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What controls are required for a supplier of finished product?


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#1 Paula da Silva

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 06:13 PM

Good evening all,

 

I´ve recently joined a company that supplies with RTE/RTD shelf-stable products and food supplements (we get our finished product direct from supplier).

 

For the past years the company has been relying 100% in their suppliers (all BRC certified), not getting involved in any food quality/safety control within the manufacturing sites.

 

As the company grows in 2018, I´ve been tasked with building a quality assurance system to ensure our product meet standards before is shipped from our supplier to our warehouse (and then picked to send to end consumer). I´m the only quality member in the company, and there is no QA system in place at all: as soon as the product is released in the factory is sent to the warehouse, we don´t check or verify anything from this point.

 

In my past roles I’ve been working from the ‘manufacturing side’ hence my difficulty understanding how to build a QA system from this side, the customer side.

 

I´m a bit lost as to what kind of documentation I should be requesting from our suppliers, having in mind they supply our finished products.

Are you supposed to trust in your suppliers just because they are BRC certified? What controls/requirements can you put in place as a customer?

 

Another issue I’m dealing with is our suppliers are not cooperative at all, as they´re used to handling things in their own way knowing that no quality department has ever existed in our company. Now I´ve joined the company issues have been highlighted but never been addressed showing that there´s either a communication breakdown or a problem with the QC team in the factory.

I´ve asked one of our suppliers  to send us samples from the start, middle and end of production run so that I was able to conduct my own quality checks but they refused to do so saying they would only be able to send a random sample from every batch (which I think is useless as is not representative at all).

 

Any advice on both queries would be much appreciated!!

 

thank you



#2 Vladimir Surcinski

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 01:16 PM

Dear Paula,

For me first step is redefining of contracts with that suppliers, (add anex to all contracts about food safety demands).
Food safety demands you could include are - supplier must deliver to you specifications of products, their food safety manual and certificate. Additionally define that one supplier audit will be performed minimaly once per year.
Regarding supplier audit, since you are alone, engage external provider-auditor to perform it for your company.
With this steps I hope that you can achieve seriousness needed for suppliers that you are not kidding about safety in your company.

I hope that I helped even partially :)

Br,

Vlada

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#3 Paula da Silva

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 03:52 PM

Dear Paula,

For me first step is redefining of contracts with that suppliers, (add anex to all contracts about food safety demands).
Food safety demands you could include are - supplier must deliver to you specifications of products, their food safety manual and certificate. Additionally define that one supplier audit will be performed minimaly once per year.
Regarding supplier audit, since you are alone, engage external provider-auditor to perform it for your company.
With this steps I hope that you can achieve seriousness needed for suppliers that you are not kidding about safety in your company.

I hope that I helped even partially :)

Br,

Vlada

Poslato sa WAS-LX1 uz pomoć Tapatoka

thanks very much Vlada,

 

are the suppliers allowed/supposed to share their food safety and quality manual with their customers?

thanks



#4 jcieslowski

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 05:03 PM

Since you're not handling food product itself, the first step is with the manufactures and your supplier approval program.

 

I recommend a tiered approach based on the risk of each supplier. 

If the supplier has a GFSI level certificate (SQF, BRC, etc.) I would accept that as the only thing required in terms of company documentation.

If they have some OTHER certification or 3rd party audits, I would require to see their full audit report as well as get a summary of their HACCP and Food Safety Plans.  I would NOT ask to see their entire quality manual.

 

Then I would look at the product risk and see what controls / proof you can get / need.

 

If the product is temperature sensitive, I would require records of loading and unloading temperatures to ensure that the cold chain was maintained throughout.  You would pair that with verification of storage temperatures in your facility and load and truck temperatures for product leaving your facility.

 

If the supplier has food safety standards (microbial, for example), and perform analysis to ensure those standards are met, I would collect certificates of analysis on those items.  I would require them if the product risk warranted it.

 

I would also require trailer seals (presuming you get your product in on semi trailers) that show the product was not tampered with in transit.  

 

As you consider these risks, you're essentially starting the outline for a hazard analysis and developing controls to eliminate or reduce risks.



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#5 Vladimir Surcinski

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 06:22 PM

thanks very much Vlada,

are the suppliers allowed/supposed to share their food safety and quality manual with their customers?
thanks

Yes, if you define that by contract or during purchasing process than they should send you manual. Afcourse this data should be saved by you and considered as confidential.

Vlada

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#6 Paula da Silva

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 01:28 PM

Since you're not handling food product itself, the first step is with the manufactures and your supplier approval program.

 

I recommend a tiered approach based on the risk of each supplier. 

If the supplier has a GFSI level certificate (SQF, BRC, etc.) I would accept that as the only thing required in terms of company documentation.

If they have some OTHER certification or 3rd party audits, I would require to see their full audit report as well as get a summary of their HACCP and Food Safety Plans.  I would NOT ask to see their entire quality manual.

 

Then I would look at the product risk and see what controls / proof you can get / need.

 

If the product is temperature sensitive, I would require records of loading and unloading temperatures to ensure that the cold chain was maintained throughout.  You would pair that with verification of storage temperatures in your facility and load and truck temperatures for product leaving your facility.

 

If the supplier has food safety standards (microbial, for example), and perform analysis to ensure those standards are met, I would collect certificates of analysis on those items.  I would require them if the product risk warranted it.

 

I would also require trailer seals (presuming you get your product in on semi trailers) that show the product was not tampered with in transit.  

 

As you consider these risks, you're essentially starting the outline for a hazard analysis and developing controls to eliminate or reduce risks.

 

Thank you that was very helpful,

 

Is it a good idea to prepare a 'supplier assessment' and send it out to all our suppliers (and they can attach certificates, haccp plan, nutritional info, etc.)? this would help me building our QA system?

 

For one of our products we only receive a CoC, not a CoA, but they do perform random micro tests, is it better then to ask to send a CoA with micro results (stating they're carried out 'randomly') ?

 

Since our products are shelf-stable (low risk) the only control I would put in place is ‘trailer seals’. To have all the ‘transport chain’ under control: would the best idea be using one seal for trailer from factory to packing site and then another seal for trailer from packing site to our warehouse? (Especially knowing we’re having missing products in our deliveries).

 

thank you!






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