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#1 urbani

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 11:20 PM

We are a very small company with 5 full time people working in the business.  Is it feasible for us to attempt SQF Level 2 certification?  We are highly automated and therefore don't require a large staff.  We have extensive food science and microbiological safety knowledge among us, and basic HACCP knowledge.  Our plant is set up properly and meets the physical requirements, and we have our prerequisite program procedures and monitoring in place based on the canadian FSEP guidelines.  What should we think about when attempting SQF Level 2 certification with such a small workforce?  

 

Any suggestions on how to deal with things like the fact that we have grade level loading instead of dock loading?

 

How should we deal with HACCP team requirements and trained designate etc?  

 

Suggestions for best minimizing paperwork load?

 

We have automated temperature loggers on all coolers/freezers with notification/alarm when out of spec.  How can we "verify" these?  Should they be checked daily?  

 

Thanks in advance for all your help.  Hope I can help out on the forum when I have more knowledge.



#2 Oldairyman

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 11:54 PM

Oldschool, hello,

Most small companies , can't afford it for financial reasons . It appears you have a very qualified staff and would be able to understand the concepts of GFSI programs . Sometimes the bigger the company and more employees,.. always more room for human error, missed documents in pre-requisite programs ect.  I don't see many operations that miss the CCP or have a gapping hole in the HACCP Plan, but can happen .

Start by selecting a person to take the Practitioner course. (Implimenting SQF). With a 5 or 6 person staff the information can trickle down.  The hard part is having Policies, SOPs, Manuals , Registers, ... you might need a document person to set it up. After that your team just needs to maintain it .

PIck a firm if you have the means, SGS, NSF, AIB, Silliker, ..... they all have SQF training programs . Or find a consultant .

Jeff :rock:



#3 john123

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 04:00 PM

Our sister company (co-owned by our owners) is staffed only by two owners and one production employee, and we're on track for an SQF audit in July.  Looks like I'll be divided between both as a Quality Supervisor function, but that has yet to be determined as we upgrade their FS-QMS.  So the amount of employees isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as you document what each role is responsible for handling.  A thoughts responding to your questions:

 

"...basic HACCP knowledge."

Whomever you designate as your SQF practitioner must have a HACCP certification.  If that's what you meant, then you're good there.

 

"...we have grade level loading instead of dock loading?"

Grade level as in forklift is on the same surface as the trailer and can't drive inside?  Does that mean the truck enters your facility, or do you have to drive outside to load them?  Some method of preventing contamination would be required there, kind of a pain too...  (if it goes outside, do you stop loading when it rains/snows?)

 

"How should we deal with HACCP team requirements and trained designate etc?"

Deal with it by implementing one.  This can be as simple as documenting who handles your HACCP currently.  SQF is big on management commitment, so make sure you have a document that shows your HACCP Team is made up of various people (could be all 5 of you), and explain what is covered when you meet to review your HACCP.

 

"We have automated temperature loggers on all coolers/freezers with notification/alarm when out of spec.  How can we "verify" these?  Should they be checked daily?"

This gets a little bit above my realm of experience, but you should have a procedure to show that they are somehow monitored (especially if product is compromised by failure).  In our sister business, we deal with sterilization in a large chamber with various probes to monitor the heat.  Temps are recorded every minute, and everything happens automatically (machine heats up to required temp for required amount of time before shutdown).  An alarm/alert will sound if there is a problem.  But as a part of HACCP, someone still needs to review those logs and ensure things happened the way the are supposed to happen.  It's something the owner already does, but we are creating a document so he can sign off and prove he does it.  Which leads me to...

 

"Suggestions for best minimizing paperwork load?"

In the words of our SQF auditors (yes, two of them), "If it's not documented, it didn't happen."  Period, end of story.  In the pre-assessment we paid for, the consultant used the term "village knowledge", as in procedures or the way you do things that everyone simply knows and isn't really written down anywhere.  Village knowledge is bad.  Village knowledge can't be verified.  Village knowledge might differ from one person to another, and everyone might be trained to a different standard (because you can't prove the standard they were trained to).  As the auditors go through SQF Code, item by item, they'll ask you how you meet that requirement.  Take pest control, where you have someone monitor whatever traps you have setup.  He "knows" to go check the traps every Tuesday.  Great, now where's the procedure?  And where's the log to show what he discovered?  Not really a way to minimize paperwork, you need whatever is needed to meet the requirement.

 

Anyway, just some thoughts.  I'm not an expert but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express at once point.  haha



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#4 urbani

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 09:43 PM

Jeff, thank you for the reply.  We enjoy having a small team, but will be happier when we grow to 50 or 100+ employees in the future! :)  haha

 

 

 

John:

 

Our sister company (co-owned by our owners) is staffed only by two owners and one production employee, and we're on track for an SQF audit in July.  Looks like I'll be divided between both as a Quality Supervisor function, but that has yet to be determined as we upgrade their FS-QMS.  So the amount of employees isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as you document what each role is responsible for handling.  A thoughts responding to your questions:

 

"...basic HACCP knowledge."

Whomever you designate as your SQF practitioner must have a HACCP certification.  If that's what you meant, then you're good there.

Yes, I have taken HACCP courses and am currently doing  a food safety cert.  So that should help.

 

 

"...we have grade level loading instead of dock loading?"

Grade level as in forklift is on the same surface as the trailer and can't drive inside?  Does that mean the truck enters your facility, or do you have to drive outside to load them?  Some method of preventing contamination would be required there, kind of a pain too...  (if it goes outside, do you stop loading when it rains/snows?)

The truck does not enter our facility, but we move the forklift out a few feet to get the load off the truck, and bring it back into the facility.   We are looking to put an awning up above the bay door to account for the snow/rain. 

 

 

"How should we deal with HACCP team requirements and trained designate etc?"

Deal with it by implementing one.  This can be as simple as documenting who handles your HACCP currently.  SQF is big on management commitment, so make sure you have a document that shows your HACCP Team is made up of various people (could be all 5 of you), and explain what is covered when you meet to review your HACCP.

 

 

"We have automated temperature loggers on all coolers/freezers with notification/alarm when out of spec.  How can we "verify" these?  Should they be checked daily?"

This gets a little bit above my realm of experience, but you should have a procedure to show that they are somehow monitored (especially if product is compromised by failure).  In our sister business, we deal with sterilization in a large chamber with various probes to monitor the heat.  Temps are recorded every minute, and everything happens automatically (machine heats up to required temp for required amount of time before shutdown).  An alarm/alert will sound if there is a problem.  But as a part of HACCP, someone still needs to review those logs and ensure things happened the way the are supposed to happen.  It's something the owner already does, but we are creating a document so he can sign off and prove he does it.  Which leads me to...

Sometimes I get worried that the paperwork is going to become a fulltime job, and take away from actual production and other responsibilities.  It's not that I mind doing it, but that we are a family business and we all have every responsibility.  I'm hoping that printing the data sheets once per day and verifying and checking should be good, and daily checking the temps visually and marking it on  a sheet on the wall should suffice.

 

 

"Suggestions for best minimizing paperwork load?"

In the words of our SQF auditors (yes, two of them), "If it's not documented, it didn't happen."  Period, end of story.  In the pre-assessment we paid for, the consultant used the term "village knowledge", as in procedures or the way you do things that everyone simply knows and isn't really written down anywhere.  Village knowledge is bad.  Village knowledge can't be verified.  Village knowledge might differ from one person to another, and everyone might be trained to a different standard (because you can't prove the standard they were trained to).  As the auditors go through SQF Code, item by item, they'll ask you how you meet that requirement.  Take pest control, where you have someone monitor whatever traps you have setup.  He "knows" to go check the traps every Tuesday.  Great, now where's the procedure?  And where's the log to show what he discovered?  Not really a way to minimize paperwork, you need whatever is needed to meet the requirement.

This makes sense.  I like the "village knowledge" analogy.  Being a smaller family business, this is what it was like about 5 or so years ago.  We've been adapting and changing and evolving over the last few years.  

 

 

Anyway, just some thoughts.  I'm not an expert but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express at once point.  haha

 

 

Thanks again for the replies.

 

Jordan



#5 Charles.C

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 03:10 AM

Dear oldschool,

 

 

 

I presume this is an extension of yr parallel thread -

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...cts/#entry60891

 

The content seems sort of mismatched to that thread but never mind.

 

I have absolutely no idea what grade or deck loading means.

 

I congratulate you on implementing a consultant.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#6 HARPC

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 04:07 PM

John123,

   Well said.

 

Sincerely,

Bill



#7 tadelong

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 05:13 PM

"We have automated temperature loggers on all coolers/freezers with notification/alarm when out of spec.  How can we "verify" these?  Should they be checked daily?"

This gets a little bit above my realm of experience, but you should have a procedure to show that they are somehow monitored (especially if product is compromised by failure).  In our sister business, we deal with sterilization in a large chamber with various probes to monitor the heat.  Temps are recorded every minute, and everything happens automatically (machine heats up to required temp for required amount of time before shutdown).  An alarm/alert will sound if there is a problem.  But as a part of HACCP, someone still needs to review those logs and ensure things happened the way the are supposed to happen.  It's something the owner already does, but we are creating a document so he can sign off and prove he does it.  Which leads me to...

Sometimes I get worried that the paperwork is going to become a fulltime job, and take away from actual production and other responsibilities.  It's not that I mind doing it, but that we are a family business and we all have every responsibility.  I'm hoping that printing the data sheets once per day and verifying and checking should be good, and daily checking the temps visually and marking it on  a sheet on the wall should suffice.

 

 

We are also a small company, Oldschool, and I can tell you that your concerns are not invalid. It's been indicated to me that were I not doing our SQF plan there may have been little work for me this winter(in the off-season for the rest of the farm). I get yelled at routinely for 'wasting time' doing checks and paperwork while machines are running. I don't pay them any attention, mind, but it can take a long time before something like SQF can be seen as 'real work'. 

 In our cooler, we do a check of the temperature each day and write it down on a form. We check the thermometre monthly against a hygrometer, as well.



#8 urbani

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:51 PM

 

"We have automated temperature loggers on all coolers/freezers with notification/alarm when out of spec.  How can we "verify" these?  Should they be checked daily?"

This gets a little bit above my realm of experience, but you should have a procedure to show that they are somehow monitored (especially if product is compromised by failure).  In our sister business, we deal with sterilization in a large chamber with various probes to monitor the heat.  Temps are recorded every minute, and everything happens automatically (machine heats up to required temp for required amount of time before shutdown).  An alarm/alert will sound if there is a problem.  But as a part of HACCP, someone still needs to review those logs and ensure things happened the way the are supposed to happen.  It's something the owner already does, but we are creating a document so he can sign off and prove he does it.  Which leads me to...

Sometimes I get worried that the paperwork is going to become a fulltime job, and take away from actual production and other responsibilities.  It's not that I mind doing it, but that we are a family business and we all have every responsibility.  I'm hoping that printing the data sheets once per day and verifying and checking should be good, and daily checking the temps visually and marking it on  a sheet on the wall should suffice.

 

 

We are also a small company, Oldschool, and I can tell you that your concerns are not invalid. It's been indicated to me that were I not doing our SQF plan there may have been little work for me this winter(in the off-season for the rest of the farm). I get yelled at routinely for 'wasting time' doing checks and paperwork while machines are running. I don't pay them any attention, mind, but it can take a long time before something like SQF can be seen as 'real work'. 

 In our cooler, we do a check of the temperature each day and write it down on a form. We check the thermometre monthly against a hygrometer, as well.

 

 

Yes, it's tedious, and although I'm not at the stage you're at yet, with the few checks in place, it already seems to take up time.  I guess I just have to work harder, faster, better...?  haha






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