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Regulations and food safety requirements for grain suppliers

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 05:50 PM

Hello All, 


We are a small flour mill and bakery, but this is about the flour mill specifically. 


We mill only wheat flour, a few different types of wheat but all wheat. The company was bought out by an investment group a few years ago and they more or less cleaned house and brought in all new management. My position was not a thing until I came on with the company a year ago (Quality Manager). The original owner was the founder and farmer for the entire operation and is still a shareholder. Since it was sold the original owner has also sold a lot of his land so we have had to find grain suppliers elsewhere. Most of the new suppliers are local farmers/elevators the original owner is friends with.


So to my issue/question. As the new management tries to get the place in order and in line with regulation I keep running into walls with the grain suppliers. We have implemented a good supplier approval program for every supplier but I more or less just get told no from our grain suppliers when trying to get documentation. Simple stuff like letters of guarantee, allergen statements, control measures in place, third party audits. I haven't really been able to find anything on what regulations farmers or elevators have to follow for food safety. 


If anyone can provide any resources on this or has any experience with this matter any advise would be greatly appreciated.       






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Posted 25 November 2019 - 07:51 PM

I think you should take a look at these links (especially if you are in the US):





These are the things that farms are primarily responsible for under FSMA. I don't know a whole lot about farms specifically, because I've always been 2 processes away from the farm. Also, admittedly, I did some daydreaming during the produce safety portion of my FSMA training since it wasn't very applicable to me (I'm easily distracted). You might be getting pushback because these farms aren't necessarily having 3rd party audits like we would downstream. They probably have visits by the FDA/USDA/Dept of Ag, but otherwise, may not have everything you need. They may have some simple controls in place, but the expectation is that further processing will happen downstream. As a mill, I think more of the responsibility falls on you (fortunately or unfortunately depending on your view). I've visited flour mills, and they do quite a lot of testing onsite.


I've seen the typical moisture tests along with other wheat & flour tests (falling number, etc.). I've also seen allergen tests to confirm source grains weren't compromised, vomitoxin testing, foreign material sieving (interesting to see all the rocks and pebbles that come from raw grain), fortification of flour, micro testing in some cases, etc. If a mill bags bulk flour, I've seen metal detectors as well. I'm sure I'm missing some testing, but these are just things I remember seeing in past dealings.


You might wish to ask about their FSMA compliance and get a statement to that effect. Perhaps there are others that have dealt directly with farms that can assist with more information.

Edited by QAGB, 25 November 2019 - 07:54 PM.

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