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New Job New Role 1st day issues - need some advice please


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#1 DavidAR

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 08:39 PM

Just started a new role as a QA supervisor, is a small ex family run business which has got BRC accreditation.

 

On my 1st day I noted immediately that one of my QA has lost a metal detection stick and no corrective action has occurred. Everyone is turning a blind eye and I have bent over backwards to find it or trace it and it seems a lost cause with only one conclusion with 2 possible out comes

 

1st its been lost on floor or thrown in bin by agency staff cleaning up  or..

2 it has ended up in a clients product box :(

 

The piece in question is 3.0 stainless (304) and they are using 3.0 ferrous /non ferrous to which all reject.

I have used a 4.0 stainless and MD is working fine but doesn't answer where the other stick is and I guess it will turn up either In product or planet of the lost strips...

 

Any case I need to get a replacement stick and retrain staff to a new procedure im going to write but need to know a few things..

 

Am I right in thinking each stick should come with a certificate of conformity?

 

if using a 4.0 stick works and the machine was set up for 3.0 across the board mean its working and I can rest easy in thinking food produced is safe?

 

do I need to annually have test pieces calibrated externally?

 

 

 

 

2nd issue noted on my 1st day is to do with scales...

the paperwork shows that there is 5 sets of scales that they check each day (table top versions)

and that this is being done using waits provided. However they have floor scales labled scale set 7

 

1st thing I tried to find was scale 6 which doesn't exist apparently and im told they have never checked accuracy of the floor scales because they are used for waste..

 

Should they be testing these like every other scale? which I think they should be?

Does it matter which weights are used to test the accuracy on diferent scales or is there some kind of guide for say scales weighing 0 to 1000g use weights 10g 20g 50g etc, and scales weighing from 0 to 6kg should use weights 500g , 1kg 2.5 etc?

 

A lot of issues paperwork wise on my 1st day but getting these base issues corrected will hopefully get the department on right track with there measuring systems....



#2 Slab

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 10:01 PM

 

 

Just started a new role as a QA supervisor, is a small ex family run business which has got BRC accreditation.

 
On my 1st day I noted immediately that one of my QA has lost a metal detection stick and no corrective action has occurred. Everyone is turning a blind eye and I have bent over backwards to find it or trace it and it seems a lost cause with only one conclusion with 2 possible out comes
 
1st its been lost on floor or thrown in bin by agency staff cleaning up  or..
2 it has ended up in a clients product box :(
 
The piece in question is 3.0 stainless (304) and they are using 3.0 ferrous /non ferrous to which all reject.
I have used a 4.0 stainless and MD is working fine but doesn't answer where the other stick is and I guess it will turn up either In product or planet of the lost strips...
 
Any case I need to get a replacement stick and retrain staff to a new procedure im going to write but need to know a few things..
 
Am I right in thinking each stick should come with a certificate of conformity?
 
if using a 4.0 stick works and the machine was set up for 3.0 across the board mean its working and I can rest easy in thinking food produced is safe?
 
do I need to annually have test pieces calibrated externally?
 
 
 
 
2nd issue noted on my 1st day is to do with scales...
the paperwork shows that there is 5 sets of scales that they check each day (table top versions)
and that this is being done using waits provided. However they have floor scales labled scale set 7
 
1st thing I tried to find was scale 6 which doesn't exist apparently and im told they have never checked accuracy of the floor scales because they are used for waste..
 
Should they be testing these like every other scale? which I think they should be?
Does it matter which weights are used to test the accuracy on diferent scales or is there some kind of guide for say scales weighing 0 to 1000g use weights 10g 20g 50g etc, and scales weighing from 0 to 6kg should use weights 500g , 1kg 2.5 etc?
 
A lot of issues paperwork wise on my 1st day but getting these base issues corrected will hopefully get the department on right track with there measuring systems....  
 

 

 

 
Hi, David;
 
That's a really bad first day... And I'm a bit concerned for the "turning a blind eye" attitude you describe.
 
Effectively the test stick is now a foreign body.  What exactly does your company's policy state about recovery?  
Product logged after last check with said lost standard needs to be quarantined and retested until the stick is recovered.  You do not want your customer finding this.
 
Staff definitely needs to be retrained (or better yet, replaced in a timely manner).
MD sensitivity is based on product setup and standards used.  Normally, differing metals are sequential in size for MD; FE small, NFE medium, SS large (IIRC FE 1.5 x the for next i.e FE 1.5 = NFE 2.25 = SS 3.4 ).  Standards should not be of all of equal size as this has very little challenge for a proper setup.
 
If you're checking a setup on a 4.0 mm ss (specifically what alloy?) then it's unlikely the MD will detect a 3.0 mm SS (again what alloy?) What specifically does your SOP call for?
Standards can be purchased with or without a COC.    
Your MD supplier can better inform you of annual services.  
 
Scales on the production floor should be considered for commerce only, and hence follow regulation.  Take a gander at basic metrology.
 
Scales should be checked and used to within an effective range of their service.  A 300 lb scale should not be checked against an 8 oz standard nor used in that range.  If that same scale is used only for a 20 lb working range, then an equal standard should be used to to check it's calibration.


[edit]
 
Lost the quote tags somehow. 

Edited by Slab, 26 February 2014 - 08:05 PM.

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#3 Snookie

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 10:46 PM

The sizes used for your metal detector are normally determined by your packaging, product, industry standards, machine capabilities and customer requirements.  Without more information it is hard to determine if your wand sizes are correct for your product and processes.  You will most likely need help from the maker of your equipment and the industry standards for the product you make.   Slab is right generally speaking your sizing is different. With the Fe being the smallest size (its the easiest to detect) your non-Fe is the middle size and SS being the largest as it is the hardest to detect. 

 

I am not a BRC expert, but believe the BRC requires traceability of the wand to a standard, which is often a COC. 

 

On the scale issue, I am a bit OCD so I like to calibrate everything.  However, if your waste is important for tracking purposes in the event of a recall then of course you want an accurate weight. 

 

When calibrating scales you generally want to start at slightly below the lightest weight you would use on the scale, the highest weight and the mid range.  For example you sell packages of 2 kilos, 4 kilos and 6 kilos.  You check your scales at 1, 5 and 8 kilos for example. If you are testing in large weight such as tonnage the process is a bit different to valid scales. 

 

Hang in there, first days can be tough but you'll get them in shape in no time.   


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#4 Charles.C

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 11:19 PM

Dear DavidAR,

 

The previous post offers details of yr likely existing difficulties with respect to yr unknown haccp program.

 

Here is my opinion of a likely BRC  auditor’s viewpoint  which  includes a few typical (haccp) assumptions.

 

Am I right in thinking each stick should come with a certificate of conformity?

Yes so as to assure its having been validated.

if using a 4.0 stick works and the machine was set up for 3.0 across the board mean its working and I can rest easy in thinking food produced is safe?

No since you have experienced (and still are) a failure in a critical limit without implementing an appropriate  corrective action, ( assumes  you have not revalidated yr haccp program / critical limit was 3mm/stainless)

do I need to annually have test pieces calibrated externally?

No.Unless you have reason to suspect damage has occurred.

 

Should they be testing these like every other scale? which I think they should be?

Yes. Its called calibration and BRC expects you to have a  SOP for this.

Does it matter which weights are used to test the accuracy on diferent scales or is there some kind of guide for say scales weighing 0 to 1000g use weights 10g 20g 50g etc, and scales weighing from 0 to 6kg should use weights 500g , 1kg 2.5 etc?

Yes it does, and yes there are “accuracy” guidelines which are likely to depend on yr specific usage / balance performance characteristics, eg a tolerable error. The tolerable errror /  (certified) weights   should be stated in yr calibration SOP.

 

Rgds / Charles.C

 

PS posted before i saw Snookie's input. :smile:


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#5 DavidAR

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 06:49 AM

Thank you very much for the replies, it has confirmed what I already have experienced as a normal QA and having read this I need to get to the nuts and bolts of this situation quickly.

 

To answer a few points above the metal stick that went missing was end of previous week where I was not even employed yet:/ The QA's seem to be carrying sticks in a bag from one line to the next albeit only 2 MD on site currently the main having a huge apperature as the boxes contain 30kg of dry noodles and the other is a lot smaller and passed through it 2kg packages...

 

I had a look at the haccp plan and sops regarding all of the above to which I could find on their system and it was very basic and in my opinion very vague...

 

Haccp and MD procedures all saying they use 3.0 everything the stainless steel being of the 304 annealed type and this gets me thinking why if theres a 316 stainless do we not include this as well?

 

As for scales the weights used for scales seem appropriate given there weight ranges and what they measure too but I have yet to find a folder with certificate of conformity for the actual weights them selves which are used to check the scales daily..

 

Doesn't help that the Qa I have are also new since October last year...



#6 cazyncymru

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:41 AM

Hi DavidAR

 

Theoretically, if you have 2 metal detectors then you should have 2 sets of test pieces (get a spare set so that if something does happen)

You can buy them from a number of sources, just ask for a certificate when you purchase them. I use GMP and replace mine annually (bit OCD I know) I also always stipulate SS at grade 316. As part of your validation (!), you should have addressed which test sizes you are using and why. If you can't find any validation information, then I suggest you do one yourself. If you need help, give me a shout.. Also, I'd check to see when the metal detectors were last calibrated / serviced. Just for your own piece of mind.

 

If Scale 7 is labelled up "for weighting waste only" (which I hope it is, so that WIP / finished product doesn't get weighted on it!) then I don't see WHY it HAS to be calibrated, but it would be good GMP to ensure that it is. Again, your scales should be calibrated externally. Speak to the technician who calibrates the scales and ask their advice.

 

There are also some very good White papers available that you can reference. Safefood 360 have some very good examples.

 

Good luck!

 

Caz x



#7 Slab

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:00 PM


Haccp and MD procedures all saying they use 3.0 everything the stainless steel being of the 304 annealed type and this gets me thinking why if theres a 316 stainless do we not include this as well?

 

 

 

 

HACCP plan needs to be updated with a risk assessment. Look at what the main alloy being used in the facility is and probability of inclusion with finished product.  Normally it's a 316, but could very easily be 304, 430, or 440.  The manufacturer will be able to tell you within a minute (or maintenance team).

 

 

As for scales the weights used for scales seem appropriate given there weight ranges and what they measure too but I have yet to find a folder with certificate of conformity for the actual weights them selves which are used to check the scales daily..

 

 

 

NIST traceability is extremely expensive for standards.  A COC from a vendor and traceability are often two separate organisms.  Proof your scales daily with what we should call an "analog" ("standard to scale" to "standard to scale" comparison) with an inspection date/inspection due date label fixed to each scale from your service contractor that corresponds to SOP and is logged on a register. File at a minimum a COC for the standards.  Of course regional regs apply for legal commerce.

 

Doesn't help that the Qa I have are also new since October last year...

 

 

I apologize for my first response.  Hopefully your new staff is hungry for excellence and change!  They seem rather new to the process so it shouldn't be too difficult for them to adapt to rapid changes.

 

 

 

 

 

 


If Scale 7 is labelled up "for weighting waste only" (which I hope it is, so that WIP / finished product doesn't get weighted on it!) then I don't see WHY it HAS to be calibrated, but it would be good GMP to ensure that it is. Again, your scales should be calibrated externally. Speak to the technician who calibrates the scales and ask their advice.

 

 

 

 

I thought of this as well.  Perhaps it would be best if this scale is floor fixed?  I'm getting the heeby jeebies thinking about a mobile scale used to log waste... 

 

 

 


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#8 Alan Johnson

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:50 AM

Hi David,

 

I'm involved with the manufacture of metal detection equipment so can only answer the section below.

 

Any case I need to get a replacement stick and retrain staff to a new procedure I’m going to write but need to know a few things..

Am I right in thinking each stick should come with a certificate of conformity?  You can ask for one when you order a stick, they do not normally get issued retrospectively. 

if using a 4.0 stick works and the machine was set up for 3.0 across the board mean its working and I can rest easy in thinking food produced is safe?  Not necessarily, stainless steel is nearly always more difficult to detect than ferrous and non ferrous metal, especially if the product is wet and salty, for example a ready meal with meat and sauce.  All you can say is that it detects 4.0mm and above unless you obtain a 3.0mm stick and run it through to verify.   If it does detect then (assuming the product settings on the metal detector have not been changed) there is a strong likelihood it would have been detected and rejected.   This does not however mean 100% that it has not gone out of the factory in a product.

Do I need to annually have test pieces calibrated externally?  No, as they are embedded in a plastic strip and verified as conforming to size and material (the certificate) nothing should change.

Best regards

Alan

 

 

 

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#9 Charles.C

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 01:56 PM

Dear DavidAR,

 

A short  addendum to previous nice post from Alan.

There are several discussions on choice/documentation details of metal detector test pieces on this forum.

 

From memory, the typical conclusion is that a standard, same size, 304SS test piece/sphere  is more easy to detect than 316SS which is a "pro" for using 316. However if yr risk assessment is "definite" that there is in fact no likelihood of contamination by 316 vis-a-vis 304, that is a "con" for 316. i think most people, eg myself, simply hope to avoid auditor haccp arguments and use 316 anyway. (i don't remember if it's more expensive). IMEX it is also the usual choice in product specifications.

 

(added) - for example -

http://www.foodprodu...eatedequal.aspx

 

However also see this more detailed (!) post (et seq.) -

http://www.ifsqn.com...tor/#entry54792

 

As far as scales for waste goes i can think of 2 easy possibilities for calibration -

(a) yr SOP states all scales are calibrated (I think BRC used to say for "critical" legality purposes only but I suspect now general {or RA based] ).

(b) IMEX a lot of waste is sold. And not for bitcoins. :smile:

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#10 DavidAR

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 06:15 AM

Hi David,

 

I'm involved with the manufacture of metal detection equipment so can only answer the section below.

 

Any case I need to get a replacement stick and retrain staff to a new procedure I’m going to write but need to know a few things..

Am I right in thinking each stick should come with a certificate of conformity?  You can ask for one when you order a stick, they do not normally get issued retrospectively. 

if using a 4.0 stick works and the machine was set up for 3.0 across the board mean its working and I can rest easy in thinking food produced is safe?  Not necessarily, stainless steel is nearly always more difficult to detect than ferrous and non ferrous metal, especially if the product is wet and salty, for example a ready meal with meat and sauce.  All you can say is that it detects 4.0mm and above unless you obtain a 3.0mm stick and run it through to verify.   If it does detect then (assuming the product settings on the metal detector have not been changed) there is a strong likelihood it would have been detected and rejected.   This does not however mean 100% that it has not gone out of the factory in a product.

Do I need to annually have test pieces calibrated externally?  No, as they are embedded in a plastic strip and verified as conforming to size and material (the certificate) nothing should change.

Best regards

Alan

 

 

Thank you for reply, for a little more info on this situation I thought best to clarify a few things....

 

1st they have 2 sets of detectors the 1st has huge clearance or apperature I think its called? to allow large boxes to pass through roughly the size of computer tower case. and obviously as wide to allow >10kg boxes to pass through the product passing through is always the same its a dry noodle like what you find in a pot noodle.. this detector uses 3.0 ferrous, 3.non ferrous and 3.0 annealed stainless  sticks.

 

The other detector is slightly smaller in width but has roughly the same height, however this machine has small packs being passed through it around 20cm wide by 150cm in length by 15 cm height. this product is also dry and is a pastry sheet.

It uses the same metal detector sticks with the exception to stainless..i noted this Friday that it uses a 4.0 stick on this machine however its not mentioned in any procedure or haccp plan it all says 3.0.......

 

just so you aware I have ordered  2 new sets of sticks as well as a replacement for the one that was lost. I have drafted a new SOP to merge a number of documents that were out of date and insufficient to deal with the fact the system failed here on my 1st day lol...

Hopefully get this approved ASAP.....

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Scales:

 

I maybe wasn't very clear of the issue I faced on day 1 here..

Basically I hate mobile scales also.. they need to be fixed to location unless faulty or out of spec etc..

however what I found was that they had a daily check sheet that detailed scales  1- 5 to be checked daily using weights.....

at some point they were replaced or lost or what ever so I could only find scales with numbers on them ranging from 1 - 8.

there lies the issue I have obviously the scales need to be renumbered so to reflect the sheet with updated serial numbers to match but I was curious about scales No.7.... These scales are floor scales used for weighing pallets fixed in place and are used only for weighing waste. this is not on any document and as in above post I was unsure if they needed to be on a daily check like all scales..I think they do even if just for GMP sake?

 

with that in mind even NPD scales and office fridges etc don't appear on their daily checks either? so Qa's check factory fridges scales but not  office or npd equipment which I think is um bad...

 

As far as issues go for the 1st week this is merely the tip of the iceberg my other biggest headache at moment is hygiene but that's for another topic post another day lol






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