Jump to content

  • Quick Navigation
Photo
- - - - -

Quality of 3rd party SQF audit?

supplier approval 3rd party audit

  • You cannot start a new topic
  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 bensmith007

bensmith007

    Grade - Active

  • IFSQN Active
  • 18 posts
  • 2 thanks
2
Neutral

  • United States
    United States

Posted 05 May 2017 - 05:43 PM

Hello all,

 

I wanted to pick your brains on the quality of a 3rd party audit.

 

We are looking at copackers at the moment and recently visited an operation (beverage production) in the Western US. We identified a whole range of food safety issues such as a badly cracked/ pitted/ broken concrete floor in a batching area, lots of standing water around production areas, lack of entry control (open loading dock doors) and no drop down ceiling suggesting that the ceiling is not cleaned (above batching area), no environmental swabbing plus a few more.

 

Their 3rd party audit was performed by SGS and the rating is excellent. On the company's non-conformance correction form there is mention of just 2 major findings. I find it very hard to swallow that they really got an excellent rating, even if they did do the old month-long clean up and documentation check before audit. I have now heard some rumors that SGS is an 'easy' auditor.

 

Does anyone with a bit more experience in this have any information to add?

 

On a side note, I am told that often, as a new company looking at copackers, you are often stuck with a company that may not be the best as these are the only facilities that will have capacity/ need new business.

 

Your input on anything to do with this would be appreciated!

 

Thanks,

 

Ben


  • 0

#2 RMAV

RMAV

    Grade - SIFSQN

  • IFSQN Senior
  • 397 posts
  • 111 thanks
36
Excellent

  • United States
    United States
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:USA - Midwest
  • Interests:QA, Micro, Sanitation;
    Meats, Juice, Condiments;
    SQF, Audit, and aviation

Posted 05 May 2017 - 05:53 PM

No way they had 2 majors with an excellent rating.  Do you mean 2 minors?  Was their audit announced or unannounced?  An audit is only as good as the snapshot and/or the auditor performing the audit.  And there are definitely easy auditors out there.

 

I suggest taking 3rd party audits as just an indicator, but your risk assessment is what is most important. 


  • 0

Thanked by 1 Member:

#3 bensmith007

bensmith007

    Grade - Active

  • IFSQN Active
  • 18 posts
  • 2 thanks
2
Neutral

  • United States
    United States

Posted 05 May 2017 - 06:04 PM

Apologies, you are correct- they were minors; I didn't have the piece of paper in front of me when I first wrote the post.


  • 0

#4 SQFconsultant

SQFconsultant

    SQFconsultant

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 609 posts
  • 106 thanks
29
Excellent

  • United States
    United States
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:We specialize in helping food, logistic & packaging companies to develop & implement SQF, GFCP & IFS systems in the USA, Costa Rica, Panama and the Caribbean Islands.

Posted 06 May 2017 - 04:05 PM

Ben... you can't have 2 major findings and get an excellent.


  • 0

Warm regards,

 

Glenn Oster

 

SQF Registered Consultant - Certified for 29 FSC's

Serving clients in: USA, Costa Rica, Panama & Caribbean Islands

International Toll-Free: 800-546-1452

 

http://www.linkedin.com/in/getgoc

 

www.GlennOsterConsulting.com


#5 SQFconsultant

SQFconsultant

    SQFconsultant

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 609 posts
  • 106 thanks
29
Excellent

  • United States
    United States
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:We specialize in helping food, logistic & packaging companies to develop & implement SQF, GFCP & IFS systems in the USA, Costa Rica, Panama and the Caribbean Islands.

Posted 06 May 2017 - 04:17 PM

Ok. I just saw the correction.

Considering these audits are done as a snapshot in time there is a very good chance that the items you noted were not present on the day of the audit, a drop ceiling is not a requirement.

Based in definition of a major if the flooring could be considered a food safery threat and was that way during the audit it does appear that a major should have been applied.

Hard to second guess an audit when one was not present for it.

Having been an SQF Auditor I always found that in my travels that the auditor that were considered "easy" were the ones that were not paid well.

As an SQF consultant I've been present for many client audits including those conducted by SGS and have always seen their Auditors as professionals, firm, yet fair.


  • 0

Warm regards,

 

Glenn Oster

 

SQF Registered Consultant - Certified for 29 FSC's

Serving clients in: USA, Costa Rica, Panama & Caribbean Islands

International Toll-Free: 800-546-1452

 

http://www.linkedin.com/in/getgoc

 

www.GlennOsterConsulting.com


Thanked by 1 Member:

#6 GMO

GMO

    Grade - FIFSQN

  • IFSQN Fellow
  • 2,241 posts
  • 488 thanks
55
Excellent

  • United Kingdom
    United Kingdom

Posted 07 May 2017 - 04:32 PM

There are a few things.  Not all auditors see everything.  As they always say (and would say if you complained) an audit is a snapshot.  Beverage production can be high risk or it could be low risk depending on what kind of beverage.  The non conformances raised will be proportionate to risk.  

 

Auditors vary even within companies.  I once had a GFSI audit where the auditor found no non conformances.  I felt like saying to him "I know I've got issues here, give me 5 minutes and I will show you them".  Fact is, he then set us back a huge way.  Operations were like "but we got no non conformances, why do I need to do this?"

 

The next thing to think about is how many truly great auditors have you met in your lifetime?  I mean the auditors who find things you never have, the ones you really learn from?  I can think of one and while he's a pain in the ass, he's also a huge test of my factory systems.  I know he will be thorough and will not be misdirected.

 

I would like to ask though, what is a "drop down ceiling"?  It sounds like a false ceiling which can be lowered?  If so, I've never seen one in my life but doesn't mean that my factories didn't have clean (and cleaned) ceilings.  I'd be interested to know what one was though and if my assumption is correct as it would be good to know if I ever do see one!

 

In terms of copackers, I audited one last year I was amased the competent authorities in the UK allowed to trade.  I now use photographs from that audit to demonstrate bad practice in training.  They are notorious at being poor because they often don't have to deal with the end retailer directly (at least in the UK) because for some reason they often fall off the retailer radar and I'm not sure about the US but in the UK, the retailers are the people who kick your butts at audit not GFSI.  


  • 0

Thanked by 1 Member:

#7 Charles.C

Charles.C

    Grade - FIFSQN

  • IFSQN Moderator
  • 12,664 posts
  • 3327 thanks
352
Excellent

  • Earth
    Earth
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:SF
    TV
    Movies

Posted 08 May 2017 - 10:10 AM


I would like to ask though, what is a "drop down ceiling"?  It sounds like a false ceiling which can be lowered?  If so, I've never seen one in my life but doesn't mean that my factories didn't have clean (and cleaned) ceilings.  I'd be interested to know what one was though and if my assumption is correct as it would be good to know if I ever do see one!I

 

Hi GMO,

 

i think you more or less guessed right. I interpret the "drop-down" as "dropped." If so IMEX they are quite common and a semi-permanent, panelled,installation, eg

 

https://en.wikipedia...Dropped_ceiling

 

One advantage is that all the electrical stuff can go in the "crawl-space," out of sight and water.

One diadvantage can be that people forget that not a real celing and start overloading with light supports, etc

 

Can also be popular with rodents.


  • 0

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


Thanked by 1 Member:

#8 bensmith007

bensmith007

    Grade - Active

  • IFSQN Active
  • 18 posts
  • 2 thanks
2
Neutral

  • United States
    United States

Posted 08 May 2017 - 03:33 PM

Thanks all for your replies.

 

Yes, I meant dropped ceiling, as in something used to box in all of the pipes/ conduits etc, and something that can be cleaned a lot more easily than said pipes. In the facility in question there is a very high roof so it is not so easy to clean. We were concerned with this especially in the batching room (with a much lower ceiling maybe 20 feet high) where there is a build up of gunk visible on the pipes running up there, and the batching tank is below this and uncovered whilst ingredients are weighed. A colleague pointed out that this also gives a good perch for birds that get into the facility, a worry when we observed the loading door left open all of the time and a obvious contamination source.

 

The last audit was announced so I'm thinking there was a clean up effort for a month to get through this one.

 

Well thanks again for your replies, it looks like we will be writing lots of sanitation SOPs if we decide to use them in future!


  • 0





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users