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FSVP Query. Questionable Supplier Response ?

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 06:27 PM

Hi, all -


Hope you can help me with this; a co-worker of mine is in the middle of updating all of our supplier files, as she's run into an overseas customer who doesn't want to hand over any information normally needed for a risk analysis - HACCP, specs, audit reports, etc - claiming that they're confidential and proprietary.  The customer has sent over a letter for us to pass on to our import broker, stating that the supplier "is taking responsibility for the FSVP," and "releasing" our company "of the responsibility to conduct a risk analysis" (everything in quotes is directly from the supplier). 


As background, the supplier deals solely with cheeses made from pasteurized milks.


This doesn't sound completely right to me, and I'm hoping to get come clarification on the matter.  Anyone have anything that can help point us in the right direction here?



Gerard H.

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 12:48 PM

Dear K. Byrne,


It is part of the game and quite normal, that the overseas supplier conforms itself to the rules of the importing country (the USA in this case). The arguments of the supplier are weak and it is necessary to increase the pressure on this supplier.


Your supplier is not in the position of making exceptions. It could be the FDA, however they probably won't ;-)


I advise you to update this supplier file, to avoid blockings or supply chain problems, while importing his products.


I wish you good luck with the resolution of this issue. In case of further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.


Kind regards,


Gerard Heerkens


    Food Safety Consultant, Production Supervisor

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 03:27 PM

I would be shopping around for suppliers. If you need management support, you can remind them that in the current regulatory climate post FSMA and other events, your supplier problems are your problems. And in no way is an overseas supplier then going to take responsibility for a food safety issue, they'll just claim you contaminated their product and wait for you to sue, which you won't because it will be international and a huge hassle to actually assign fault.


CRF frozen foods had a huge recall and trouble with FDA for listeria that they purchased from an american supplier, and that american supplier wasn't named in the outbreak until long after all of the bad press had gone out. Maybe they got some damages etc. after the fact. But that doesn't make you feel any better post recall.


Pasteurized cheeses have been L. mono targets of late, and other countries don't have the same strict standards we do. Evaluate and accept the risk, or move on to a supplier that wants to brag about food safety instead of hiding it from you.

Austin Bouck
Owner/Consultant at Fur, Farm, and Fork.
Consulting for companies needing effective, lean food safety systems and solutions.

Subscribe to the blog at furfarmandfork.com for food safety research, insights, and analysis.

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