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#1 esquef

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 08:27 PM

I have a question for any of you who have gone through a SQF audit.

Were you asked to perform a traceability exercise? I'm assuming this is SOP for SQF audits. I'm curious if this not only inluded an ingredient and/or finished product, but also a food contact surface packaging material as well.

Thanks in advance for any words of experience and advice.

Regards,
Esquef



#2 stsqf

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:24 PM

esquef,

Our auditor did what he called a "traceability exercise on steroids" which required us to have every record from start to finish and then these records had to be presented to the auditor by a spokesperson from each department responsible for the records. In other words, starting with your ingredients you had to show record of the approved supplier of each ingredient, the inspection of the receipt of each ingredient, lot numbers of ingredients, etc. and the same goes for the packaging materials. For all the equipment used in the manufacturing/packaging process for the product/lot being "traced", we were required to show all sanitation records of cleaning that equipment as well as all preventive or demand maintenance performed on that equipment to prove those programs are operating efficiently. QA must show any monitoring records/tests performed on the product, proof of product release, etc. Production had to show record of lot tracking of ingredients, packaging, etc. and then all pallet reports of finished product. Finally, shipping showed the records of distribution and records of inspections done to product and trailers prior to loading. (Oh and I forgot to include the proof of the label review for the products selected.)

Not only did this exercise show many aspects of our SQF record control, but also showed that our "spokespeople" from each department knew their role and commitment to our SQF system. Our auditor was kind enough to warn us about this exercise during the SQF Document Audit so that gave us time to do a couple practice runs of the exercise to get the employees comfortable and confident for the real thing during the Facility Audit.

Since the certification audit, I have implemented this "traceability exercise on steroids" as a SQF Systems Audit that we perform internally each quarter to help improve and keep everyone on their toes. It sounds like a lot of work and it is at first but after you go through it a few times you will learn that it is worth the effort and time you put into it as it is an extremely valuable tool to pinpoint any loopholes you may have - which in turn we must correct and of course record the corrections (which shows continuous improvement!).



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#3 Charles.C

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:30 PM

Dear stsqf,

Nice summary. It seems yr auditor did not expect to see detailed records of "mass" tracking / balancing. Fortunate (I guess it may be difficult to quantitate for steroids ?). From previous threads here, this aspect can become quite nasty and argumentative. Hv personally observed related, occasionally volcanic, conversations with tax inspectors over "disappearing" product.

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#4 esquef

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 04:59 PM

stsqf,

Thanks so much for taking the time to post your excellent reply. It's much appreciated and helpful!

Best Regards.
esquef



#5 stsqf

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 06:30 PM

esquef - I'm glad you found our story helpful! Thanks for posting this topic on the forum as I am also curious as to what other auditors are having companies do during the Certification Audit!

Any others out there willing to take a minute to share their experiences?! Also for those of you that have had a re-certification audit - were they much tougher/more critical the second time around?






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