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#60958 Micro. Guidelines for Food Contact Surfaces

Posted by Charles.C on 30 April 2013 - 03:03 PM

Dear All,

I previously posted a table of various micro. guidelines for food contact surfaces which were mostly issued pre-2000 at this link –


To update the earlier info., the attached excel file presents guideline data I have accumulated for 12 countries issued in the period 2000 – 2012. The compilation demonstrates that for a range of food-related scenarios, some “average” opinions for various (just) cleaned surfaces are –

(a) For Aerobic Plate Count (APC) - the majority of data suggests that, for routine cleaning/sanitising, surfaces typically have maximum APC counts in the range 10-100cfu/cm2 .
(b) For factors like Coliform, (generic) E.coli, Enterobacteriaceae, S.aureus, the expected maxima are, predictably, low, eg 1-10 cfu/cm2, or undetected. The latter requirement also invariably applies for “zero-tolerance” pathogenic microbial species.

Hopefully of some interest. Further input / comments welcome as usual.

Attached File  Compilation of International Micro. Guidelines for food contact surfaces, 2000 onwards.xls   993KB   4210 downloads

Rgds / Charles.C

#83519 BRC v 7 Gap analysis

Posted by agnes on 13 January 2015 - 02:47 PM

Hi there,


I am known to be impatient and I have done gap analysis between v6 and 7. Please help yourself to it. if any mistakes are found please let me know.



Attached Files

#134918 Happy Christmas Everyone!

Posted by Simon on 14 December 2018 - 06:55 PM

Wishing all IFSQN members and lurkers a wonderful Christmas and a Happy & Peaceful New Year.  2018 has been a fantastic year for IFSQN and next year we are planning more webinars, networking events and of course developing our thriving discussion forums further.  


Thanks to you all and best wishes.


Simon :santa:

#91342 2.5.1 Responsibility, Frequency, and Methods

Posted by ChocoTiger on 14 July 2015 - 08:37 PM



Here are generic examples of what is needed for,,, and  The programs I included in this are the prerequisite programs required by SQF.


Let me know if you need any additional help.



#90966 Does anyone know what PIGS stand for?

Posted by Wine Gum on 07 July 2015 - 07:22 AM

The PIGS diagram can be used to formulate hazards comprehensively:


P- presence (qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of presence of hazards)

I-Introduction (Likely occurrence of hazards and severity of their adverse health effects)

G - Growth (Production or persistence of foods of toxins, chemicals or physical agents)

S- Survival (Survival or multiplication of micro-organisms of concern)


Hope this helps!


Wine Gum

#141710 Free of allergen claim

Posted by SQFconsultant on 07 May 2019 - 05:05 PM

So, your basic question is why would someone put gluten-free on a package of fruit?  -- It's a marketing thing.


This was also a marketing thing:  All corn used for popcorn in the US is Non-GMO.  One company that packages popcorn decided to get their product certified as non-gmo and everybody at all the other popcorn companies started screaming!  It's a marketing thing.


As to how someone can put a nutritional label for instance on a fruit in a country that does not require labeling - again, it's a marketing thing based on averages.


Actually I see that as pretty much being pretty effective in the marketplace, would most certainly standout.


Another one - when it comes to Gluten-Free, there are some packaging companies that use glue strips in their boxes and packaging with a certain amount of gluten in the strips and now we see packaging companies coming out with gluten-free certifications, makes sense actually and heightens the publics awareness that there is packaging that could contain gluten- nil chance of it transferring to product, but again a great marketing thing.

#139306 1,000 Visitors Online

Posted by Simon on 19 March 2019 - 03:06 PM

I was just doing a bit of admin on the forums and noticed (for the first time ever) 1,000 visitors online in the past 60 minutes.  I think that's a record! :yay:


Thanks everyone.







Attached File  1,000 online.PNG   641.25KB   2 downloads

#98575 Comparison between ISO 22000 & BRC V7

Posted by Tony-C on 16 February 2016 - 02:56 PM

Hi Charice & Charles.


As you say Charles the two standards are inherently different with ISO 22000 generic in many ways.


I have drawn up a table of clauses that offers a rough comparison:


Attached File  Comparison of ISO 22000 and BRC Food Issue 7.pdf   298.07KB   847 downloads


Kind regards,



#91444 VACCP Risk Assessment

Posted by trubertq on 16 July 2015 - 03:39 PM

Since Storage and distribution is not my area I don't feel qualified to answer however I'm sure some one on here can help him.


I'd imagine his customers are looking for verification that his goods haven't been tampered with or substituted, as well as trying to pass the buck of VACCP onto him.....


I'd suggest going to his suppliers and requesting THEIR VACCP risk assessment and then add in his steps in the chain with his risk assessment.

#86325 What is a Verification Schedule?

Posted by fgjuadi on 05 March 2015 - 08:41 PM

2.5.3 is your verification schedule,  I use this for verification activities - Verify the metal detector is working every 30 minutes .  Verify chemical concentration every morning via titration.


Internal audits go on 4.5.2 (Validation schedule)


To make it easier, I combine the 2.5.3 form with 2.5.1 (methods and responsibilities) and 2.5.4 (Verification of monitoring activities) .   Basically it's a chart with each monitoring and verification activity, frequency, and responsibility.

So maybe the QA Manager checks the visitor log once a week, but they only conduct a food defense audit annually.  The check goes on verification of monitoring, the audit goes on validation.


It can get very "fuzzy" as SQF does not dictate which activity is which. I attached copies of both if it will help - but don't be surprised if you get some different answers.


#83199 Apology to Mr I from Mr IFSQN

Posted by Simon on 07 January 2015 - 09:44 PM

Over the last couple of day's it has become clear to me that I have made an almighty cock-up on MOTM and caused Mr I a huge injustice.


Mr I received the most reputation points in December (by a distance), but I did not award him MOTM because I (mistakenly) thought that once a member had won MOTM they could not win it again. When I checked the rules yesterday I realised I was wrong and a member can win it once per calendar year. I thought that was just an unfortunate, but simple mistake I had made.


However, (to my horror) I have now realized that MR I has NEVER won MOTM...I would have put my mortgage on that he had previously won it. To make matters worse it is likely that in previous months Mr I has scored the highest reputation points and won MOTM and I have overlooked him.


The upshot is I have dealt Mr I a real injustice and I am totally at fault and I have passed on my sincere apologies.  Thankfully Mr I has graciously accepted my apology.


For the record Mr I did not want me to publish this apology, but I want to because it is right to do so. We have some great members around here and Mr I is one of them.


To this end MR I is the first ever recipient of the annual Member of the Year award.   Apart from the title there will be some sort of badge of honour, but I’m working on that…ideas?




#81054 Micro testing for compressed air (used on food equipment)

Posted by Charles.C on 18 November 2014 - 06:42 PM

Dear Laura,


Thank you for the detailed reply. Much appreciated. I have expanded a little on some of the comments in yr post / links.




I looked at  2 viewpoints, SQF/BCAS, on some desirable Quality characteristics of Compressed Air -

Purity is defined in the SQF Code (Appendix 2: Glossary) and means the absence of contaminants that could cause a food safety hazard. Pure air means the air is free of risk of cross-contamination to the products. Essentially, the air must not contribute any contamination to the product.


Strictly, use of the word “contamination”  as defined by SQF implies that  micro.standards based solely on APC limits could be regarded as safety (ie haccp) meaningless. (In a cleanroom context the situation would likely be rather different,  limits derived for sterile scenarios are in some articles recommended as not being arbitrarily transferred into the food scene without due caution).


Similarly to SQF, BCAS implicitly defines contaminants in its introduction via -


Contaminants that may be a potential hazard in food for human consumption

In the context of the BCAS COP, hazard is presumably interpreted as safety hazard. On this basis, some difficulties also arise IMO, eg - 

The BCAS Food Grade Compressed Air, A Code of Practice states,

"6.2 Microbiological contaminants.

HACCP shall establish the risk of contamination by microbiological contaminants. The level of viable microbiological contaminants in the compressed air shall not be detectable using the method described in clause 7.6." Clause 7.6 refers to ISO 8573-7 test method for viable microbiological contaminant content.


The word "detectable" suggests that any microbial species other than what is (somehow) defined as "natural"  to the specific product have zero tolerance. This seems inconsistent with basic haccp principles. Unless a list of accepably non-hazardous species exists ?


This post primarily focuses on micro. “B” factors, the “C, P” hazards are well over-viewed in the SQF faq (see Excel file/sheet3 below) and the Code’s Guidance documents, eg for parts 2/11.


I have done a little background searching regarding standards, micro.species, filters, etc and pasted some selected extracts into the attached excel book (the earlier studies in this area seem a little neglected these days, maybe justifiably :smile: ) . Most of the content will probably be (only too) familiar to you of course.


The source files are attached below, keyed to the excel sheet numbers.


Attached File  Compilation regarding Micro.Standards,etc for env. air,compressed air,filters in food plants.xls   1.48MB   638 downloads


added Charles.C, 21082018 - NOTE - URL Link on Sheet 2 of Excel is broken. File is available in Post 15.


Attached File  sh1 - microbiological air quality.pdf   489.76KB   780 downloads

Attached File  sh4 - Compressed-Air-in-the-Food-and-Beverage-Industry.pdf   3.82MB   531 downloads

Attached File  sh4.1 - food industry compressed air systems,white-paper.pdf   196.81KB   381 downloads

Attached File  sh5 - compressed air in food plants,white paper,Parker Balston.pdf   522.15KB   390 downloads

Attached File  sh6 - ECFF.pdf   402.26KB   396 downloads

Attached File  sh7 - tesco standard 2014.pdf   1.15MB   453 downloads

Attached File  sh8 - air filtration systems.pdf   193.62KB   399 downloads


Rgds / Charles


PS - Two/three of the above documents are already in the thread linked in post 2 above. I re-used them to allow some convenient integration.


The mystery (to me) of why SQF's faq (typically) refers to 0.1micron filters whereas the guidance document specifies 0.01 micron remains. Nonetheless, if the cost/maintenance/implementation factors are comparable (?), the latter seems a logical investment for an easy audit (also see sheet5 in Excel file). For current purposes i assumed the faq is more "maintained" than the guidance and "acted accordingly". :smile:


PPS - the extensive collection of TA documents available via Laura's links in previous post(s) are remarkable and valuable. Highly recommended for browsees. :thumbup:


P3S – for those interested here are 5 more links, the first two look at typical air sampling devices/procedures (mainly food/cleanroom respectively), the next 3 focus on micro.aspects/standards  as applied in pharmaceutical, cleanroom, sterile work scenarios. The similarities to concepts used (borrowed?) in the food business is clear but there are also significant differences in emphasis, eg the interest in viable/non-viable particles.




http://www.fda.gov/o...ug Products.htm



#81026 Preventive action regarding incorrectly filled records?

Posted by mdean1124 on 18 November 2014 - 02:43 PM



Try using the Human Error Assessment Tool (HEAT) system... 


I'm incorporating it into a procedure for my supervisors to use in solving human errors.  It comes from a now-defunct company called Talsico that was based in NJ.  I don't know who to credit it to other than that. 







Employee does not know or does not understand; no training or ineffective training.



c Employee did not have prerequisite qualifications

Provide employee remedial training in prerequisites or reassign employee.

c Employee not trained and qualified on task

Reassign employee until trained.  Improve job specifications for task to include the training and qualification missed. 

c First time employee performed task

Improve training to include "team paired" qualification with skill check for first performances.

c Employee did not perform task as trained

Reassign employee until retrained and re-qualified with skill check. 

c Employee did not understand results of deviation from correct procedure

Improve training to include "scenario" to show results of deviation.

c Training was ineffective


Review and improve skill checks to show training is effective.






Employee made wrong decision or responded with inappropriate behavior or insufficient understanding of result.



c Situation not covered in procedure or training, incorrect logic used


Improve training to include the situation.

c Employee forced to make a decision without supervision input

Improve training to include "scenario" to show variations.  Create a "decision tree" or "flow chart" for decision making; with feedback channels and embed it in the procedure.

c Situation unclear as to "normal operation" or "troubleshooting"

Improve training to segregate "normal operation" from "troubleshooting" in the task/procedure.

c  Employee failed to make decision based on dilution of responsibility or blind eye ("not my job")

Improve training to include "scenario" for elevation of decision in chain of command.

c Employee did not understand results of decision or failure to make to decision

Improve training to include "scenario" to show results of failure to make decision.  Change balance of results.  Clarify expectations. 






Employee trained, but failed to remember - unable to use skill or knowledge as required (e.g. change in a step/order forgotten).



c Extended time since employee last performed task

Improve training and qualification schedule to reduce extended time between task performances.

c Employee forgot or skipped task steps that are regularly performed without error

Improve work area to reduce interruptions.  Confirm working environment is suitable.  Create "error-proof" solution (task can only be performed one way).

c No "job aids" or "visual controls" available

Create "job aids" or "visual controls" to support recognition of tasks.  Confirm they are readily available and changes highlighted. 







Employee knew, but applied incorrect action or information (e.g. slips, wrong outcomes, transcription errors, mistakes).



c Several tasks involved simultaneously, i.e. too many things happening at once


Reduce or balance cognitive load.   Re-order or re-assign tasks. 

c Not enough resources or incorrect resources to perform task


Perform resource gap analysis and confirm employee has the resources to do the task.  Confirm correct items are at hand each time before task begins (e.g. check list). 

c Environment disorganized

Improve organization and structure the environment to the task. 

c Health or fitness issues involved

Confirm employee is physically fit for the task.

c Data input or design of documentation

Error-proof the input system to prevent mistakes.

c Design of equipment

Error-proof the equipment and usage steps.  Upgrade equipment.

c Employee knew the task, but applied the incorrect action/steps (e.g. perceived a color check incorrectly)

Provide symbols/signs/color standards/written descriptions in documentation and job aids. 






Employee believed they did task correctly, but end result was variable or not desired outcome.



c Employee relied on "recall" rather than "recognition" 


Provide recognition aids rather than relying on recall (e.g. use colors/sounds/symbols/signs).  Prevent interference with operators. 

c Distractions or disruptions present caused "recognition" failure.


Improve work area by minimizing distractions and disruptions.  Isolate or rotate the task.   

c Competing priorities caused loss of focus 

Separate in-order tasks of a similar nature and of similar priority.







Employee knew, but forgot.  Employee missed or did not verify the steps/actions or used wrong item (e.g. left a field blank).



c  Employee had no double check of activity/information/results


Improve task an "over check" system.  Have a second qualified person verify the activity/information/results.

c  Distractions or disruptions present in schedule (break, shift change, holiday) caused failure

Improve task with "attention activators" (e.g. job aids, checklists, colored labels/highlighting, auditory/visual alerts, symbols, signs, form design).  Activators must be appropriate in strength, number, and location. 

c  Not enough time in schedule to complete the task


Restructure or reschedule the type of task to fit time requirements.

c  Employee perceived higher pressure than normal or concern due to unusual circumstance


Reduce pressure (e.g. restructure task with more personnel or other resources).

c  Items required to complete task not available


Improve task with pre-work check list for required items.






Ineffective Documentation (e.g. batch records, procedures, job aids).



c Documentation not same as actual practice or unclear to employee


Improve document to reflect actual practice.  Clarify practices used.

c  Documentation missing step(s) or step(s) out of order


Improve document to capture missing steps or reorder steps to reflect actual practice.

c No "job aids" or "attention activators" available

Create a job aid with pictures to accompany the document, or include pictures or "attention activator symbols" in the procedure.

c Terminology of task unclear to employee

Improve document with help and input of end-user employee(s) to confirm clarity of terms.  

c Order of action unclear to employee

Improve document with help and input of end-user employee(s) to confirm clarity of order. 


#77905 Waste Management Program

Posted by RG3 on 15 September 2014 - 08:07 PM

  1. Purpose:

The purpose of the Waste Disposal Procedure is to ensure that ________ products are produced, processed and handled in a safe and hygienic manner with appropriate waste disposal accommodations.


  1. Responsibilities:
    1. ___________ department is responsible for the execution of this procedure.


  1. The ________ is responsible for responding to events which generate extra waste and which will require an extra pick up by the trash removal service through _______company.


  1. ________is responsible to verify this procedure is executed as outlined through daily pre-operational form xxxxx and GMP operational audit form xxxxx.


  1. Procedures:

11.9.1 DRY AND LIQUID WASTE DISPOSAL Methods and Responsibility to Collect and Handle:

Sanitation ensures that both organic waste and regular trash generated in equipment washing process, food processing, and premises surroundings are effectively removed.  

 Waste Removal:

A. Daily sanitation cleaning procedures involves checking to ensure regular trash and organic wastes are adequately removed from processing areas, both pre-operations and during operations. All regular trash is to be collected in designated trash containers and organic waste is to be collected in designated organic waste containers. (For details please see xxxx Food Container and Cleaning Utensil Color Code).


B. Dry waste such as processing waste, disused packaging materials are to be disposed in the trash compactor located at the _____ and ____ area. Trash disposal area should be maintained clean and organized at all times and  verified daily to ensure it is not overflowing or leaking, and that litter or trash is not spilled or piled around it, which could pose a pest attraction, harborage or other contamination issue.


    Trash compactor is to be empty _(Frequency)_____by “_______ Company”.

  Container for Handling Waste Materials:

All plastic trash and organic waste containers are to be maintained in good conditions. Trash compactor and Trash Disposal Containers are to be maintained serviceable, organized and clean condition as not to attract flies and other vermin. Waste Effectively Removed from Surroundings:

Management ensures that waste is effectively removed from wash-down, processing, and premises. Daily sanitation inspection involves checking to ensure trash is adequately removed from processing areas, both pre-operationally and during operations.  The trash compactor area is verified daily to ensure it is clean and not overflowing or leaking, and that litter or trash is not spilled or piled around it, which could pose a pest attraction, harborage or other contamination issue. 


Trash compactor door must be kept closed at all times, except when they are being loaded or dumped. Liquid Waste

C. Liquid from ________ will be stored in Organic waste bins:

Reviews of the effectiveness of waste management will form part of daily hygiene inspections and the results of these inspections shall be included in the relevant GMP and Pre-operational reports.



Ongoing verification that the requirements in the Waste Disposal SOP are met is achieved through the internal inspection program.     




How's that for generic???

#73564 IQA Salary Survey

Posted by cazyncymru on 09 June 2014 - 09:04 AM

I agree with Slab, yes I get paid more, but I don't just deal with Food Safety; under my umbrella comes Environment & Health & Safety!


Food Safety has changed so much in the last 14 years. I think its changed a lot in the last 5 years and if i'm honest, unfortunately (controversial statement coming), not all Quality Professionals have evolved along the way. Some times I see questions on here, and whilst we all have to start somewhere, I despair. I hold my head in my hands, wondering are they really serious or are they trolls! It does make me somewhat reluctant to respond to some post(ers). It would seem that some people are either unable to think for themselves or unwilling to! To be a quality professional you have to have at least a basic knowledge and I know it is difficult, but please if you haven't had a formal education in food safety, at least read a few books and try to learn something!


I think that we have now become more focussed in assessing risks with risk assessments becoming the backbone of a food safety system. As things have evolved, we are being asked to carry out more and more risk assessments; even if it doesn't truly affect our industry (I think Acrylamide!). Thing is, who's teaching people to do these risk assessments? And who taught them? their all subjective! as long as you can justify how you reached that conclusion, who's to say your right or wrong! In the latest version of the BRC, we are asked to carry out a vulnerability risk assessment. Now I work predominantly in Dairy, and I have interpreted this in risk assessing from the farm to the fork, so my study incorporates animal health as well as abuse by the customer. I'm lucky that in a previous life, I was involved in doing Farm Assurance, so I understand about what can potentially happen on the farm; but I bet I'm in the minority. We're asking quality professionals to assess something they may not have any idea about, and this is where mistakes can be made.


I also think we've become inundated with consultants. I probably get a request daily from either a consultant or a recruiter on LinkedIn!! If I need help I will ask, and if I want a new job, I'm sure I can find one myself! ( I've never used an agency to find a job)


So, those are my thoughts,  I'm sure many will disagree.



#141664 May 2019 – Member of the Month

Posted by Simon on 07 May 2019 - 09:54 AM

Congratulations to The Food Scientist on being selected for the IFSQN May 2019 Member of the Month award.  The Food Scientist has been a member of IFSQN for just over 6 months and in this time has proven to be a consistent poster, helping members and becoming a valuable part of our community.


Thank you for your contributions. :clap:


An IFSQN mug is on its way to you.









#135181 My Boss says all I need is to copy and paste the SQF requirements

Posted by Charles.C on 19 December 2018 - 04:28 PM

My boss said that to developed a SQF food safety plan all I need is to copy and paste the requirements.
What do you guys think about his point of view??????????


Refer yr Boss to -




Then ask for a budget.

#135141 My Boss says all I need is to copy and paste the SQF requirements

Posted by SQFconsultant on 18 December 2018 - 10:25 PM

Tell your boss he/she is an idiot.

#128718 Are you a good auditor? How many hazards you can spot?

Posted by Simon on 24 July 2018 - 10:39 AM


#104675 How would you rate the food safety culture in your workplace?

Posted by Simon on 08 August 2016 - 07:38 PM

CULTURE is the new buzzword in food safety management circles; it’s becoming a part of GFSI thinking and in fact BRC already have an optional Cultural Excellence module.


In a food safety context ‘culture’ has traditionally been about growing microbes, but now we are talking about working towards a positive organizational food safety culture that influences a business’s compliance with food safety.


Whether positive or negative every business will have a food safety culture, so I thought a poll would be a good place to start the discussion.




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