Tag Archives: raw materials

FST Soapbox

Risk in Our Supply Chain: Where Do We Start?

By Traci Slowinski
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FSMA has arrived with the launch of the first two preventive control rules – Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human and Animal Food (or cGMP and HARPC, for short). With these new FSMA rules, the food and beverage industry will now be held accountable for being more proactive versus reactive, and will be responsible for identifying and managing risk throughout their supply chain. Of course, this emphasis on risk can also be seen in other sectors of the industry (i.e., GFSI and ISO), and risk has become the focal point for a number of compliance initiatives.

Supply chain challenges in food safety
Supply chain challenges in food safety (Click to enlarge)

These days a number of supply chain challenges are driving risk. Continued global expansion of the industry is resulting in more import and export activities. We are seeing consumer food trends shift toward riskier food/preparation options. Regulatory agencies continue to work on improving their food safety requirements. And the growing population is putting more demands on our current resources. All of these factors equates to great risk within all stages of the supply chain.

Therefore, it will be important that you understand what risk management entails and have the right tools to identify, assess and control the risks that you find throughout your supply chain.

So where do we start looking for risk? Here are a few examples of where your risk assessments should be performed:

External Partners. You need to build strategic relationships with your external partners (suppliers, contract manufacturers/co-packers, service providers, carriers, etc.) across the supply chain. Building trust through good communication and collaboration is essential to ensure that you can rely on your partners to do the right thing for both parties.

RiskAssessmentSupplyChainRaw Materials. Many hazards can be introduced into a facility through raw materials—whether we are talking about raw ingredients, packaging materials, chemicals, or other components used to produce your product. Some hazards to assess include pathogens, allergens, chemical residues, pests and foreign material.

Storage and Handling. When looking at risk during storage and handling, it is important to address several hazards including allergen control, temperature control, foreign material control, proper segregation and product flow.

Processing. A number of areas in processing can introduce hazards and therefore should be included in your risk assessment. These include improper sanitation, cross contamination/contact potential, foreign material contamination, critical control point deviations, pre-requisite program failures and mislabeling.

Shipping and Transport. Lastly, you must safeguard your shipping and transportation procedures in order to account for any potential risk once the product has left your facility. Areas to consider during your risk assessment include temperature control, condition and sanitation of truck and storage units, loading/unloading practices, security/tampering potential, accident/emergency recovery, and traceability.

For more information on risk management within the food and beverage supply chain, register to attend the free webinar “Supply Chain Management: Does What I Eat Put Me at Risk” on October 28, 2015. Speakers will discuss risk throughout the supply chain, focusing on supplier management and some of the new FSMA requirements. They will provide an overview of risk management and some of the tools that can be used to identify and assess risk. In addition, they will discuss how technology can help companies meet FSMA requirements.
Dr. Bob Strong

How to Perform Root Cause Analysis?

By Sangita Viswanathan
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Dr. Bob Strong

SAI Global logoDr. Strong was speaking in a recent webinar onThe Importance of CAPA and Root Cause Analysis for the Food Industry, in which he discussed CAPA, Root Cause Analysis and the benefits of these quality systems. We present below the comprehensive list of questions as presented by Dr. Strong.

Questions to ask: People

  1. Does the person know what he’s expected to do in this job?
  2. Is he well trained?
  3. How much experience does the person have?
  4. Does the person have the right tools/ equipment needed to do the job?
  5. Is the workload reasonable?
  6. Does the person have adequate supervision and support?
  7. Do physical conditions such as light or temperature affect their work?
  8. Who does the person contact when problems arise?

Questions to ask: Method

  1. How is the process used defined?
  2. Is the process regular reviewed for adequacy?
  3. Is the process used affected by external factors?
  4. Have any changes been made recently in the process?
  5. What adjustments must the operator make during the process?
  6. How does the operator know if the process is operating effectively?
  7. Have other methods or processes been considered?

‘What would you do if things go wrong,’ this could be the most revealing question you can ask your employees that it may identify a real issue, added Dr. Strong.

Questions to ask: Equipment

  1. How old is the equipment or machinery?
  2. Is preventive maintenance performed regularly on it?
  3. Is the machine affected by heat, vibration, or other physical factors?
  4. How does the operator know if the machine is operating correctly?
  5. What adjustments must the operator make during the process?
  6. Have any changes been made recently in the equipment?
  7. How is the equipment cleaned?
  8. What tools are used to clean the equipment?

Questions to ask: Raw materials

  1. What is the source of the raw material?
  2. Has there been a change in suppliers recently?
  3. How is the raw material produced?
  4. How is the safety of the raw material verified?
  5. How old is the raw material?
  6. How is safety assessed prior to your operation?
  7. What is the level of safety and quality?
  8. How is the raw material packaged?
  9. Can temperature, light or humidity affect the material quality?

Questions to ask: Environment

  1. How are environmental conditions monitored?
  2. How are environmental conditions controlled?
  3. How is environmental control measuring equipment calibrated?
  4. Are there changes in conditions at different times of the day?
  5. Does environmental change affect the processes being used?
  6. Does environmental change affect the materials being used?

Questions to ask: Inspection System

  1. How frequently are products inspected?
  2. How is the measuring equipment calibrated?
  3. Are all products measured using the same tools or equipment?
  4. How are inspection results recorded?
  5. Is there a set of procedures and do inspectors follow the same procedures?
  6. Do inspectors know how to use the test equipment? 

Ask your team ‘what would happen if the systems weren’t calibrated? Are they giving you valid results?’ Probably that’s why you are not in compliance, explains Dr. Strong. 

All this take takes time and effort, and Dr. Strong urges management to devote the resources to go around ask these questions and get the answers.

What is your experience with Root Cause Analysis? Have your used such questions? Do you have more to add? Join the discussion by commenting below.

For more information, visit SAI Global’s Food Safety Resource Center, to access this complimentary, ON-Demand webinar.