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#1 Charles Chew

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 11:15 AM

Hi,

Just sharing some issues on the topic of "Customer Complaint" which is an area commonly linked to a potential Product Recall BUT not necessary the reason for one.

Recent issues on risk assessments make this topic equally interesting. Common monitoring procedures that I use are simply Customer Complaint Information and Customer Register which records the actions taken and confirming the closing out of the same.

We know most of the time, customers do abuse products and seek out cash refunds or product replacements. Someone earlier indicated in this forum that this could be a rewarding "profession" - how true?

I also akin the anlytical information derived from the Customer Complaints to a "Metal Detector". It can serve as an indicator of potential trend that may lead to a food safety compromise or worse, a complaint that can ONLY be closed out by further assessment and investigation which MAY LEAD to a product recall.

Now then, should Customer Complaints be treated with great care and seriousness.

Is our product label short of the appropriate instructions, is there a trending towards a major loss of control, indication of faulty or incorrect packaging etc

Simon, do you wish to expand on this? :thumbup:

Regards

CharlesChew


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Charles Chew
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#2 Charles Chew

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Posted 24 April 2004 - 08:07 AM

Truly believing that this area of the food safety system plays an important role and can be a major issue of concern as aprt of traceability and risk assessments.

For example,
When Mrs. NeverEarl Lee took to the grocery store and picked up a WHOLE lot of foodstuff for their weekly provision and were tucked away in the car boot. Specific items included A BOTTLE OF MILK and A BAR OF CHOCOLATE.

Off she went and along the way, dropped by her friend's place and ended up having Earl Grey tea for the afternoon. By the time she took off and reached home, it was 4 hours later.

The bottle of Milk was put in the refrigerator whilst the chocolate was visibly melted.

The next day she called to complain about the chocolate and a few days later, called to complain that her husband had taken ill after consuming the Milk and is now in serious condition. She intends to sue both the manufacturer and retailer.

Assumming, the role of the HACCP Team Leader, what is the suggested action on both diferent products. :welcome:

Charles Chew :dunno:


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#3 Simon

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Posted 26 April 2004 - 08:42 AM

When something goes wrong with a batch of widgets for example and the customer complains you have to make an immediate Correction e.g. credit the customer for the faulty widgets and replace them with good ones.

Correction: Action to eliminate a detected nonconformity

Following this immediate action is the second phase of the complaint which is to take Corrective Action. This would involve a thorough investigation to identify the root cause of the problem and hopefully to test and implement solutions to prevent the problem for occurring again in the future.

Corrective Action: Action to eliminate the cause of a detected nonconformity

In answer to your question yes we must treat customer complaints with great care and seriousness even if some of them initialy seem spurious.

In addition it is vital that the data gathered from customer complaints is analysed for trends and this is a critical input into our preventive action process. Preventive Action is now a requirement of ISO 9001:2000.

Preventive Action: Action to eliminate the cause of a potential nonconformity or other undesirable potential situation

The more time we spend on prevention thoeretically reduces the amount of time spent carrying our correction and corrective action activities. Prevention is always better, cheaper and safer than the cure.

The HACCP system itself takes a preventative approach to food safety. And we also use risk assessment techniques for Health & Safety.

Do we for quality?

With regard to the bottle of milk and the chocolate I would check first to see what instructions were on the products labels to see if our ass was sufficiently covered and then I'd take a look at our batch records.

Regards,
Simon


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#4 Charles Chew

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Posted 29 April 2004 - 03:47 AM

Our ass is definitely NOT on the line because we do have a "product specification list" which clearly outlines the information that we need to put on the label.

That includes of course "STORAGE/HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS".

You have covered all: Customer Attendance & Close Out > Corrective Action > Review for Trending > Preventative Measures or Risk Assessment for Potential Recall.

Sometimes, the printer makes a mistake and we had been too presumptious and thats where our ass in on the line.

Your emphasis on "preventative measures" is a vital aspect for all systems against re-occurence. It is the potential trending and possible safety compromise that is really the core of a customer complaint.

For that matter, if the milk is bottled (or even a UHT pack) there could be an issue of micro-leaks from the seal even though temperature remains in compliant. What then? :dunno:

Charles Chew


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#5 Simon

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Posted 29 April 2004 - 02:06 PM

Sometimes, the printer makes a mistake and we had been too presumptious and thats where our ass in on the line.

Excellent point Charles. It's OK though as section 3.1.1 of the BRC/IoP Packaging Standard requires:

"The company shall conduct a formal hazard analysis on the production processes, considering microbiological, foreign objects, and chemical contamination, as well as packaging defects critical to consumer safety. The hazard analysis will be based on the range of uses of the packaging product promoted by the company.

If you purchase your packaging from a company certificated to the BRC/IOP Packaging Standard you do not have to worry as any print defect on the ingredients, heating or storage instructions for example would be controlled by their HACCP system.

Regards,
Simon
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Best Regards,

Simon Timperley
IFSQN Administrator
 
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Need food safety advice?
Relax, you've come to the right place…

The IFSQN is a helpful network of volunteers providing answers and support. Check out the forums and get free advice from the experts on food safety management systems and a wide range of food safety topics.

 
We could make a huge list of rules, terms and conditions, but you probably wouldn’t read them.

All that we ask is that you observe the following:


1. No spam, profanity, pornography, trolling or personal attacks

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3. No (unpaid) advertising
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#6 Charles Chew

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Posted 29 April 2004 - 04:54 PM

Simon,

Frankly, I am not familiar with BRC/IoP but its great to know that "packaging materials" are treated with equal emphasis along the principles of HACCP as food products.

And, why not so when the integrity of the finished products equates that of the integrity of the packaging that helps tp protect it.

Undoubtedly, packaging companies have a role to play in the food chain.

Charles Chew


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Charles Chew
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