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debbie5313

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 02:43 PM

We are a very small seafood company(employee count of 30-35) that sells ready to cook value added meals to a few large grocery retailers who require GFSI certification from us. We are BRC certified 3 years in a row. Since we have such a small staff, along with limited funds, we are looking for a program that is not as intense as BRC edition 8. As I have stated we have passed our BRC audits in the past, but funds and staffing are the issue. Any suggestions?



KRG

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 03:17 PM

Do your customers have a preference of GFSI certification body? Most retailers, customers I've worked with prefer SQF. However, I have also gone through a few Primus audits, and really enjoyed those, as they seemed to be rather straightforward (which may be easier for a small company). Good luck!



debbie5313

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 03:28 PM

Yes, they do require GFSI certification. At this time we are unable to have an onsite lab, and have heard that the new SQF audits require this. We do environmental monitoring swab tests monthly, water testing twice a year, and new product testing (shelf life) using a local lab. It seems that the new version 8 of BRC might be more than we can handle with the staff we have in place now. 



LostMyMind

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 03:42 PM

I second KRG in that you first want to make sure that you understand what your customers require.  They can be quite picky.  Once you know that, you can try and pick the "easiest" of the options available.  Primus is often considered the simplest, but is also the one most associated with agricultural and so may not be an accepted choice for your scenario.  I'm in AG and we use Primus and it's alright.  Still a lot of paperwork, but once you get through the initial conversion, if you set it up well, you can manage it pretty effectively.

 

My suggestion would be to read the audit schemes' requirements before making any decisions.  Look at their detailed explanations and not just the summary.  The devil is in the details and you can think something is simple, but their expectation is widely different than the summary.  My suggestion would be to do a mock audit on your planned choice to evaluate your initial score and help you identify any gotchas.  You'll have a much better idea of what you are going to need to change, update, etc.  And you will catch any major issues before you commit. 

 

Anyway, good luck.  Changes schemes can be a lot of work.  

 

Todd
 



kfromNE

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 04:35 PM

Yes, they do require GFSI certification. At this time we are unable to have an onsite lab, and have heard that the new SQF audits require this. We do environmental monitoring swab tests monthly, water testing twice a year, and new product testing (shelf life) using a local lab. It seems that the new version 8 of BRC might be more than we can handle with the staff we have in place now. 

 

SQF does not require you to have an onsite lab. However I'm not sure if SQF would be easier than BRC. I would continue to have GFSI certification. You will see more and more companies in the USA being certified in a GFSI audit scheme and companies requiring it as part of there supplier verification program. I would see if SQF is more comparable to FSMA and if it would be cost effective to switch.



debbie5313

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 04:50 PM

I see that seafood products are not in the scope of Primus audits. Thank you all for the advice. Please keep posting information on this for me.



debbie5313

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 05:13 PM

Any ideas on a consultant for SQF? East Coast area, Seafood Processor.


Edited by debbie5313, 28 June 2019 - 05:21 PM.


SQFconsultant

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 05:16 PM

Hi Debbie

We have worked with a number of clients that initially wanted to go BRC but after discussion went with SQF.

Overall you will find that SQF is "easier."

Plus as a bonus, it's an American certification too!


All the Best,

 

All Rights Reserved,

Without Prejudice,

Glenn Oster.

Glenn Oster Consulting, LLC -

SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification | eConsultant | Internal Auditor Training

http://www.GCEMVI.XYZ

https://glennoster.website3.me/

 


SQFconsultant

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 10:03 PM

Any ideas on a consultant for SQF? East Coast area, Seafood Processor.

Yes, East Coast based for travel, but can also do 100% remote SQF developments and does not charge extra for travel (as needed.)


All the Best,

 

All Rights Reserved,

Without Prejudice,

Glenn Oster.

Glenn Oster Consulting, LLC -

SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification | eConsultant | Internal Auditor Training

http://www.GCEMVI.XYZ

https://glennoster.website3.me/

 


GMO

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 09:17 AM

We are a very small seafood company(employee count of 30-35) that sells ready to cook value added meals to a few large grocery retailers who require GFSI certification from us. We are BRC certified 3 years in a row. Since we have such a small staff, along with limited funds, we are looking for a program that is not as intense as BRC edition 8. As I have stated we have passed our BRC audits in the past, but funds and staffing are the issue. Any suggestions?

 

I used to work with a small bakery (50 employees) and BRC was perfectly achievable.  The good thing about BRC is it's not prescriptive and allows you to determine whether or not you adopt certain controls by doing a risk assessment.  If you're doing that carefully, it can be pretty low impact.

 

One thing to consider though is a sudden change in certification scheme may not go down well with your customers.  "BRC was too hard" is not likely to be a message they'd like to hear.



pHruit

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 09:54 AM

I used to work with a small bakery (50 employees) and BRC was perfectly achievable. 

Similar experience here - the company was 20 people, with only 6 in production/warehousing, when we first put BRC in. Admittedly it's become more formidable since the days of Issue 4, but even now we have one production site with a staff of 10 and a local "head office" for the subsidiary business with a total staff of about 30, and have no problems running both BRC Food and BRC Agents & Brokers fully independently.

 

There definitely is flexibility in the standard (indeed some might say too much ;) ) to set up a system that works for your business and circumstances, and IME auditors are good at recognising this - if they arrive at a small manufacturing facility they are not expecting to find complex systems that would be appropriate for the large manufacturers with thousands of people.

 

 

Since we have such a small staff, along with limited funds, we are looking for a program that is not as intense as BRC edition 8. As I have stated we have passed our BRC audits in the past, but funds and staffing are the issue. Any suggestions?

What is it about BRC that you find particularly "intense"?

All of the GFSI-benchmarked schemes will be challenging to a degree, but if there are specific elements of BRC that pose a particular difficulty for you then knowing these will allow forum members to suggest alternatives standards that are different in these areas, and/or to propose more efficient solutions for you that will make your existing BRC more manageable.



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GMO

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 11:17 AM

 

There definitely is flexibility in the standard (indeed some might say too much ;) ) to set up a system that works for your business and circumstances, and IME auditors are good at recognising this - if they arrive at a small manufacturing facility they are not expecting to find complex systems that would be appropriate for the large manufacturers with thousands of people.

 

 

Having worked for some of the smallest and the largest food companies, I can say compliance in a small company is often easier.  When you have a big corporate culture with some aspects of the standard managed centrally I can tell you it happens with alarming regularity that you look for the compliance to find it's not there or someone took it upon themselves to not do something.  At least when it's down to you, it really is down to you!



Charles.C

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 11:26 AM

Hi All,

 

IMO some extremely debatable opinions being expressed in this thread. And especially for a RTE food.

 

I suspect BRC have a totally dominant position in UK for GFSI-recognized Standards.

 

Personally, based on threads in this Forum, I would say that all the GFSI-recognized Standards have their individual weirdnesses/incomprehensibilities.

 

Salsa are, afaik, the oft-suggested (UK) alternative as a lower "ranked" certification. Their requirements certainly seem more explicit than GFSI-recognized versions.

 

I suggest that whether  certification is "challenging" or not depends very much on the QA experiemce/support available, notably "upper", financial and technical. It also IMO relates to whether there is existing experience with ISO9001.

 

The number of threads in this Forum which one could describe as "Pleas for Help" suggests to me that many, many intending auditeees are highly "challenged" indeed. This was certainly my (seafood) experience.

 

I also recall seeing the opinion several times in this Forum that GFSI-recognized standards are not really expected to be compatible with numerically  "small" operations. Not impossible but likely to be "challenging".


Edited by Charles.C, 01 July 2019 - 11:51 AM.
edited

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


GMO

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 12:50 PM

 

Salsa are, afaik, the oft-suggested (UK) alternative as a lower "ranked" certification. Their requirements certainly seem more explicit than GFSI-recognized versions.

 

 

Definitely.  Sites I've seen with Salsa have been able to achieve certification while a quiet chat with the Environmental Health Officer in confidence has revealed big concerns about practices on site and you know if the EHO pick it up, it must have been in your face.

 

This thread has reminded me about a small, simple production site I visited about 2 years ago.  It wasn't fully high care compliant for my purposes (but didn't need to be for the products they were processing at the time, they only would have needed to be for the new product we were proposing.)  This was a 3 person outfit and they had BRC.  It is certainly achievable but comes down to section 1 for me... senior management commitment.  If the owner is bought in, you can do it.  If they're not, then you will eventually come across other problems...



Charles.C

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 01:09 PM

Definitely.  Sites I've seen with Salsa have been able to achieve certification while a quiet chat with the Environmental Health Officer in confidence has revealed big concerns about practices on site and you know if the EHO pick it up, it must have been in your face.

 

This thread has reminded me about a small, simple production site I visited about 2 years ago.  It wasn't fully high care compliant for my purposes (but didn't need to be for the products they were processing at the time, they only would have needed to be for the new product we were proposing.)  This was a 3 person outfit and they had BRC.  It is certainly achievable but comes down to section 1 for me... senior management commitment.  If the owner is bought in, you can do it.  If they're not, then you will eventually come across other problems...

 

Hi GMO,

 

You seem to have a rather low opinion of Salsa, Salsa auditors and EHOs.

 

Did the 3 employees other halves do the documentation (assuming independent Operatives) ? :smile:

 

Indeed, one does wonder if a BRC absolute minimum requirement exists. Would they accept a One-Man/Woman Show ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


GMO

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 02:22 PM

Hi GMO,

 

You seem to have a rather low opinion of Salsa, Salsa auditors and EHOs.

 

Did the 3 employees other halves do the documentation (assuming independent Operatives) ? :smile:

 

Indeed, one does wonder if a BRC absolute minimum requirement exists. Would they accept a One-Man/Woman Show ?

 

Sorry, you're right but to be fair to EHOs, they have got a bit better but the number of visits they do and the breadth of subject matter they're expected to cover is inevitably going to lead to people who know a little bit about a lot but aren't specialists.  I wonder if post the implementation of the Official Controls regulation whether they will subcontract?

 

Most tiny outfits bring in a consultant to do some of the auditing they can't do independently.  I've also conducted audits on behalf of small suppliers in the past as if I'm auditing them anyway, they may as well use it as part of their compliance process.





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