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Not getting support from co-workers when it comes to food safety

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kbjorn

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:41 PM

I seem to be having an issue getting my boss to take food safety seriously. Every time I suggest something be modified or when I suggest testing of water and environmental swabbing I am shot down with a well we got by before without it so I don’t think we need it now and I was flat out told we will not be testing the flume water used for transporting the potatoes. I am not really sure how to handle this and get not only my boss who is general manager but some of the plant managers (we have 3 plants) to understand that food safety is just as important as the sales team. I am the first person to take on this role with this company so this is all very new to the managers and employees. I have a feeling I was only brought on because they had to. Each time I am shot down or told we are not doing something I think of the cantaloupe and Listeria and that they had audits done and everything seemed right but obviously was not…I can’t help but wonder what lurks in our plants.


We store, wash, and pack fresh potatoes. They are transported from storage in a flume system.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!!

Thank you!



shea quay

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:37 PM

Need to know more about your backround; is this your first job out of college? Have you just done a course that highlighted this issue? Or are you trading down from a high risk position? From my perspective (as a possible customer), I trust your boss from historical evidence (unless there is a trend that has highlighted this as an issue to you). Possibly, you are as long in this game as I am, and possibly some new technology such as fracking has spooked you with regards the purity of your water. In my experience (or as the kids say, and to add some gravitas to this post, IMEX), put your findings in an email, bcc your own address, and let it go. If the Company have always done this, and no auditor has highlighted the issue, then maybe it isn't an issue (to be fair, I think it may be). Do some investigation on the quiet so that if it is ever raised as a non-conformance you have the info and the scientific evidence to back it up and close it out within 28 days. Don't let a single issue such as this blind you to the bigger picture of food quality. Take it from a bitter, bitter pro, these things can eat up the subconscious and blind you to the more obvious problems.
And hey, I'm Irish! What can ever go wrong with potatoes!



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Charles.C

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:05 AM

Dear shea quay,

This earlier post may answer yr initial queries -
http://www.ifsqn.com...dpost__p__56096

@kbjorn,

Sadly, yr experiences are not so rare in the QA business. "Necessary evil" is a typical phraseology in some earlier threads on this forum. :smile:

Yr comment indicating zero accessibility (or records?) to any previous process experiences, good or bad, would be a definite warning signal IMO. I suggest you consider the possibility that yr unofficial role may well be "Designated Fall-Guy".

As SQ patriotically mentions, i think that whole potatoes have a pretty good historical FS pattern however watching one's back is simply GQAP. Or investing in some Kevlar. :smile:

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


kbjorn

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 03:35 PM

Thank you both for your feedback. This is not my first experience in the professional world however this is my first experience with a boss like this. I have worked with a very wide range of personalities and some very colorful, I myself am out spoken and I find myself biting my tongue more than once a day (unless I am left alone at my desk to work without interruptions).

I did find some information to back me up on the swabbing but he will not budge on the water even though I also showed proof as to why we needed to do it even though the city does.

I have to agree Charles I do believe I am the “fall guy” and that just doesn’t sit well with me and I will not have it either. Before I was hired I was lead to believe that there was a quality program in place it just needed heading because the GM no longer had the time to put into it that was needed for the higher certifications the company wanted. I was very shocked my first day to find there was no program. My boss wants to do a PrimusGFS audit come December and pushed me to apply for it, we are not ready what so ever, I expressed my concerns but I was not heard. So I will just do what I can and hope for the best while keeping my options open.

I also agree the risks with potatoes is very low but I do want to cover my basis just in case, you never know what could happen, anything is possible.
Thanks again guys for the feedback, it has been a very frustrating few months. :bye:





D-D

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 05:16 PM

Do you have customer audits? I always found them to be very helpful and if you have a good interaction with them you can get them to list the things you want done in their reports. They must be followed up and corrected so if your boss chooses to ignore them as well it will confirm the issues you have. On the other hand they might tell you everything is fine...!?



kbjorn

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 07:06 PM

Thanks D-D I will keep that in mind,



BAC

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:48 PM

Sometimes you have to let them fail before they will change. You cannot always take this as a personal reflection on your performance.

Guide a 3rd party auditor to what you want to change and ask them to put it on a report. It works every time, and you won't fail the audit if you are forthcoming.



Urban Explorer

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:55 PM

Anyone in QA feels your pain! It is a thankless job that no one else wants to do or take responsibility for. Honestly, if you are not seeing any support from your company and it is making you uneasy, then I'd start looking for a new job. There is no point in tearing your hair out over something they care nothing about. You are going to be the fall guy/gal.

Because 99.9% of people cook their potatoes before they eat them, the enviros may not be as important as on fresh fruits or veg that are consumed raw. That's what my old buddy the USDA inspector said anyway. However, it never, ever hurts to test. Being ignorant of potential issues is completely irresponsible of your boss and company. I applaud you for taking on this role and attempting a change. It is an extremely slow process that will be met with significant resistance at each step.

I am very fortunate that my boss is an awesome guy who backs up everything I say and do. If I didn't have him, I wouldn't even be at this place right now. When I first started last year and started SQF prep, you should have heard the production employees whining over me changing a worksheet. Really. But they moan and gripe and get over it eventually.

Do they give you any free license to do testing? Such as purchasing test kits or requesting them from a local lab?





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