitation through its Manager in Charge for the Luxury Yacht Program, offered by MFA-accredited providers. Currently, these include bluewater in the U.S., Luxury Hospitality in the Netherlands and Germany, and OceanWave Monaco for yachts based in the Med. MFA soon will name an approved South African training provider as well.
While the MFA also works with member yachts on outbreak management, Mainey says, “It’s not all about COVID — it’s the food safety. It’s the recognition you get when they come on board and do an audit.”
This article originally ran in the February 2021 issue of Dockwalk.