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My name is Jean-Guy Cormier, P. Eng. Lead Auditor. I am a professional engineer providing consulting and auditing services for almost 30 years. As a professional auditor, I have done over a thousand audits against food safety, quality management, environmental and health and safety management systems. In the past 10 years, I have done over 250 FSSC audits in the food and packaging industry. I have been working as Lead Auditor for DNV GL - Business Assurance, one of the leading global certification bodies, for 10 years.
After so many years, one observation that continues to linger is ineffective internal audit process. Almost every audit that I have participated in, there have been findings against requirements of internal audits. Arguably, some of the underlying causes, why internal audit process is ineffective are:
- inadequate training and ongoing professional development;
- poor preparation;
- poor utilization of adequate tools;
- not having the abilities to communicate in writing and/or verbally;
- Poor skill sets to collect samples of observations and supporting evidences.
Organizations spend a fortune on employee training.
Organizations spent an additional fortune on quality failure: customer complaints, loss of business, destruction of goods, retesting, repacking, reworking, returns, recall, etc. In most cases the loss is attributed to “the human factor”.
If both of the above paragraphs are true, then something very strange is going on in our workplaces. This article introduces an alternative to traditional training methods to which we have become accustomed to over the years: an effective and enjoyable alternative with measurable results.
By Jenny Palkowitsh and Stephanie Suarez of Trace Analytics, LLC
Food and beverage manufacturers must carefully monitor their compressed air systems to ensure that contamination will not impact their end products. Particle contamination is of great concern to food and beverage manufacturers, and is discussed at length in the ISO 8573 standard. ISO 8573 specifies purity classes with varying limits of particle contamination. Manufacturers can use these classes along with a risk assessment to determine which purity classes will meet their specific needs. Once this is decided, part 4 of the standard can be used to determine which method of particle analysis is most appropriate for their use. Depending on the purity levels required for the system, either gravimetry, microscopy, laser particle counters (LPC), or a scanning electron microscope (SEM) can be employed. This article will cover the differences between these analytical methods and help manufacturers determine which type of analysis is appropriate to meet their standards and to ensure product safety.
Twenty percent of the world’s food supply is believed to be contaminated by rodents. These pests can carry various pathogens around facilities and can even transmit harmful diseases. Rodents are known to cause severe property damage with their strong jaws and burrowing skills. Unfortunately, food processing facilities offer the ideal habitat for rodents with access to food and water sources, potential entry points and hiding places.
Compressed air and gases are common in beverage manufacturing from the initial stages of production through bottling. Given the importance of compressed air and gases to beverage manufacturing, the quality and safety of this utility should be regularly monitored for contaminants. Combined with proper maintenance, adequate piping, and proper dryers and filtration, compressed air testing can help beverage manufacturers ensure the quality of their end-products.
Food is an essential requirement for the body, but it can also be a means of disease transmission if contaminated with microorganisms. In the United States, 48 million foodborne gastrointestinal illnesses occur annually, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths (2). These statistics, while alarming, are only of incidences reported. Most foodborne illnesses are not severe enough to warrant a doctor’s visit. Food manufacturing facilities can do their part by monitoring microbial bioburden, not only of food products, but also of the high-risk equipment used in the manufacturing and packaging processes, such as compressed air systems. In food and beverage manufacturing, not only should the ambient air be tested, but also the final processed compressed air for particles (viable and non-viable), water, and oil contaminants. This article will focus on the sources and identification of microorganisms from sampled compressed air using microbial sampling and presumptive techniques. Employing these techniques can aid in manufacturing compliance, product integrity, and cost savings.
Compressed air contaminated with oil in the food manufacturing process can be costly and dangerous. Recognizing the common sources of contamination, reducing the risks associated, and working with an accredited testing laboratory can help to ensure safety of the end-product as well as continued system health.
This article will describe the sources of oil contamination, associated risks, the regulation specifications regarding oil, and the optimal ways to test for oil contamination in compressed air systems.
The long awaited second edition of International ISO Standard 22000 Food safety management systems — Requirements for any organization in the food chain has just been published (June 2018). Not surprisingly, there are a number of changes, there is much closer alignment with other ISO management standards, additional strategic requirements to address organizational risks and opportunities and more detailed food safety requirements.
Laboratories performing food safety and authenticity, pharmaceutical, metabolomic, anti-doping and other analyses using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) can now achieve new levels of performance using high-resolution accurate-mass (HRAM) Orbitrap mass spectrometry, bringing the highest level of detection and identification capabilities to GC-MS studies.