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Posted 09 July 2015 - 10:37 AM

Hi guys,

You've been extremely helpful thus far, and I just wanted to extend a question in hopes someone here will be able to assist me.


I guess I'm in an odd position. I'm great at technical, IT, and related problems. I ended up partially involved in the food safety side due to helping our HACCP officer with document generation. He isn't great on the PC side, so I did proof reading and generated some of the more interesting flow charts, etc.


Now, as a result of this I'm often asked to make COAs, data sheets, and product specifications. My only problem is I'm not entirely sure how these documents differ from one another? If a customer requests a COA, how is that COA meant to differ from a product spec? Can anyone enlighten me? I've asked the HACCP officer, but he actually isn't quite sure himself.


I've attached a "template" of what I've been using as our product specification sheet. We don't really have a lab to run any kind of tests. I often see some COAs describe moisture tests, etc. Would we be required to get third party to test this, or possibly even buy our own equipment? I've currently just shown that we do some visual inspection. A sample of all produced product is also tested internally in our own test bakery (we produce premix), so perhaps I could list feedback from the test bakery on our COA? 


I'm also curious regarding ingredient declaration. I'm putting this on our product labels and product specs. I'm trying to improve how we do this, mainly, I thought one method might be to include the E numbers. I.e. Calcium Carbonate (E300) instead of simply putting Calcium Carbonate. Does this ACTUALLY provide any benefit or am I wasting my time going through the extra effort?

Lastly, regarding declaring ingredients I often run into a problem of my bosses wanting to maintain a blend of openness and confidentiality. Rather than declare the exact enzymes used, for instance, we will simply state "Enzymes". Is this acceptable? If so, how do you determine which ingredients you HAVE to declare and which can be kept "secret" under a general banner like "Flavourants" or "Enzymes"? Is there a set rule?


(Sorry for the stupid questions, guys. I sadly have no background in food technology and I would just like to know I'm somewhere on the right track with these things)

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 10:47 AM

Bah. Sorry.

I just noticed I stuffed up the E number for Calcium Carbonate. Ignore that! xD


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Posted 09 July 2015 - 03:01 PM

Hi Jeronkey,


A product specification defines what the product should be in terms of what the customer is specifically after. This might include target micro analyses, density, colour etc. It will have target values with tolerances.


A CofA confirms that it conforms to the spec with actual measured values. If the spec has nothing to test against, then you cannot issue a CofA, but you might issue a Certificate of Conformance (CofC) to warranty that the product is "good".

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McMillan Alex L. Manda

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 06:02 PM

Please guide me, we have a metal detector is installed in our processing systesm and is a CCP. We need to put minimum limit for detection, what is a recognised limit that we can use? iam wondering the test kit that are below 1.8mm do not have high detection that could enable alarm to go. Will it be unreasonable if we put >2mm as lowest limit for detection? Is there a specific guide for setting metatl detector limits? please assist.



Madam A. D-tor

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 08:51 AM

Dear Jeronkey,


I love your story. I know a few ICT-people that made the switch from ICT to QA. They actually make very good QA managers, due to the fact that they can think analytical.

I love the way how you are searching for more information to improve yourself and your company. I suppose the HACCP coordinator is not doing this, because he is not good with computers.


Brummy Jim describes very well the differences between specification and CoA and CoC.

Specifications = what you declare to your customer that you are supplying;

CoA = certificate of analyse = the analyse resultst for a specific batch that you are selling. CoA is always for one batch/ one supply and refers to parameters in the specification. E.g. if you had in your specification that moisture is 72-75%, than the CoA will state the moisture of that specific batch/supply.CoA need to be supported by analyse report by (preferable) accredited external or internal laboratory.

CoC: certificate of conformity = something like a CoA, but for the not measurable things. More like a statement/declaration. You can declare that the products have been sieved with that and that mesh, that metal detection was conducted with sensitivity of XX or that the colour agrees to your own internal standards, etc.. CoC are also used to declare that the production method used or the products themselves comply to legal requirements. E.g. the CoC, that packaging suppliers provide, stating that the products comply with FDA regulation or EG legislation (10/2011)

Both a CoA and CoC should refer to the batch supplied (lotcode, production date, delivery date, whatever you are using)


The benefit of naming both the E number and the ingredient name, depends on your region. Here in Northern Europe, consumers do not like the E-numbers, so producers are naming them with their original name or even skipping them from the recipe (clean label policy). I do not know what the perception is in your region and assumable you are B2B, so that may be different too.


If it is allowed to only declare the group of ingredients, instead of the ingredients itself, should be documented somewhere in legislation.

Unfortunately I am not familiar with the legislation in SA. In Europe The legislation for labeling has recently changed. But, as far as I know spices, aromas, vegetable oils do not have to be specified any further as long as there are no allergens in their.


Succes and good luck.

Kind Regards,

Madam A. D-tor

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