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Quality hazards; Woolworths Quality Assurance Standard – Version 5


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#1 geetha

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 04:25 AM

Dear All,
Its been quite some time I am sending a post.
I was going through the Woolworths Quality Assurance Standard – Version 5 Standard. This standard mentions four potential hazards-biological, physical, chemical and quality hazards. The first three potential hazards are well known and controlled through HACCP. But I have no idea on quality hazards.
The standard specifies the potential quality hazards to be identified at each step of the process, risk assessed, arrive at significant quality hazards, establish critical limits and Quality control points.
Do any of the Forum members has carried out this activity. Please explain me with an example.
Best regards,
Geethanjali

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#2 Charles.C

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:33 AM

Dear Geetha,

No experience with Woolworths so anyone feel free to correct but i expect by "quality" hazards they mean non-safety hazards,eg typically related to wholesomeness, eg organoleptic type parameters or possibly legal ones like weight (some people include in 'quality", some not). Seems a bit strange to use the term "critical limits" though, :dunno: The particular options will then depend on yr product.

Rgds / Charles.C


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#3 geetha

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 04:06 PM

Dear Geetha,

No experience with Woolworths so anyone feel free to correct but i expect by "quality" hazards they mean non-safety hazards,eg typically related to wholesomeness, eg organoleptic type parameters or possibly legal ones like weight (some people include in 'quality", some not). Seems a bit strange to use the term "critical limits" though, :dunno: The particular options will then depend on yr product.

Rgds / Charles.C


Dear Charles,
Thank you.
If your thought is extended further , may we include, moisture ( water activity), temperature range which affect the nature of product, pH, salt or sugar concentration etc of the product.
Hope I may get further info from other members.
Best regards,
Geetha

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#4 Charles.C

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 05:47 AM

Dear Geetha,

I think I have seen all yr quoted items occur as CCPs (within the chemical and physical categories) in certain situations. Every HACCP analysis will depends on the specific product / process.

After reading yr first post again (not sure if you gave an exact copy of the standard's text?), maybe I misinterpreted and Woolworth's intend "quality" to cover all the BCP possibilities but in that case the English (Australian?) seems a bit weird (why "4"?) and the term inclusion would seem to be redundant . :dunno:
Appears that none of the people reading this forum use the standard, or couldn't understand it any better :smile: .

Rgds / Charles.C


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#5 geetha

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 09:22 AM

Dear Charles,
:unsure:
I have attached the downloaded copy of the standard so it would be clear to the forum members.
Best regards,
Geethanjali

Attached Files


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#6 Charles.C

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:28 PM

Dear Geetha,

Thks yr attachment. Interesting document indeed. (in fact already the 4th page opens with some strange English :smarty: ) but nonetheless an unquestionably well-intentioned production.

I presume these are some of the relevant paragraphs (slightly more exact than yr extract) –

HAZARD - Any physical, chemical, microbiological or quality property that can alter, taint, damage or render useless, any critical property of a product or process, which may result in a risk to health and safety, or quality deterioration.

QUALITY - Fitness for purpose. A product or service that can consistently meet the specific requirements of the consumer.

CRITICAL CONTROL POINT - Any point where loss of control leads to an unacceptable health risk.

Any CRITICAL LIMIT - Prescribed tolerances that shall not be exceeded to ensure that the critical control point effectively controls the identified hazard. Can also apply to ensuring that the customers specified requirements are met for quality.


First comment is that the text is not exactly clear in meaning. Intentional probably.

I had a quick look through the document. There are 2 aspects which relate to yr original query (I think) -

1. Although it’s not entirely obvious (or certain), a partial answer to yr original query seems to be in section 4, ie –

All quality parameters including sensory & physical criteria and/or directions for use
- All safety parameters (including microbiological and chemical criteria)


This seems to imply that they do not consider any physical hazards as safety related but I’m sure they didn’t intend that since it is obviously incorrect (unless Australians are very unusually lucky eaters :smile: ). Perhaps they meant non-safety related physical items (eg see below). (can ask Woolworths I suppose)

Anyway, the extract above illustrates that they interpret sensory qualities (which I agree are not normally classed as BCP or safety related) as “quality” as per my first post [this non-safety statement is also debatable but I won’t go into that here]. Presumably, their “quality” may also include “damage” (a very general term indeed). However “taint” could be a safety or non-safety parameter depending on the case, eg chemical petroleum contamination or simply a” bad taste” so perhaps “chemical” or “quality’ are possible classes. Basically, IMO, they really should have explained the meaning of their terminology in more detail but this is not an unusual criticism.

Also, the use of the terms in item 1. is somewhat special to Woolworths since –

2. I deduce (and it is also implied in the text, section 3a) that Woolworth’s hv expanded their HACCP interpretation to include non-safety characteristics, eg their “quality” factors. This is a sort-of throwback to the early HACCP days. They seem to be using terms like general risk assessment (including their quality factors) as equivalent to doing a HACCP plan which is rather atypical of current usage (focussing on safety only) but basically up-to-them. The result is that their standard looks a bit strange compared to most current formats. Also gives them better back-coverage I suppose. :thumbup:
Accordingly, their usage of HACCP terms like critical limit has also been expanded as per the definition quoted above.

I hope the above makes sense (and is correct!), please revert if it doesn’t or you don’t agree.

Any other comments welcome of course!.

Charles.C

added - seems to me that Woolworths themselves got a bit confused too since their use of "CCP" in section 3a does not appear to match their own definition.
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#7 Suzuki

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 08:02 AM

I find the requirement details in the woolworths standard with regards to food safety and quality fairly similar to or at least along the same spirit as other privately owned standards such as McDonalds, M & S etc.

With regards to quality properties as an identified concern, I suspect the true objective of many privately owned standards in my view, is really to protect the image of their house brand, business policies, market share etc (in most cases, often cleverly disguised as protector of consumer's health and expectations)

While "Quality Control Point" - (QCP) are process points concerning issues of quality concern only such as quality of external packaging including inner product arrangement, correct pack weight, product aroma and or visual expectations etc and are such where customers tend to complaint but has no related bearing to food safety concerns at all although may still be srious enough to invoke upon a product withdrawal. QCP generally form an integrated requirement of any FSMS including Codex-HACCP but in particular, it is mentioned as a requirement under ISO 22000 where ISO 9001:2008 is implied. IMO, Woolworths in Australia has always been regarded as a premium retail outlet and its standard appears to be well prepared.


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#8 Charles.C

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 11:14 AM

Dear Suzuki,

and its standard appears to be well prepared.


I agree with many of the opinions in yr post but, frankly, I thought the HACCP part was a confusing mess. :thumbdown: (hv never seen McDonalds etc to compare).

Nonetheless, maybe other people will like it also and I am too traditionalist. Geetha ??

Rgds / Charles.C
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#9 Suzuki

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 01:56 PM

Hi Charles C.

frankly, I thought the HACCP part was a confusing mess.

I have no problem with the HACCP portion and thought it was well described. Sometimes, the Aussie uses terminologies like "HACCP Control Table" HACCP Summary Table" etc but they all serve the same function and generally in sync with 5 preliminaries + 7 Codex HACCP Principles.

As a matter of fact, I personally rate Aussie / Kiwi approach to HACCP very highly. Because Codex-HACCP is so widely practiced for so long (system maturity) at down under (mandatory in some states), I was recently told that ISO 22000 is unable to make a break through.

Regards
Suzuki
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#10 Charles.C

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 03:23 PM

Dear Suzuki,

Thks yr comments and opinions. I suppose we are basically discussing the “scope” of a HACCP plan.

I find it an interesting topic so I tried googling around a bit and it is amazing how much related discussion exists. I tried to restrict myself to recent links, eg 2004 +. No question that support for extended scope exists although a certain amount of textual compromise is evident in that some people refer to extensions as “HACCP-like” treatments. A couple of examples here –

http://www.tradewatc...umen/haccp.html.

http://www.wageninge.......upfilter=1.

In comparison, an example of choosing a narrow scope basis, ie safety, is here –

http://www.larell.dk/haccp.htm

Codex in fact focuses totally on safety although briefly noting that other quality factors could be included. Actual text -

HACCP can be applied throughout the food chain from primary production to final consumption and its implementation should be guided by scientific evidence of risks to human health. As well as enhancing food safety, implementation of HACCP can provide other significant benefits. In addition, the application of HACCP systems can aid inspection by regulatory authorities and promote international trade by increasing confidence in food safety.
The successful application of HACCP requires the full commitment and involvement of management and the work force. It also requires a multidisciplinary approach; this multidisciplinary approach should include, when appropriate, expertise in agronomy, veterinary health, production, microbiology, medicine, public health, food technology, environmental health, chemistry and engineering, according to the particular study. The application of HACCP is compatible with the implementation of quality management systems, such as the ISO 9000 series, and is the system of choice in the management of food safety within such systems.
While the application of HACCP to food safety was considered here, the concept can be applied to other aspects of food quality.


Looking at another aspect, I cannot find any link to an official country standard which requires anything other than than considering safety aspects. A possibility might also be the scope including a requirement to cover undefined regulatory factors [so-called regulatory haccp]but hv not found an official example of that either as yet.

Australia itself I could not find yet, however from the NZFA website haccp plan for meat products (presumably current), I extracted this –

11. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
General
Q1. Can quality, regulatory and market access requirements be included in the HACCP plan?
A1. Yes they can, but be aware that mandatory requirements for HACCP only relate to food safety. Therefore if you have a HACCP plan with a scope covering more than food safety, and you are about to have a HACCP plan audit by a MAF or overseas regulator, then it may be more difficult to retrieve the documentation and record keeping necessary for the food safety component.

Anybody know of links to any official HACCP standards with “extended scope” ??

Rgds / Charles.C
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#11 Suzuki

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 04:27 PM

Q1. Can quality, regulatory and market access requirements be included in the HACCP plan?
A1. Yes they can, but be aware that mandatory requirements for HACCP only relate to food safety.


Dear Charles C.
Process points that have been risk assesed and are considered critical risks are placed under the risk management of a "Hazard Control Table" aka "HACCP Plan" while quality issues are generally managed within the HACCP program under "Quality Control Points - QCPs". The corelationship and interactive functions of food safety and quality control measures can be comfortably integrated within a food safety system along the same structure of integrating ISO 9001 with ISO 15161 (then) and ISO 22000 (now).

I would imagine that during a normal food safety audit, the auditor would focus on food safety issues however where customer requirements / specifications on quality issues are clearly spelt out and mutually agreed upon, the auditor would need to establish conformity within the HACCP Program.

IMO, the extension of the HACCP Program to cover quality issues / concerns is up to the organization and its relationship and or demand of the customers while the scope of the HACCP Certification is another matter all together.

Regard
Suzuki

Edited by Suzuki, 11 February 2009 - 04:29 PM.

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#12 Charles.C

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 04:58 AM

Dear Suzuki,

IMO, the extension of the HACCP Program to cover quality issues / concerns is up to the organization and its relationship and or demand of the customers while the scope of the HACCP Certification is another matter all together.


I agree but IMEX, one always hopes that customers are not going to demand further volumes of HACCP type documentation in addition to that already in use for official purposes.

My specific criticism of the Woolworth’s document was that they appear to be claiming that their HACCP plan is equivalent to Codex HACCP. This is IMO incorrect since the scopes (eg, see the Woolworth document) are quite different. The Woolworth expanded HACCP scheme simply seemed to give a less useful (focused) result IMO. Other people may not agree, no problem. (Having worked with some other (non-Australian oriented) fast food outfits, I've never [thankfully] seen anything with such a wide HACCP umbrella before.)

BTW, I noticed that Codex hv been trying to introduce things like “defect action points” since 2005 seemingly to offer some kind of a risk based evaluation of non-safety related factors (= Codex quality factors I guess) but they now (2007) seem to hv abandoned this in favour of a new buzzword called “essential quality provisions”. Presumably BRC are following these manouevrings with some interest (ver 6?).

@Geethanjali. Hope these slightly off-topic discussions hv not confused you more. To re-answer yr original "quality" query in the most simple way, eg illustrating the Woolworth usage, hv a look at these 2 links from food network sites –

http://www.foodlinkn..._Vs._Safety.pdf

http://www.foodsafet...d...c=33&id=883

But be aware that some people do not make such a clear separation, eg this quote –

Food safety is a basic requirement for protecting consumer health. However, it is not synonymous with quality – in fact, it represents just one aspect of quality.

:doh:

http://www.tab.fzk.d...assung/ab87.htm

Rgds / Charles.C
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#13 geetha

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 09:09 AM

Dear Charles and Suzuki,
An interesting discussion!!! :clap: .
In relation to the discussions on 'Scope', academically, I agree with Charles but when an audit( second party audit) has to be faced by an organization, Suzuki's answer seems to me very practical.

Anyway, the extract above illustrates that they interpret sensory qualities (which I agree are not normally classed as BCP or safety related) as “quality” as per my first post [this non-safety statement is also debatable but I won’t go into that here]. Presumably, their “quality” may also include “damage” (a very general term indeed). However “taint” could be a safety or non-safety parameter depending on the case, eg chemical petroleum contamination or simply a” bad taste” so perhaps “chemical” or “quality’ are possible classes


While "Quality Control Point" - (QCP) are process points concerning issues of quality concern only such as quality of external packaging including inner product arrangement, correct pack weight, product aroma and or visual expectations etc and are such where customers tend to complaint but has no related bearing to food safety concerns at all although may still be serious enough to invoke upon a product withdrawal. QCP generally form an integrated requirement of any FSMS including Codex-HACCP


From your posts, the above quotes are very specific to my initial query.
Charles, Thanks for the links particularly TAB report. If a company answer the below questions for its product and process, then the quality hazards and quality control points may be arrived at.

  • What does quality mean in connection with food?
  • What quality dimensions are important, apart from food safety?

To conduct a hazard analysis – this assessment shall be documented and identify all potential biological, physical, chemical, quality hazards and regulatory issues associated with products and processes at each step in the flow diagram.
Determine the Critical Control Points – for each significant hazard the Trade Partner shall determine which of the control measures developed is the critical point for control of that hazard, including significant quality hazards / regulatory issues.
Establish critical limit(s) – for each critical safety, quality and regulatory control measure the limits for each shall be established and documented.
Establish a system to monitor control of the CCP –Records of monitoring of CCPs for both safety and quality hazards shall be maintained

From the tips provided by both of you and the above points from the standard, I have to work it out with my client for developing the methodology for QCPs.
Thank you,
Best regards,
Geethanjali

Edited by geetha, 13 February 2009 - 09:12 AM.

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#14 singeroi

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 02:02 AM

very nice info thank you all for the input guys..
simulation assurance vie


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#15 DavidB

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 06:20 AM

I have always felt, and argued against, adding Quality as QCPs will always be confusing as there are almost always always no 'hazards' introduced by Quality defects (Quality falls outside of HACCP risk assessment anyway - what is the hazard???) - yet it appears in Woolworths . McD , SQF 2000 etc.

You could get by by including legislative requirements like labelling and Declared Mass which have 'CCPs" (Label authorisation to print and checkweigher = control points).


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#16 darthvieder

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 07:56 AM

wonderful! thanks for the info..



assurance vie


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#17 cosmo

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 05:14 AM

Hi All,
With regards to the Woolworths standard, haccp etc, the term QCP can really be related to anything to do with traceability, IE: lot and batch control.
Eg; Packing line. Product recieval is a QCP, metal detection is a CCP.


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#18 EthelT

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 05:21 PM

Hi Geetha,

It looks like Woolworth's standards are the same as SQF 2000 where at level 2 a Food Quality Plan is required and at Level 3 a Food Safety plan is required which should be written based on a risk-assessment matrix (like HACCP). At this stage there would probably be several Critical Quality Points (CQP) as opposed to CCP for HACCP. There is a guidance on www.sqfi.com under the documents tab. Hope it helps.


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#19 Charles.C

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 06:48 PM

Dear eebeetee,

Thks yr input.

I presume you are referring to the chunk extracted below although the "quality" plan seems to be at level3 unless I've misunderstood their system (always possible :smile: ).

Attached File  sqf_2000ver6.png   55.54KB   86 downloads

Now I hv at least one reason for avoiding SQF 2000. :thumbup:

Rgds / Charles.C


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#20 Cathy

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 09:47 PM

Yes - the quaity part is only required for level 3 in the SQF code.
The expectation is that you will follow HACCP principles and apply them to non-food safety product attributes. With food safety and HACCP, we first consider the raw material and then the process. For quality - one should first consider the customer expectations - and then go back and see at which steps these expectations might be at risk of not being met. You could use the same flow chart but a different hazard analysis. Instead of B,C,P - you might consider organoleptic, delivery issues (timing and condition), dimensions, or inclusions (foreign objects that are not a food safety hazard) etc. Instead of considering the risk and severity of an illness or injury, you must instead consider complaints or loss of business.

The use of B,C,P for food safety has been very effective over the years - would anyone want to take a try at naming categories that may work for quality?


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http://haccpcg.com/

#21 cosmo

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 04:20 AM

We have had our WQA audit, including the ethical audit, which not only included the haccp aspects as you would expect, but also included product evaluation.
My notes are quite extensive so I will focus on product evaluation for this post.

With a haccp audit the auditor selects a random product and tracks the ingredients back through the system to raw materials to validate traceability.
With WQA, the product/s selected are all the ones supplied in the private label packaging. All ingredients used are checked to ensure all have raw material specs, all raw material suppliers are certificed (haccp minimum) and all products have approved specifications.

One issue that raises itself here is that one department of WWorths supplies the specs, artwork and issues approvals, while another schedules compliance.
This can result in the auditor being assigned an audit date and authority, while the manufacturer (us) are still waiting for sample approval and specification sign off.

As we experienced, the auditor had to make a return visit to close out the Product evaluation CAR... easy if you are in a city, but more difficult if you are rural in this large land mass. To achieve this in a cost effective manner, the auditor also on the return visit, conducted the WQA Ethical Audit....(Another post all of its own).

Some of the CAR close out specifics include a procedure for the secure disposal of the waste/reject product specifically for their product. A generic Private label packaging and product disposal procedure is insufficient as it has to be WWorths specific.

In closing this brief post I will add that the WQA standard is very specific as to what is a major/minor/observation, where as with a Haccp audit you can refer back to the risk assessment to determine how "broke it is" and have the severity of non conformance determined based on the risk gap.


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#22 Esther

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 09:01 PM

Dear All,
Its been quite some time I am sending a post.
I was going through the Woolworths Quality Assurance Standard – Version 5 Standard. This standard mentions four potential hazards-biological, physical, chemical and quality hazards. The first three potential hazards are well known and controlled through HACCP. But I have no idea on quality hazards.
The standard specifies the potential quality hazards to be identified at each step of the process, risk assessed, arrive at significant quality hazards, establish critical limits and Quality control points.
Do any of the Forum members has carried out this activity. Please explain me with an example.
Best regards,
Geethanjali


Dear Geetha

AS Charles, I am not familiar with Woolworths requirements but in line with what he said I would imagine that those " quality hazards" may refer to its own parameters ( microbiological, chemical, physical )which could be more demanding than those stated in legislation ( quantity and quality ); or maybe refer to its own product quality parameters.

Best regards
Esther
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#23 Simon

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 08:21 PM

We have had our WQA audit, including the ethical audit, which not only included the haccp aspects as you would expect, but also included product evaluation.
My notes are quite extensive so I will focus on product evaluation for this post.

With a haccp audit the auditor selects a random product and tracks the ingredients back through the system to raw materials to validate traceability.
With WQA, the product/s selected are all the ones supplied in the private label packaging. All ingredients used are checked to ensure all have raw material specs, all raw material suppliers are certificed (haccp minimum) and all products have approved specifications.

One issue that raises itself here is that one department of WWorths supplies the specs, artwork and issues approvals, while another schedules compliance.
This can result in the auditor being assigned an audit date and authority, while the manufacturer (us) are still waiting for sample approval and specification sign off.

As we experienced, the auditor had to make a return visit to close out the Product evaluation CAR... easy if you are in a city, but more difficult if you are rural in this large land mass. To achieve this in a cost effective manner, the auditor also on the return visit, conducted the WQA Ethical Audit....(Another post all of its own).

Some of the CAR close out specifics include a procedure for the secure disposal of the waste/reject product specifically for their product. A generic Private label packaging and product disposal procedure is insufficient as it has to be WWorths specific.

In closing this brief post I will add that the WQA standard is very specific as to what is a major/minor/observation, where as with a Haccp audit you can refer back to the risk assessment to determine how "broke it is" and have the severity of non conformance determined based on the risk gap.

Thanks for the update Cosmo. Do Woolworths accept any third party certification such as BRC or SQF 2000 or other GFSI aproved food safety management systems standards? In the UK retailers would all carry out their own audits but that did reduce as BRC became more popular.

Regards,
Simon
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#24 cosmo

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 10:23 PM

Simon, unfortunaltey Woolworths will not accept any standard except WQA.

One issue worthy of discussion is the effect private label standards can have on tightening the food standards by stealth.
Example. If a private label lowers the level of reporting for an allergen for their private standard, it can have a number of flow on issues.
The first would be regarding test detection limits and if they are qualitative or quantitive. As we know some tests detect an allergen presence, but not until the level is at a higher concentration can the actual allergen be qualified. A number of the tests we perform, have detection limits well below the food standards limit.
A senario with the gluten allergen would be that a celiac's allergy is triggered at 20ppm, the FSANZ standard for gluten free is 5ppm, the test kit can detect 3ppm as gluten, but shows a detection at 1ppm (yes its protein, but which one?).
If the private label determines that a detection (1ppm) is what they require, not a detection at 5ppm or greater, the number of gluten free products would be substantially reduced in the market as compliance now enters the law of diminishing returns. The looser in this case in the celiac consumer who has less range of food products available.
I sometimes think politicians should work for multinational food companies to learn their craft before entering parliament.
Who should have the greatest say in setting the standards? Consumer groups, food manufacturers, grocery retailers or politicians?


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#25 Charles.C

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 05:52 AM

Dear Cosmo,

Thks the interesting technical comments.

What kind of range of ppm is known to trigger the situation you refer, eg 20ppm (+/-) ? ? This would appear to be relevant to the specification along with the accuracy of the detector.

Sort of reminiscent of microbiological "zero tolerance". :smile:

Rgds / Charles.C


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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