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Supplier Approval Requirements in the Meat Industry?

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    Grade - PIFSQN

  • IFSQN Principal
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  • United States
    United States
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  • Location:Sparks, NV

Posted 30 May 2024 - 07:42 PM

I'm being tasked a bit more with supplier approval in my corp.  Two of our facilities produce RTC appetizers using beef, pork and chicken and are thus USDA registered with inspectors on site.  Our customers are retail chains: some products are labeled under their name brands, others are under our own branding.  It's a new branch for us, and we're transitioning to handle supplier approval at the corporate level. 


Our FSQA VP and Director of Procurement have come up with the below list, based on their industry experience of what is required (regulatory and SQF) and what our customers are requiring of us to sell through their stores.  I get to collect and review/track the documents (I'm very green when it comes to meat industry), and we're getting pushback from some producers.  It's a little bit messy due to our plants buying from distributors/brokers primarily due to volume requirements, but it's proven not to be sufficient to simply buy from GFSI approved distributors and our USDA auditor frequently asks for the USDA information for ingredients we're running on the lines.


Here's an example list of what we gave to our broker to ask their suppliers for.  The requests have been... interesting, so far.  So I figured I'd share and see how the cadre would feel about it.  I added notes in italic next to each one, and I'm curious which of these we're actually required by USDA to obtain.  Just looking for some better understanding as a morning spent on USDA's website left me without much help on what should be required.


  1. Specifications for all products sold to [the company] (no brainer, but you'd be surprised on the lack of cooperation)
  2. Current GFSI-benchmarked Third Party Food Safety Audit Certificate & Full Audit Report & Corrective Actions (I know most of us don't like sharing full audits, so we accept if they provide a cert showing good standing)
  3. USDA NR Data for the prior year (I'm unclear on this one, possibly USDA required by our in-plant inspector?)
  4. USDA Facility Registration # for each and every facility used to provide product to [the company] (most are sharing letters that they are registered with the numbers partially obscured, I'm good with it)
  5. Animal Welfare Audit (note our products are going into CA and MA, we're focusing on pork with this.  Suppliers are mostly offering only statements that they undergo welfare audits)
  6. Copy of Food Safety Plan (part of SQF req)
  7. Flow Diagram, noting any CCPs (part of SQF req)
  8. Copy of Allergen Program (to identify cross-contamination risks, believe this is customer driven)
  9. Copy of Lot Code Explanation & Example (traceability verifications)
  10. Copy of Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) (goes to the FSP, often we get a statement letter that yes, they have an EMP)

Anyone in the meat game want to share what they require of their suppliers?  Give me any ammo to fight to reduce this list to compromise with our distributor's suppliers?

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