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Is there a situation where this would be ok?


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ladytygrr

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 07:25 PM

I've drafted the letter below to my boss. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to improve on it?

 

Boss,

 

While I know we're scheduled to revisit this on Monday, I need to lay out my concerns because this is weighing on my mind heavily. It is important to me to share my concerns with you directly in the event further discussion with other individuals within The Company is warranted.
 
Thinking about the email you sent me detailing the issues that mice bring with them in their urine and droppings and the fact that this is why you don't want employees to handle the mouse traps, I just cannot think of a single reason why anyone would approve this being used in our product. 
 
We have no way to prove or document that the remaining protein powder is safe. How do we know the mouse hasn't burrowed through the entire bag or left urine or droppings in an area of the protein we don't "isolate"? Also, mice are known to carry and transmit both listeria and salmonella - two very dangerous sources of food poisoning and worse. 
 
In light of the fact that we chose not to use the cocoa powder that burst open even though it was not a result of rodent infestation but are choosing to use the pea protein is an additional concern. These situations are generally governed by risk assessments for each situation that occurs; to that end, a risk assessment of the cocoa powder would have yielded a low risk outcome while a risk assessment of the pea protein yields a very high risk outcome. Considering the infested pea protein is now high risk, I look at this situation and feel that if we use it we are now operating at the level of the individuals at the Peanut Corporation of America who knowingly chose to use tainted ingredients. 
 
Choosing to use this eaten through protein powder is a serious food safety violation; I am uncomfortable with the idea that this has happened in the past and want to make it very clear that I disagree with the idea it would be used and not disposed of and will not put my name on any of the documents that say we are releasing this ingredient into production. 

Once in a while you get shown the light, in the darkest of places if you look at it right. -Grateful Dead

 


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qalearner

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 07:36 PM

I read your draft and it looks good. If you are feeling like 'window-dressing' is this the place to mention it? To bring up that the company hired for a Quality position to ensure food safety is a number 1 priority and if that is the case, why is such a thing being considered? 



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ladytygrr

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 07:39 PM

I read your draft and it looks good. If you are feeling like 'window-dressing' is this the place to mention it? To bring up that the company hired for a Quality position to ensure food safety is a number 1 priority and if that is the case, why is such a thing being considered? 

Thanks, QA Learner.

Today I've learned that the decision to use exposed product in the past has been made exclusively by upperest management, as I've been calling them - AKA ownership.

I am anticipating this going up the ladder so am saving that for right now and trying to really stick to the urgent issue at hand. I am preparing myself for the "why did you hire me?" discussion (which was the title of a fantastic blog post here but I can't remember who wrote it) when things have calmed down a bit. 

Of course, if this goes the full distance, I may not have to worry about that discussion! 


Once in a while you get shown the light, in the darkest of places if you look at it right. -Grateful Dead

 


RMAV

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 09:23 PM

Just my $.02, I would take out anything that could be misconstrued or taken as inflammatory.  The seriousness of this issue certainly warrants a firm stand and I think you can do that sticking to fact-based concern for the product and consumers.  Have you been opposed yet on this specific issue?  If not, I would write as though your audience (the boss in this case) is on your side.

 

When I've written expecting to face opposition from superiors, I've made two or three drafts and fine-tuned the best one.  Write it like they're on your side and write in such a way that they have nowhere to wiggle but to agree.

 

Again, I'm no expert so if the advice is not advisable or gets bad results, I'll give you a full refund. ;-)



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Charles.C

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 04:54 AM

Hi Emily,

 

Unfortunately little is known about the Management Structure / Operating Style / Product Sensitivity of yr Company which IMO makes the prediction of any reaction to yr draft rather difficult.

Offhand i found the speculations in yr draft reasonable but i fear their impact will be limited without some direct evidence of similar events/consequences/official responses. One possible Boss response may simply be that the action noted in yr OP has "worked" before. (Frequently ??).

 

To my mind, yr defect is likely a case of either a failed/ignored CCP or a failed Prerequisite/GMP. Either should have a validatable / documentable Corrective Action. For starters, Post 16 seemed a reasonable example to me of an official response which is presumably documented somewhere ? Lot codes might also be relevant.

 

Or is the problem that topics like GMP, HACCP, Root Cause, Documentation are a foreign language in this factory ?. if so, you may be in for a really long struggle.

 

PS - after posting this i noticed yr last post. i deduce the draft has been "shelved".


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


ladytygrr

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 12:34 PM

Charles,

 

Thank you for your input. The information I received yesterday is that ownership (the level above my boss, the Ops Mgr) had previously ruled that a situation like this is not a "big risk" and that the ingredient could safely be separated into "infiltrated" and "safe". Again, this was before I started. I am starting with my boss because he told me he was on the same page as I but was overruled. He's been in food for 25+ years - why he didn't take a stand, I don't know. I am trying to follow the chain of command, even though the decision did not previously lie with him.

 

He will either agree with me and make an executive decision or he'll take it up the chain himself. I've gotten confirmation from our Production Supervisor that he'll let me know if he's told to use that bag. (In the meantime, during some deep cleaning yesterday, we found 3 bags of a different ingredient (flax seed) that had been chewed through. I put those on QA Hold as well.) I've already given my husband a heads up that I will take the whistle blower stance if forced to do so and I've obviously got his support. I'm prepared to challenge ownership, if necessary, by laying out the risks. It also turns out that the sister in law of my coworker lost a baby while she was 6 months along as a direct result of listeria poisoning from something she ate. I plan on providing that as an anonymous example of just one of the risks we run if ownership chooses to use these infested ingredients.

 

At this point, I've gone ahead and sent the letter. It may not be perfect but I needed to get it out there so I could have the peace of mind that I've taken the first step to showing my disagreement with an overview of my reasons why which I am hoping will spur deeper conversation. 

 

Have a great weekend, Charles, and the rest of you.

 

Take care,

 

~Em~


Once in a while you get shown the light, in the darkest of places if you look at it right. -Grateful Dead

 


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Setanta

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 12:36 PM

I wish you nothing but the best!   Please keep us posted!


-Setanta         

 

 

 


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Plastic Ducky

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 04:55 PM

I once worked at a food manufacturing facility that made Kolaches. After working there for about seven months one day I  found workers putting hot dogs that were speckled in a black mildew (due to a failure in FIFO rotation) in to large tubs of water and adding bleach. I hit the ceiling. They informed me it was "how they had always been told to do it by management". I spoke with my superior and voiced my opinion and for the first time realized how little they respected it. I realized how small my voice was. It made me sad that I was no longer providing the public with a safe and yummy treat. A treat that people wake up and eat to feel good and make themselves happy and start their day off in a good way as they venture out to face the world.  I went home that day and looked for another job and found one within a month and left that place.

 

 

Worst part is......

 

 

It ruined Kolaches for me. I haven't eaten one since....



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Clemkonan

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 06:22 PM

Please remember that how you deal with this incident may very well define your future, please see it as an "opportunity " not as a "storm cloud".  Lets assume your boss's name is Frank you can " cut and run" but you will face Frank  repeatedly in your future as " George", "Sandy" maybe even a spouse. As I stated before be brief and to the point, do a responsible food safety assessment , you are the technical expert  tell them what the risks are and how you recommend that they solve it. In your role you are a "change agent" and driving change is one of the post difficult challenges you will face in your career.  Stay on , these things usually take time and practice, try to get  even a small win and build from there.

 

At a minimum you should have a non conformance documented and the fall out from this will be how correction and corrective action was addressed. Be blessed.



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Posted 04 October 2015 - 08:28 AM

Please remember culture and how it resists your attempts to change.Culture either helps or hinders change.By understanding your culture, you will have a greater chance of making real change stick, because you will be able to see what it is about your culture that either supports or resists your attempts to change.where the culture resists change, inertia will creep in and resistance - or worse still, efforts to purposely derail change - will perpetuate the inertia, and so on and so on.

There are many possible ways to understand something as difficult and nebulous as your company culture.A number of tools are available which help to 'benchmark' aspects of an organizational culture. One such approach to understand how culture affects openness to change is to use the ''Inclusion, control and openness cycle'', based on the thinking that underpins the psychological instrument Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO-B).

 

Maurice.



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Clemkonan

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Posted 05 October 2015 - 12:50 PM

Sound advice Maurice, where can we get a fundamental introduction to FIRO-B?



ladytygrr

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Posted 05 October 2015 - 12:59 PM

Please remember culture and how it resists your attempts to change.Culture either helps or hinders change.By understanding your culture, you will have a greater chance of making real change stick, because you will be able to see what it is about your culture that either supports or resists your attempts to change.where the culture resists change, inertia will creep in and resistance - or worse still, efforts to purposely derail change - will perpetuate the inertia, and so on and so on.

There are many possible ways to understand something as difficult and nebulous as your company culture.A number of tools are available which help to 'benchmark' aspects of an organizational culture. One such approach to understand how culture affects openness to change is to use the ''Inclusion, control and openness cycle'', based on the thinking that underpins the psychological instrument Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO-B).

 

Maurice.

Thank you for the advice and suggestion, Maurice.

I read up on the FIRO-B a bit and see it's from Myers-Briggs which is a fairly well known test organization with much of their work centered around the teachings of Carl Jung. 

Depending on how all of this shakes out, I may suggest that we have these evaluations done within management here. Ha! I just realized that, with the exception of 1 person, everybody who ISN'T on our floor crew is technically a "manager". Office Space, anyone?  :silly:


Once in a while you get shown the light, in the darkest of places if you look at it right. -Grateful Dead

 


ladytygrr

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Posted 05 October 2015 - 07:03 PM

Hi everyone,  :bye:

 

I have great news: I sent the email to my boss last week and met with him in person today. He is in agreement with me and made the decision to throw out all 4 bags of infested product. YAY!!!   :happydance:

 

So many, many thanks to all of you for your support, kind words, and shared wisdom. I've known pretty much from day 1 this is the place to come for honest feedback and insight and you all proved me right.

 

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!   :clap:

~Emily~


Once in a while you get shown the light, in the darkest of places if you look at it right. -Grateful Dead

 


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brianweber

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Posted 05 October 2015 - 07:32 PM

Way to stick to your guns Emily!! Very happy for you! :happydance:


Brian


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Clemkonan

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Posted 05 October 2015 - 08:20 PM

Emily when I started 35 years ago I would have loved to have a source like this in particular the post from Maurice. I still plan to investigate that body of knowledge because even now I have to pay the role of change agent and its tough.

Congratulations from Canada



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Posted 05 October 2015 - 09:12 PM

Glad it all worked out for you Emily.

 

Regards,

Simon


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Charles.C

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Posted 05 October 2015 - 09:14 PM

Sound advice Maurice, where can we get a fundamental introduction to FIRO-B?

 

Hi Clemkonan,

 

https://en.wikipedia...ons_orientation

 

Looks like Son of Freud.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


Setanta

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 12:11 PM

YAY Emily!  I am pleased that they ended up doing the right thing!  You are a rock star! 


-Setanta         

 

 

 





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