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zanorias

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Posted 12 June 2020 - 06:50 AM

Hi all,

 

I'd like to hear your thoughts on my situation, especially from anyone who has sat the HACCP Level 4 course, though all comments welcome of course..

 

I've recently started as QA Manager at a RTE food-to-go manufactuer. The Technical Manager left last month for a new job so I've slid across to cover that side of things too for the time being, interim or potentially longer term depending how things go. The HACCP system is substantial and up to date but of course I'll be taking over as team leader and managing it moving forwards.

 

Now my query is on my official training - I have HACCP level 3 at present. Whilst I can educate myself with available resources I am aware that having done the HACCP level 4 course would be ideal in this situation, and my concern is whether my auditor in 2 weeks will view my official training & experiance (first time TM) as insufficient to lead the HACCP team. We conform to STS, SALSA and are preparing for BRC, and as far as I can see the requirements regarging the team refer to "demonstrating competence, experiance and training". In the HACCP teams I've previously been part of, the leader has always carried level 4.

 

My trouble currently is the standard 5 day classroom based course is unfeasible for the near future due to the virus situation. I can't find any virtual courses (i.e. live via webcam type thing) but have found an online course which is 40 hours and email support...

 

https://www.elearnin...award-in-haccp/

 

Would anyone having done the class based level 4 consider the above course as worth doing? I'm aware it is likely inferior to a class based setting given the depth of the topic. Another thought I have is to plan a level 4 class based course for later in the year when they are available, and just note down for auditors that we have arrangements for the team leader to go on level 4 as soon as practically possible - and hope this would be sufficient?

 

Any thoughts appreciated



pHruit

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Posted 12 June 2020 - 08:47 AM

The BRC requirement wording makes it a bit woolly, but IMEX it's usually interpreted as "we want to see some sort of certificate". Even when it's patently daft to require this - for example a colleague on my HACCP team has demonstrable experience of leading HACCP teams going back nearly 30 years, is not the team leader, and still got challenged to prove he'd done some formal training in the past. (Thankfully that training provider keeps pretty good records - they tracked down evidence from about 1993, IIRC!)

 

As for whether you need this to be the full L4, I believe this is more flexible. Certainly I was leader of HACCP teams for a good few years with "just" the L3 cert (or intermediate, as it was called in those days) and never had an issue with BRC. I do think that in part this is due to how you and your HACCP plan come across on the day of the audit though - if they read a plan that makes sense and reassures them, and get sensible and considered answers to the questions they ask, I generally believe that auditors are inclined to view that as adequately demonstrating sufficient competence. I do also make a point of updating the team list each time we do a revision, so it's clear that member a has x years of experience plus this training, member b has y years plus training etc.

 

With your L3 certificate, a solid existing HACCP plan in place, and some decent experience, I genuinely don't think you should have an issue with a BRC audit, particularly given the commitment to upgrade to Level 4 once it become possible again.

It does also depend to an extent on what it is that you want to get out of the training, IMO. If it's just "get the cert to make life easier at audit time", and your employer is happy to pay for it, then I don't really see any reason not to go for the online one.
If it's more about learning and improving your knowledge of HACCP then I do think there is value in the classroom based approach - at this level you're really getting into some of the meatier and more subjective areas, so the opportunity to discuss and debate examples and ideas with both the tutor and with other students from different backgrounds can teach you almost as much, if not more, than the course material itself. Nonetheless I guess you could always revisit it later to do the in-person course as a refresher, if you went for the online option now.



SQFconsultant

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Posted 12 June 2020 - 01:20 PM

I can speak of the quality of the HACCP level 4 training you provided. We are in process with them to become affiliates, however part of that will be course reviews to ascertain content quality.

 

As to what will be acceptable to the Auditor, your current level 3 certificate will suffice. Having been a BRC and SQF Auditor and been exposed to hundreds of auditors I have never seen one ask for a specific level for the HACCP certificate - all we were and they are interested in is seeing proof of training.


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SQFconsultant

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Posted 12 June 2020 - 03:17 PM

Unable to edit posting - what I said:

"I can speak of the quality"

 

What I meant to say:

 

"I can not speak of the quality"


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC BUSINESS GROUP | SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants
Internal Auditor Training - eConsultant - Pre & Post SQF-GAP Audits - Consultant Training
Visit us @ http://www.GlennOster.com  or call us @ 772.646.4115 US-EST 8am-4pm Anyday except Thursday
 
 

zanorias

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 11:30 AM

Thanks pHruit and Glenn for your comments. pHruit, yes it would to an extend be to make life easier at audit time, especially since I can't necessarily pull on a huge amount of experiance. Though for that reason, I'd likely learn a lot of useful things from a decent course and elevate my competence ot the point where I'd like to be. On reflection I think I'll go for the online course now, and depending on how that goes and competance/experiance by the time a class based course is available, may go for that one too (finance pending).



zoelawton

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 11:24 AM

Hi. 

 

My HACCP team includes the director, with over 20 years experience and a foundation in HACCP from maybe 10 years ago. It also includes the technical manager with HACCP L2 and internal auditor, and myself, 2ish years experience, L3 HACCP and L3 supervising food safety. 

 

Obviously i had the director as the HACCP team leader due to his knowledge and experience, however in our recent BRC audit (july) i was informed that i should be the HACCP team leader, as even though i have the least experience i am the most qualified. He did say to jump at the opportunity to do HACCP L4 however it is not necessary. 



pHruit

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 01:54 PM

Hi. 

 

My HACCP team includes the director, with over 20 years experience and a foundation in HACCP from maybe 10 years ago. It also includes the technical manager with HACCP L2 and internal auditor, and myself, 2ish years experience, L3 HACCP and L3 supervising food safety. 

 

Obviously i had the director as the HACCP team leader due to his knowledge and experience, however in our recent BRC audit (july) i was informed that i should be the HACCP team leader, as even though i have the least experience i am the most qualified. He did say to jump at the opportunity to do HACCP L4 however it is not necessary. 

 

I'd usually be a little cautious about jumping too hastily to follow this type of advice - the more you get audited, the more different opinions you'll find on the same topic, even if it's one such as HACCP that is "theoretically" non-subjective. IMEX it's one of the *most* subjective areas, or at least one on which auditors are most keen to voice an opinion, which can lead to bizarre suggestions as very few of them will understand your site / HACCP plan as well as you do.
You'll need to agree with your team how to handle this specific circumstance though. I can certainly appreciate that the higher standard of certificate would be expected to be an easy approach to sell to most auditors, but having been in a not dissimilar position many years ago I can certainly say that you might expect to get some auditors taking the exact opposite approach and questioning why the most experienced team member isn't the leader. It all proved academic once they saw the plan was of a good standard and they got solid, knowledgeable answers to their questions, so if you do take the role on then be prepared to be thoroughly grilled on your plan and make sure you can robustly defend it ;)






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