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Outside, In: Mapping Food Processing’s Pest Hot Spots

Apr 29 2020 01:35 PM | Simon in Articles

Due to their abundance of food, shelter and water, food processing facilities are an ideal place for pests to live and breed. Unfortunately, the presence of pests in your facility threatens the safety and quality of your product. These pesky intruders can slow your operations by contaminating food, causing equipment damage and potential disease transmission.

 

Knowing your site’s pest hot spots and taking a proactive approach to pest management can help prevent pests from chewing away at your reputation and bottom line.

 

An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is one of the most effective ways to be proactive with your program. Not only does this help defend the facility against pests, an IPM approach ensures you are meeting essential government, industry and audit requirements. Knowing the hot spots and responding appropriately around your facility is critical to pest prevention.



Read story →    0 comments    -----    pest management, pest control and 3 more...

SQF from Scratch: 2.1.5 Crisis Management Planning

Apr 14 2020 05:10 PM | Simon in Articles

This article series is a deep dive into each individual SQF element. Not just what the code says but what’s actually being asked, how it makes our products safer, and how that element looks in practice both inside and outside the audit. Personnel new to SQF seeking implementation and those reviewing existing systems should both benefit from a methodical study of each element, and how we can truly embrace the code and share it with internal and external customers.

 

Remember, the goal is not “Audit ready 365”, it’s to know that our facility embraces globally recognized best practices to maintain food safety. Because of this, as we dive into each element, we must always remember the quality management system golden rule:

 

Never make systems to “pass audits”. Make systems that work for your company that help it make safer/higher quality products more efficiently.



Read story →    1 comments    *****    SQF, 2.1.5 and 1 more...

Managing the risks of COVID-19 in the Food Industry

Apr 01 2020 12:45 PM | Simon in Articles

At the end of 2019 as people were making their New Year’s resolutions and plans for 2020; nobody imagined the equilibrium of life would be affected so dramatically by a virus outbreak that began in Wuhan, a place in Hubei province, China.

 

What started as an epidemic in China, has now become a truly global pandemic. WHO declared it a pandemic on March 11 and so far, it has affected more than 200 countries. Currently the pandemic is still spreading and the best visual of this is presented by John Hopkins University Covid-19 dashboard, which collates information from national and international health authorities.



Read story →    0 comments    -----    Coronavirus, COVID-19

SQF from Scratch: 2.1.4 Complaint Management

Mar 08 2020 02:39 PM | Simon in Articles

This article series is a deep dive into each individual SQF element. Not just what the code says but what’s actually being asked, how it makes our products safer, and how that element looks in practice both inside and outside the audit. Personnel new to SQF seeking implementation and those reviewing existing systems should both benefit from a methodical study of each element, and how we can truly embrace the code and share it with internal and external customers.

 

Remember, the goal is not “Audit ready 365”, it’s to know that our facility embraces globally recognized best practices to maintain food safety. Because of this, as we dive into each element, we must always remember the quality management system golden rule:

 

Never make systems to “pass audits”. Make systems that work for your company that help it make safer/higher quality products more efficiently.



Read story →    0 comments    *****    SQF, 2.1.4, Complaint Management

SQF from Scratch: 2.1.3 Management Review

Jan 30 2020 06:45 PM | Simon in Articles

This article series is a deep dive into each individual SQF element. Not just what the code says but what’s actually being asked, how it makes our products safer, and how that element looks in practice both inside and outside the audit. Personnel new to SQF seeking implementation and those reviewing existing systems should both benefit from a methodical study of each element, and how we can truly embrace the code and share it with internal and external customers.

 

Remember, the goal is not “Audit ready 365”, it’s to know that our facility embraces globally recognized best practices to maintain food safety. Because of this, as we dive into each element, we must always remember the quality management system golden rule:

 

Never make systems to “pass audits”. Make systems that work for your company that help it make safer/higher quality products more efficiently.



Read story →    1 comments    *****    SQF, 2.1.3, management review

SQF from Scratch: 2.1.2 Management Responsibility

Jan 12 2020 06:15 PM | Simon in Articles

This article series is a deep dive into each individual SQF element. Not just what the code says but what’s actually being asked, how it makes our products safer, and how that element looks in practice both inside and outside the audit. Personnel new to SQF seeking implementation and those reviewing existing systems should both benefit from a methodical study of each element, and how we can truly embrace the code and share it with internal and external customers.



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SQF from Scratch: 2.1 Management Commitment, 2.1.1 Food Safety Policy

Jan 10 2020 07:02 PM | FurFarmandFork in Articles

This article series is a deep dive into each individual SQF element. Not just what the code says but what’s actually being asked, how it makes our products safer, and how that element looks in practice both inside and outside the audit. Personnel new to SQF seeking implementation and those reviewing existing systems should both benefit from a methodical study of each element, and how we can truly embrace the code and share it with internal and external customers.



Read story →    9 comments    *****    SQF, 2.1 Management Commitment and 1 more...

Particle Contamination in Compressed Air: Choosing the right analytical method per ISO 8573

Nov 28 2019 07:49 PM | Simon in Articles

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.



Read story →    0 comments    -----    compressed air testing

Working towards smarter food safety objectives

Oct 07 2019 10:08 AM | Simon in Articles

My name is Jean-Guy Cormier, P.Eng., Lead Auditor. I am a professional engineer and a management system Lead Auditor for 30 years, the last 10 years with DNV GL Business Assurance, one of the top certification bodies in the world. As a professional auditor, I have done over a thousand audits in food safety, quality management, environmental and health and safety management system.

 

This article discusses the establishment of measurable targets to help management teams to focus their resources within the required areas and timeframes. Also, it is a platform for continuous improvement initiatives either at the plant-level or process-specific levels.

 

This article addresses three fundamental questions:

  • How and why does management establish measurable quality and food safety objectives?
  • How does management establish continuous improvement initiatives that are directly linked to measurable objectives? And
  • How and why management should establish proactive food safety objectives?
Comments are based on observations that I have collected and discussed with management teams over the years, regardless of the size and complexity of the company operations. For some, especially larger companies, with adequate knowledge, management understands the relevancy of established measurable objectives.

 

Unfortunately, too many companies still struggle because of several factors, such as lack of knowledge and understanding, not fully grasping the benefits and added value, lack of discipline and structured approach.



Read story →    6 comments    *****    objectives, SMART and 2 more...

Ineffective Internal Audit: Underlying Causes

Sep 09 2019 02:36 PM | Simon in Articles

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.
Thus, I would like to share my views of what I have encountered. Hopefully, internal auditors can improve their auditing skill sets not only to demonstrate the effectiveness of the facility management system, but, also, identify potential gaps with strong supporting evidence and, more importantly, opportunities for improvement to strengthen the effectiveness of a management system.



Read story →    7 comments    *****    internal auditing, audit

How Rodents are Threatening Your Food Safety Procedures

Aug 05 2019 06:28 PM | Simon in Articles

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.



Read story →    1 comments    -----    pest managment, rodent control

The Importance of Compressed Air and Gas Testing to Beverage Quality and Safety

Jun 21 2019 04:58 PM | Simon in Articles

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.



Read story →    1 comments    *****    compressed air testing and 2 more...

Presumptive Identification of Microbes in Food Grade Air

Mar 24 2019 11:40 AM | Simon in Articles

Introduction

 

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.



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The Impact of Oil Contamination in Food Grade Compressed Air

Nov 30 2018 07:29 PM | Simon in Articles

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.



Read story →    0 comments    *****    compressesd air testing and 1 more...

Why Your Organization Needs Standard Operating Procedures

Oct 24 2018 07:40 PM | Simon in Articles

If there’s one thing your employees and customers rely on, it is this: “Consistency.” Your customers want consistency because they need to interact with your products and services and for them to work in a predictable way. Your employees want consistency because it makes their jobs easier and drives efficiency. Your business wants consistency because managing the unexpected can be both timely and costly.

 

One of the best ways to ensure consistency and predictability throughout your organization is through “Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).”



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Monitoring Plans - What is the goal of your compressed air testing?

Aug 30 2018 07:43 PM | Simon in Articles

To follow the necessary regulations and ensure the safety of an end product, companies should always employ a compressed air monitoring plan. Though the goal of any monitoring plan is ultimately safety, there are varying ways to ensure product safety and each manufacturer must set their goals according to their specific circumstances and needs. To determine the appropriate goal of an individual’s monitoring plan, companies should assess their risks and understand the regulations in place.

 

Manufacturers may have varying compressed air testing goals that are quite unique to their industry, end product, or even, location. This article will help to determine those goals by outlining the risks that compressed air systems face, the options that users have when it comes to monitoring, and the best ways to ensure the quality of the compressed air system.



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ISO Align and Enhance ISO 22000

Jul 19 2018 11:20 AM | Tony-C in Articles

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.



Read story →    3 comments    *****    ISO 22000: 2018

Compressed Air: Choosing the Correct Microbial Sampling Method

Jul 11 2018 06:11 AM | Simon in Articles

International standards and internal facility health and safety regulations exist to improve and protect the health and welfare of consumers and facility employees respectively. Some regulations directly impact the product being manufactured, while others have roles in the daily function of the overall facility. In either case, when compressed or environmental air meets food, regulations must be in place to deem that food or beverage safe for consumption.

 

In 2014, Parker Hannifin Corporation released a case study about a bakery in Illinois that recognized its need to test the compressed air in direct and indirect contact with their food products. During testing, the bakery mixed ambient air with their compressed air resulting in false positive microbial contamination. After several months of retesting, they evaluated their sampling procedure and discovered it to be the issue.1 In this instance, understanding the standard for testing compressed air for microbial contamination (ISO 8573-7) would have aided in the resolution of the issue in a more timely manner.

 

This article will focus on testing within ISO 8573-7 guidelines for quantitative methods regardless of air type and how qualitative methods, while useful for some reports, may not be applicable to others.



Read story →    0 comments    ****-    micro testing, compressed air

FSMA, HACCP, and Your Compressed Air System

May 17 2018 07:57 PM | Simon in Articles

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) represents a significant shift in the approach to managing food-borne illness. According to the CDC, approximately 48 million people are affected by foodborne illness every year, leading to 128,000 hospitalizations and 3000 deaths. This represents a largely preventable public health burden. The FSMA addresses this by shifting the focus from one of reaction and response to one of prevention. The new rules created under this mandate apply to manufacturers and packagers of food and beverage for human consumption, as well as manufacturers of animal feeds.



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