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SQF 2.4.4.2 - Water Activity Testing - Proficiency Testing


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sgoats

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 12:38 PM

Hello! So we test our product for water activity for safety and quality reasons, but we are not currently doing proficiency testing for staff who run the tests, as we were not previously aware that 2.4.4.2 where it says "including annual proficiency testing for staff conducting analyses" applies to water activity testing. Now that we know this, we would like to conduct proficiency testing right away. I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share their process for conducting this? I was told that we could reach out to the company we got the Aw meter from and they would be able to assist with this, but I've reached out to them and they didn't seem to know what I was talking about. Is this not a common practice? Any input is appreciated! Thanks! 



Scampi

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 12:42 PM

Think of the proficiency test like annual CCP monitoring retraining.  You want to observe them performing the task to ensure that the results are as accurate as it can be. This would also be a good time to review the SOP for this procedure

 

Alternatively, you could give them a sample you know is outside your parameters and then observe the test and resulting actions


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sgoats

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 01:15 PM

Think of the proficiency test like annual CCP monitoring retraining.  You want to observe them performing the task to ensure that the results are as accurate as it can be. This would also be a good time to review the SOP for this procedure

 

Alternatively, you could give them a sample you know is outside your parameters and then observe the test and resulting actions

 

Thank you, Scampi, that is helpful! 

So there's no fancy external testing that needs to take place then, it can be as straightforward as observing them conducting the test and ensuring that they are following the SOP? 



Scampi

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 01:20 PM

You bet!  Obviously, if you were testing in house for pathogens, the proficiency test would be different/more complex

 

But since aW is mostly sample prep and letting the machine do the work, you should be covered

 

It just demonstrates that the facility understands the testing done in house COULD have an impact on food safety


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sgoats

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 03:14 PM

You bet!  Obviously, if you were testing in house for pathogens, the proficiency test would be different/more complex

 

But since aW is mostly sample prep and letting the machine do the work, you should be covered

 

It just demonstrates that the facility understands the testing done in house COULD have an impact on food safety

Thanks so much, this helps immensely! Have a great day!



Ryan M.

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 01:44 PM

If you are certified for SQF quality you will need to do this for your quality testing as well.

 

We've implemented observation of the procedure and oral questioning about the procedure and results, such as what to do if the results are outside specification and what is the specification requirement.



Charles.C

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 04:00 PM

There is considerable confusion/disagreement over the interpretation of this clause.

 

See this thread  -

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...is/#entry158660


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


KellieRyanB

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Posted 21 May 2021 - 04:21 AM

Please add me to the list of confused people. 

We monitor and control pH and free Cl in our process water. They are both for food safety. We have a building called the lab that is now just the QA office (used to be a lab). pH and free Cl analysis are done on the floor.

 

Reading the guidance document, it appears that we must use an ISO/IEC 17025 method, as well as perform proficiency testing for the selected method? I hope I am applying the code wrong here.

I currently use pH strips, and the DPD color wheel method for free Cl. Employees are retrained at least yearly.

 

From the Proficiency Guidance Document:

"The SQF Code requires that when internal laboratories are used to conduct input, environmental, or product analyses, the sampling and testing methods are to be in accordance with the applicable requirements of ISO/IEC 17025, which includes annual proficiency testing. This means that a site that conducts laboratory tests, critical to food safety, is required to verify the accuracy and reliability of the testing methods used on site through a proficiency test. The applicable proficiency tests are to be conducted annually, at a minimum. Proficiency testing is not about products but testing procedures. For example, tests critical to food safety such as Aw, pH, or pathogen testing use the same method across many different products."

 

I feel like either:

A) I am fine to keep on keeping on

B) I need to do proficiency testing on my current methods

C) I need to use an ISO/IEC 17025 method of determining pH and free Cl, and I must perform proficiency testing.

 

I really appreciate any input, thanks!






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