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Food fraud vulnerability assessments

SQF food fraud

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#1 brholder

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 09:51 PM

Hi there.

 

I'm a QA manager at a small family owned cheese processor. We don't have a large footprint; we're SQF Level 3 certified. 

 

I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around the food fraud vulnerability assessment requirements for SQF in 2.5 of the System Elements. I have been looking at the tool on this website because it is frequently recommended. However, I'm a little confused:

 

  • Is this tool meant to assess your process, your ingredient, your suppliers? 
  • How many assessments might be common for a small company with - say - 25 suppliers that only deals with two product categories (processed cheese and natural cheese)? The instructions within the tool seem to suggest that you may need several assessments for your ingredients/suppliers/process. 

I feel like I'm getting lost in the weeds on this more than necessary. 



#2 jcieslowski

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 10:08 PM

I think the overall question you're trying to ask is "Where might we get mislabeled food and how do we prevent it?"

 

It COULD be an ingredient issue - maybe you're getting mislabeled cheeses, for example.  If so, the control method is "Only buy from approved suppliers".  What other tools do you have to know you're getting what you think you're getting?  Do you perform any testing?  Do you require COAs or any documentation for specific ingredients?



#3 brholder

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 10:11 PM

I think the overall question you're trying to ask is "Where might we get mislabeled food and how do we prevent it?"

 

It COULD be an ingredient issue - maybe you're getting mislabeled cheeses, for example.  If so, the control method is "Only buy from approved suppliers".  What other tools do you have to know you're getting what you think you're getting?  Do you perform any testing?  Do you require COAs or any documentation for specific ingredients?

 

First off, thank you for your reply.

 

We perform moisture testing primarily on raw materials. We require COAs from all of our suppliers and also have a lengthy vendor approval packet before we start using any new suppliers. Their documentation is renewed annually. 



#4 jcieslowski

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 10:18 PM

So I would just create a procedure that says you'll annually consider what vulnerabilities you have and access it.   I would list those tests, vendor approval, etc. as ways that you're insuring that your food is not fraudulent.  

 

I wouldn't overthink it too much as I don't think that you have too much susceptibility to fraud in your particular industry.  

 

That's probably not the BEST answer in terms of food safety but it's what I would do.



#5 Charles.C

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 02:04 AM

Hi there.

 

I'm a QA manager at a small family owned cheese processor. We don't have a large footprint; we're SQF Level 3 certified. 

 

I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around the food fraud vulnerability assessment requirements for SQF in 2.5 of the System Elements. I have been looking at the tool on this website because it is frequently recommended. However, I'm a little confused:

 

  • Is this tool meant to assess your process, your ingredient, your suppliers? 
  • How many assessments might be common for a small company with - say - 25 suppliers that only deals with two product categories (processed cheese and natural cheese)? The instructions within the tool seem to suggest that you may need several assessments for your ingredients/suppliers/process. 

I feel like I'm getting lost in the weeds on this more than necessary. 

 

Hi brholder,

 

I suggest you look at a few more threads here on VA if you wish to appreciate what it means. And read the SQF Guidance.

The tool is intended to evaluate vulnerabilities in respect to the definitions offered by SQF (not necessarily identical to other FS standards).

SQF also face a problem in that they separate their safety/quality standards. In this specific case, this approach generates some complexity for VA.

 

In theory its a simple topic, in practice not. BRC started up the focus and then realised  they themselves poorly understood the scope of the issues involved. It looks to have taken at least a year to resolve many of the confusions over what to do to respond to their requirements.

 

i suspect SQF are admitting/(trying to) evading the now well-known complexity by promoting one tool / methodology. Presumably this means that if you follow their Guidance you should pass.

 

I guess the success (or not) of much simpler interpretaions as suggested in previous post will soon become evident in audits. In the meantime (as was for BRC) I suppose it's a sellers' (consultants') market. :smile:


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#6 wave

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 02:59 PM

Hi brholder,

 

Fill in PWC questioner, define likelihood from "very high" to "very low"  and consequence. You need to select raw materials, packaging materials or finished products. Define economic impact for selected products. For example, you may have a risk in milk, like in raw material - milk fat adulteration with vegetables oils, or low quality of packaging and risk of contamination. This is the economic benefits of suppliers. Also, you need summarized food fraud incident information. 



#7 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 06:33 PM

Keep in mind that the whole point of food fraud is to assess your vulnerabilities in the event that you have suppliers that are lieing to you. In which case, evaluating supplier-provided CoA's is not a useful tool to assess the product unless you had their laboratory send them to you direct rather than through the supplier.

 

Remember, the PCA guys used white-out to turn salmonella negatives into positives and to get all lot numbers on a negative CoA.


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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