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Supplier Approval Program for a Distribution Company

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    Grade - MIFSQN

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 01:16 PM

HI Everyone, 

Im trying to put together a supplier approval program for a distribution company.

They are currently purchasing product from Farms, Processors, and also Distributors. 

For their current program they are requiring the following:


Product Specs

Letter of Guarantee

HACCP flowchart and CCP overview

Most recent 3rd party audit

G.A.P audit/ CQM certification (from farmers/ growers only)

COA for food packaging

Certificate of Insurance


I know what i need from the processors and other distributors, but as far as farms go, im not sure what i need and what standards they are being held too. I started looking through FSMA but wanted to see if anyone could give some recommendations. 


Im currently only reqesting the G.A.P audit/ CQM certifications from the farmers. 

are all farms audited against the GAP's? and for CQM, does every farm have someone certified? 

And are the G.A.P audit and CQM an equivalent of each other?


Thanks for the Help!




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Posted 19 February 2015 - 01:53 PM

Hi There:

This will be a challenge for you as, currently, most farms are not "required" to do anything.  Not even a GAP audit.  FSMA hasn't become a requirement yet either.  And if you source from a lot of small farms, it's even more likely that they aren't doing anything formal.  It's also very unlikely they have a CQM person.  If it's a small operation, you might have one guy or gal and their son or daughter doing it all. 


If you're new to your organization, I'd take a look at the history and who they've been sourcing from.  If your company's had a long history with particular farms and they've performed well, that itself can be the supplier approval.  You have to look at the risk of the products you're sourcing and also prior performance. 


It may be that you simply use agreed specifications.  For example, at my company we source fresh potatoes from many farms.  The very minimum specification we require is that the potatoes arrive free from field debris and decay and meet the grade we specify.  We also ask them to verify that they are using basic food safety practices such as good personnel practices, pest management, FIFO, preventive maintenance, sanitation, etc.  We "encourage" them to work toward a USDA GAP audit at minimum; and a GFSI audit ideally.  But, honestly, if it's a small operation, they aren't going to be willing to shoulder the cost of a formal audit until something like FSMA makes it a requirement.  And, if FSMA passes in it's current form, very small farms aren't going to have to comply anyway.  


You're going to have to educate yourself about your suppliers, their products and the risk level of those products.  I'd even suggest visiting the farms of your suppliers and do your own audit.  That also can stand as how you approve that operation as a supplier.


Hope some of this helps.



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