Sunday, August 19, 2018

Register for Our November Class - Developing and Implementing SQF Systems Edition 8.0 SPANISH - 2 Day


Register HERE

DATE AND TIME 
Wed, Nov 28, 2018 & Thu, Nov 29, 2018
8:00 am - 5:00 pm 

LOCATION
Napa Valley College
2277 Napa Vallejo Highway
BLDG 3000, RM 3004
Napa, CA 94558

DESCRIPTION

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS WORKSHOP WILL BE TAUGHT IN SPANISH!

In partnership with Superior Food Safety, Napa Valley College is hosting this timely and important 2-Day workshop on Developing and Implementing SQF Systems Edition 8.0.

This training will be held on Wednesday, November 28th (8AM-5PM) and Thursday, November 29th (8AM-5PM).

The integrity of the SQF Program relies on competently auditing existing SQF Systems and implementing efficient and effective SQF Systems. Superior Food Safety is a Licensed Center of Excellence that provides added value by giving students:

  • a perfect understanding of Food Safety and Quality Management Systems
  • the steps to follow in order to implement and maintain a solid program that reduces or eliminates risks
  • examples of the most common industry mistakes and how to avoid them for success, and
  • custom made templates of key procedures detailing how to write the documentation required by the program

The goals of the Implementing SQF course are to:
  • Promote an understanding of the SQF Code
  • Create a knowledge base to facilitate the successful implementation of an SQF System
  • Show how the HACCP-based approach manages food safety and quality hazards in an operation.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND
  • Personnel in Harvesting, Packing, Transport, Distribution & Sale of Food Products
  • Quality Assurance Managers & Supervisors of Food Establishments
  • Food Establishment Personnel in Sr. Management, Production, Purchasing, Procurement, and Human Resources

Oscar Camacho's experience spans the globe and the entire range of the industry. He has over 32 years of experience in the food industry, including ownership of two food processing plants and extensive work with two of the largest food manufacturers in the world. His accounts of food safety successes and failures put accountability into sharp focus. Oscar is a registered FSPCA-Human Foods Lead Instructor and Consultant, PSA-Produce Safety Alliance Lead Instructor, GFCP-Gluten Free Certification Program Consultant and Trainer, SQF Consultant and Trainer, and a former SQF Auditor. He holds a BS in Biology and an MS in Food Science and Engineering from the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia in Spain. He also holds a Certification in International Management and regularly continues studies in food safety and business administration.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

FSMA Food Safety Preventative Controls For Human Food - August 28-31 - Register Today!


Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - Friday, August 31, 2018

Cost: $125

Napa Valley College
2277 Napa Vallejo Highway
BLDG 3000, RM 3004
Napa, CA 94558

Register HERE

DESCRIPTION
In partnership with Superior Food Safety, Napa Valley College is hosting this timely and important workshop.

Starting on Wednesday, August 29th and ending on Friday, August 31st, participants in this three-day course will learn the following:

  • Meet the requirements for training under Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations Part 117.155 for the Preventive Controls “Qualified Individual”
  • Learn and understand the responsibilities of a preventive controls qualified individual
  • Learn How preventive controls build on established food safety principles
  • Understand and identify the Components of a Food Safety Plan
  • Learn how to conduct Food Safety Plan activities such as developing and reviewing a food safety plan
  • Provide the necessary skills for validating preventive controls, verifying and validating process controls among others 

Please note that this training event will be held at the following times:
Wednesday, Aug 29th from 8AM-5PM
Thursday, Aug 30th from 8AM-5PM
Friday, Aug 31st from 8AM-12PM

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
SQF, BRC, Global G.A.P. Internal Auditors, Consultants and Professionals looking to register as GFSI-qualified auditors, Quality Assurance Managers and Supervisors, Personnel involved in Production, Purchasing, Procurement, Human Resources, Harvesting, Packing, Transport, Distribution and Sales of Food Products.

This workshop has been designed by MSc. Oscar Camacho, who has more than 28 years of experience managing food safety and quality systems. Mr. Camacho's special insights come from years of first-hand experience in the food industry, and from client weaknesses he identified and solved while providing auditing and consulting services.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Would Your Team Know How to Handle a Crisis?


In 1993, Jack in the Box put foodborne illnesses and food safety “on the map” when their undercooked burgers led to an E. coli outbreak that infected more than 700 people. 171 people were hospitalized and four children died.

Unfortunately, this infamous outbreak wasn’t an isolated incident. Foodborne illness outbreaks are on the rise in the United States. The CDC reports that 48 million Americans become sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases each year in the United States.

A string of unprecedented outbreaks at Chipotle occurred at multiple locations, beginning in 2015. Recently, there was widespread concern when romaine lettuce tainted with E. coli was shipped, served and sold at restaurants, stores and institutions nationwide. Earlier this year, approximately 2,000 7-Eleven customers at a Utah location were exposed to hepatitis A due to an infected employee who worked (and handled the convenience store’s food) while sick. The state’s local health department announced that anyone who used the restrooms, drank a fountain drink, ate fresh fruit or any item from the store’s hot food case was at risk for infection from the highly contagious illness.

Keep in mind that a crisis isn’t necessarily a foodborne illness. Think about other unexpected crises that could impact your organization, staff and customers, like natural disasters (hurricanes, blizzards, tornados, etc.) What if there’s a robbery, shooting or bombing at your venue? What if a guest chokes and dies? Perhaps there’s an unexpected power outage or a fire? Yes, unfortunately, these are all real possibilities.

If a crisis were to occur at your establishment, would your team know what to do?

As the saying goes, if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. It’s extremely important to be prepared for every type of crisis imaginable—before anything bad actually happens.

When developing a crisis plan, consider and implement the following:

  • Form a crisis management team. Assign roles and responsibilities. Ensure all designated crisis team members understand what’s expected of them in the event of a crisis. For most food businesses, the crisis team will consist of a corporate attorney, company leadership, food safety team, crisis management consultant, a public relations expert, a trained media spokesperson and applicable government agencies.
  • Know how your local health department operates. The role of the local health department varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so get to know your local inspectors. Work with your regulatory agencies, who will want to help.
  • Create honest, authentic and apologetic messaging. This will, of course, need to be developed to meet the specifics of your situation. Regardless of what happened, honestly describe the situation and explain the solutions-focused plan you’ve created to move forward. Transparency is important, otherwise key audiences (customers, employees, media, investors, advertisers, etc.) will lose confidence and trust in your company.
  • Work with the media to disseminate information about the incident. The media want to report what has happened, and it’s in your best interest to be straightforward with them. If there was a breakdown in your process, identify it, whether you received tainted merchandise from a vendor or experienced an error in the kitchen. Explain the concrete steps you’re taking to fix it and prevent a reoccurrence (e.g., selecting different vendors, re-training your staff, adjusting your food allergy protocols, etc.).
  • Train (or re-train) your staff on food safety protocols. Be certain that everyone is knowledgeable about food safety (e.g., how to prevent cross-contamination, how to properly prepare allergy-friendly meals, how to cook foods to proper temperatures, etc.) to avoid similar crisis situations in the future.
  • Use social media wisely. Monitor social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and respond to negative and/or erroneous comments. Messages on social media (as well as in real life) should always be positive, professional and honest. Don’t get defensive and don’t allow yourself to get sucked into toxic, negative message spirals.
  • Communicate with your customers, employees and other key stakeholders to win back their trust. Be honest, sincere and apologetic. Explain how/why their loyalty is so important to you, and vow to earn their trust again.
  • Change vendors, if necessary. Did a vendor mislabel ingredients, causing an allergic reaction in one of your guests? Did they source tainted products and sell them to you? Change vendors, and be clear in your communications (to media, via social media platforms, etc.) that you identified the vendor as the source of the problem, explaining that you’ve cut ties to them to eliminate similar events in the future.
  • Thank the responders that helped. Perhaps your crisis wasn’t a foodborne illness –it was a customer dying of natural causes, a bomb threat, a weather emergency, or an electrical fire. Use the media and social media platforms to thank the police, fire department and/or paramedics—whichever responders helped defuse the situation.
  • Designate a media spokesperson. When facing a serious crisis, your restaurant’s CEO/owner/president should be the spokesperson. The public wants the head of the company to speak authoritatively about the incident and the concrete plans to resolve the problem. Practice your messages before going in front of the cameras, anticipate the most challenging questions you may receive, and determine how you’ll respond professionally, politely and non-defensively.
  • Stay calm. While it’s upsetting (and terrifying!) to be in a crisis situation, remain calm as you work to recover from the incident. Follow your crisis plan and communicate your key messages. Make certain that important audiences (including customers, prospects, employees, the media, vendors, health inspectors, etc.) recognize how hard you’re working to prevent similar incidents in the future.
  • Debrief after the crisis is over. Regardless of what happened and the severity of the situation, after any kind of incident, get the crisis management team together and debrief. Review your plan and see if there is any room for improvement.

It is critical to have a plan established just in case a crisis occurs. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use it, but it’s always wise to be prepared. A crisis can hit any business at any time—how well you handle the situation could make a monumental difference in the court of public opinion.

Article Souce: https://foodsafetytech.com/column/would-your-team-know-how-to-handle-a-crisis/

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Fantastic Turnout for Our "Understanding SQF Food Safety Management System" Class


Thank you to all that were able to join us for the "Understanding SQF Food Safety Management System" class on August 6 and 7! 

To see what other classes Superior Food Safety will be offering in the future, please visit our website: 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Upcoming Courses Available for Registration


All SQF classes are official, advertised by SQF, and provided by Superior Food Safety a SQF Licensed Training Center. 

All Food Safety Preventive Controls for Human Food classes are authorized and posted by FSPCA, and provided by Oscar Camacho a FSPCA Lead Instructor.

The fees to attend these classes are subsidized through a joint venture between Napa Valley College-Superior Food Safety and funded by ETP-Employment Training Panel Program of California.

PRICE PER CLASS $125

August 8

August 29, 30, 31

September 20, 21

October 18, 19

November 7, 8, 9

December 6, 7

January 23, 24, 25, 2019 (Coming Soon)
SQF Edition 8.0 +

January 25, 2019 (Coming Soon)
Internal and External GFSI Audits Workshop

Saturday, August 4, 2018

SQF Advanced Practitioner - A 2 Day Course - October 18 & 19, 2018


DATE AND TIME
Thu, Oct 18, 2018 - Fri, Oct 19, 2018
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

LOCATION
Napa Valley College
2277 Napa Vallejo Highway
BLDG 3000, RM 3004
Napa, CA 94558

PRICE
$125


DESCRIPTION
In partnership with Superior Food Safety, Napa Valley College is hosting this timely and important workshop.

Starting on Thursday, October 18th and ending on October 19th, participants in this two-day course will learn the following:

  • The SQF Advanced Practitioner Course is designed for the current SQF practitioner seeking further information on how to improve and maintain the supplier’s SQF System. Through activity-based instruction, the course provides the tools practitioners need to:
  • Use the internal audit program to manage, maintain and enhance the site’s SQF System
  • Harness the corrective action/preventive action process to identify trends and build continuous improvement
  • Communicate with senior management to fully define the site’s commitment to food safety, and
  • Develop and prioritize key performance indicators to assure continuous improvement of the SQF System.

At the end of this two-day class, Superior Food Safety attendees possess the skill to propose specific strategies by forecasting systemic issues and creating sustainable process improvements within the SQF system.

THE CLASS COVERS

  • Establishing Food Safety and Quality Objectives (Developing SMART objectives)
  • Internal Audits
  • Corrective and Preventative Actions
  • Establishing a Continuous Improvement Program

This workshop has been designed by MSc. Oscar Camacho, who has more than 28 years of experience managing food safety and quality systems. Mr. Camacho’s special insights come from years of first-hand experience in the food industry, and from client weaknesses he identified and solved while providing auditing and consulting services.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Industry Resources on Third-Party Audit Standards and FSMA Supplier Verification Requirements


The FDA released new tools intended to help importers and receiving facilities to be able to compare standards used in third party audits to FDA food safety requirements “Industry Resources on Third-Party Audit Standards and FSMA Supplier Verification Requirements” Three check list were released.

  • AUDIT STANDARDS COMPARISON TO THE FDA PREVENTIVE CONTROLS FOR HUMAN FOOD RULE
  • AUDIT STANDARDS COMPARISON TO THE FDA PREVENTIVE CONTROLS FOR FOOD FOR ANIMALS RULE
  • AUDIT STANDARDS COMPARISON TO THE FDA PRODUCE SAFETY RULE

Sunday, July 29, 2018

FSMA Food Safety Preventative Controls For Human Food - August 28-31 - Register Today!


Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - Friday, August 31, 2018

Cost: $125

Napa Valley College
2277 Napa Vallejo Highway
BLDG 3000, RM 3004
Napa, CA 94558

Register HERE

DESCRIPTION
In partnership with Superior Food Safety, Napa Valley College is hosting this timely and important workshop.

Starting on Wednesday, August 29th and ending on Friday, August 31st, participants in this three-day course will learn the following:

  • Meet the requirements for training under Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations Part 117.155 for the Preventive Controls “Qualified Individual”
  • Learn and understand the responsibilities of a preventive controls qualified individual
  • Learn How preventive controls build on established food safety principles
  • Understand and identify the Components of a Food Safety Plan
  • Learn how to conduct Food Safety Plan activities such as developing and reviewing a food safety plan
  • Provide the necessary skills for validating preventive controls, verifying and validating process controls among others 

Please note that this training event will be held at the following times:
Wednesday, Aug 29th from 8AM-5PM
Thursday, Aug 30th from 8AM-5PM
Friday, Aug 31st from 8AM-12PM

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
SQF, BRC, Global G.A.P. Internal Auditors, Consultants and Professionals looking to register as GFSI-qualified auditors, Quality Assurance Managers and Supervisors, Personnel involved in Production, Purchasing, Procurement, Human Resources, Harvesting, Packing, Transport, Distribution and Sales of Food Products.

This workshop has been designed by MSc. Oscar Camacho, who has more than 28 years of experience managing food safety and quality systems. Mr. Camacho's special insights come from years of first-hand experience in the food industry, and from client weaknesses he identified and solved while providing auditing and consulting services.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

SQF Advanced Practitioner - A 2 Day Course


DATE AND TIME
Thu, Oct 18, 2018 - Fri, Oct 19, 2018
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

LOCATION
Napa Valley College
2277 Napa Vallejo Highway
BLDG 3000, RM 3004
Napa, CA 94558

PRICE
$125


DESCRIPTION
In partnership with Superior Food Safety, Napa Valley College is hosting this timely and important workshop.

Starting on Thursday, October 18th and ending on October 19th, participants in this two-day course will learn the following:

  • The SQF Advanced Practitioner Course is designed for the current SQF practitioner seeking further information on how to improve and maintain the supplier’s SQF System. Through activity-based instruction, the course provides the tools practitioners need to:
  • Use the internal audit program to manage, maintain and enhance the site’s SQF System
  • Harness the corrective action/preventive action process to identify trends and build continuous improvement
  • Communicate with senior management to fully define the site’s commitment to food safety, and
  • Develop and prioritize key performance indicators to assure continuous improvement of the SQF System.

At the end of this two-day class, Superior Food Safety attendees possess the skill to propose specific strategies by forecasting systemic issues and creating sustainable process improvements within the SQF system.

THE CLASS COVERS

  • Establishing Food Safety and Quality Objectives (Developing SMART objectives)
  • Internal Audits
  • Corrective and Preventative Actions
  • Establishing a Continuous Improvement Program

This workshop has been designed by MSc. Oscar Camacho, who has more than 28 years of experience managing food safety and quality systems. Mr. Camacho’s special insights come from years of first-hand experience in the food industry, and from client weaknesses he identified and solved while providing auditing and consulting services.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Developing and Implementing SQF Systems Edition 8.0 - August 6 & 7, 2018


Developing and Implementing SQF Systems Edition 8.0 - 2 Day Course 

August 6 & 7, 2018 
8:00AM - 5:00PM

Only $125!

For more information please visit http://superiorfoodsafety.com/registration.html

LOCATION
Napa Valley College
2277 Napa Vallejo Highway
BLDG 3000, RM 3004
Napa, CA 94558

DESCRIPTION
In partnership with Superior Food Safety, Napa Valley College is hosting this timely and important workshop.

Starting on Monday, August 6th and ending on Tuesday, August 7th, participants in this two-day course will learn the following:

The integrity of the SQF Program relies on competently auditing existing SQF Systems and implementing efficient and effective SQF Systems. Superior Food Safety is a Licensed Center of Excellence that provides added value by giving students:

  • a perfect understanding of Food Safety and Quality Management Systems
  • the steps to follow in order to implement and maintain a solid program that reduces or eliminates risks
  • examples of the most common industry mistakes and how to avoid them for success, and
  • custom made templates of key procedures detailing how to write the documentation required by the program

The goals of the Implementing SQF course are to:

  • Promote an understanding of the SQF Code
  • Create a knowledge base to facilitate the successful implementation of an SQF System

Show how the HACCP-based approach manages food safety and quality hazards in an operation.

This workshop has been designed by MSc. Oscar Camacho, who has more than 28 years of experience managing food safety and quality systems. Mr. Camacho’s special insights come from years of first-hand experience in the food industry, and from client weaknesses he identified and solved while providing auditing and consulting services.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

SQF, BRC, Global G.A.P. Internal Auditors, Consultants and Professionals looking to register as GFSI-qualified auditors, Quality Assurance Managers and Supervisors, Personnel involved in Production, Purchasing, Procurement, Human Resources, Harvesting, Packing, Transport, Distribution and Sales of Food Products.

Friday, July 20, 2018

On-site PRIVATE Classes in English & Spanish and Consulting Services


Classes Available in English & Spanish and Consulting Services

WE OFFER PUBLIC AND ON-SITE TRAINING CLASSES:
  • HACCP Workshop
  • Implementing SQF Training - Version 8.0 - English and Spanish
  • FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Foods
  • FSPCA For Human Food Compliance
  • Produce Safety Rule Training Official Program
  • SQF Quality Systems For Food Manufacturers
  • Internal and External GFSI Audits
  • Crisis Management
  • Gluten Free Certification Program
  • SQF Advance Practitioner Course
  • Prerequisite Programs

WE ALSO OFFER:

  • Food Safety Consulting Services

Please visit our website or send us an email for more information!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Developing and Implementing SQF Systems Edition 8.0 - August 6 & 7, 2018


Developing and Implementing SQF Systems Edition 8.0 - 2 Day Course 

August 6 & 7, 2018 
8:00AM - 5:00PM

Only $125!

For more information please visit http://superiorfoodsafety.com/registration.html

LOCATION
Napa Valley College
2277 Napa Vallejo Highway
BLDG 3000, RM 3004
Napa, CA 94558

DESCRIPTION
In partnership with Superior Food Safety, Napa Valley College is hosting this timely and important workshop.

Starting on Monday, August 6th and ending on Tuesday, August 7th, participants in this two-day course will learn the following:

The integrity of the SQF Program relies on competently auditing existing SQF Systems and implementing efficient and effective SQF Systems. Superior Food Safety is a Licensed Center of Excellence that provides added value by giving students:

  • a perfect understanding of Food Safety and Quality Management Systems
  • the steps to follow in order to implement and maintain a solid program that reduces or eliminates risks
  • examples of the most common industry mistakes and how to avoid them for success, and
  • custom made templates of key procedures detailing how to write the documentation required by the program

The goals of the Implementing SQF course are to:

  • Promote an understanding of the SQF Code
  • Create a knowledge base to facilitate the successful implementation of an SQF System

Show how the HACCP-based approach manages food safety and quality hazards in an operation.

This workshop has been designed by MSc. Oscar Camacho, who has more than 28 years of experience managing food safety and quality systems. Mr. Camacho’s special insights come from years of first-hand experience in the food industry, and from client weaknesses he identified and solved while providing auditing and consulting services.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

SQF, BRC, Global G.A.P. Internal Auditors, Consultants and Professionals looking to register as GFSI-qualified auditors, Quality Assurance Managers and Supervisors, Personnel involved in Production, Purchasing, Procurement, Human Resources, Harvesting, Packing, Transport, Distribution and Sales of Food Products.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Avoiding Total Recalls: Regulatory Labeling for the Food and Beverage Industry


In recent memory, no time has more effectively demonstrated the challenges facing the food and beverage industry than spring 2018. In addition to a widely publicized recall of romaine lettuce, several other companies have instituted noteworthy product recalls. For example:

  • Hormel foods, the maker of Spam, recalled more than 228,000 pounds of canned meat
  • Frozen broccoli products sold at Stop & Shop, Giant, and Martin’s grocery chains were recalled due to a Listeria risk
  • Ziyad Brothers recalled its brand of sesame paste due to Salmonella contamination

While demoralizing for food and beverage manufacturers, these recalls may also be an unavoidable part of doing business. Plants are grown outdoors, livestock lives outdoors, and no method of sterilization or disinfection is perfect. This is why regulations exist, such as FSMA or EU 1169, so that when recalls do occur, companies can efficiently find and eliminate their contaminated products, and then find the point in the supply chain where the contaminants were introduced.

Despite their necessity, food labeling and packaging regulations represent a huge challenge for food and beverage (F&B) manufacturers—and these challenges don’t exist in a vacuum. The labeling and packaging process is already a huge challenge, which includes customer requirements such as branding, cultural and linguistic localization, 2-D barcodes, and more. How can F&B companies enmesh their regulatory requirements with these existing challenges without adding to the complexity and expense of the entire undertaking?

Challenges of the Regulatory Environment
Since 2011, FSMA has been changing the way that F&B manufacturers produce, package, ship and sell food. In a departure with previous tradition, government inspectors no longer form the first line of defense against contaminated or mislabeled food. Rather, food producers and manufacturers themselves must bear the responsibility to implement procedures that prevent foodborne illness.

In short, FSMA will force F&B manufacturers to implement full transparency and traceability within their supply chains. Artwork and product labeling must be used to support these endeavors—ideally, one would be able to scan the barcode on a food package to instantly determine its origin as well as the chain of distributors that it passed through in order to reach your hands. Right now, the industry standard is well below this benchmark.

Right now, a seven-day timeline is the best-case scenario for traceability throughout the F&B supply chain. Although the endpoints of the supply chain—grocery stores and restaurants—may use modern digital records, you’ll find growers and transportation companies still using Excel and paper records.

In the meantime, a new European Union regulation known as EU 1169 went into effect in December 2016. It made a number of changes to food labeling laws, creating a uniform standard for nutritional facts information. Manufacturers must meet minimum standards for legibility, attain a minimum font size, and notify consumers about potential allergens.

Purely by coincidence, a new FDA food labeling law has also recently gone into effect. Announced in May 2016, this rule will update serving sizes found on most food packaging, alert consumers to added sugars, and more. Although these rules were originally slated to take effect in 2018, they’ve been delayed to 2020 for companies with more than $10 million in revenue, and delayed to 2021 for smaller F&B manufacturers.

To encapsulate, F&B manufacturers must now adjust to the following factors:

  • The FDA is becoming much more serious about preventing foodborne illnesses
  • To this extent, it’s begun to demand instant traceability from F&B manufacturers
  • In addition, the EU will force manufacturers to update their nutritional labeling
  • Manufacturers must update their nutritional labels in the United States as well—but differently

Barcodes and labeling already pose a complicated challenge for manufacturers, causing product recalls and packaging write-offs. Putting additional regulation on top of that solves problems in one sense, by making recalls less likely, but also creates problems in another sense—by putting pressure on artwork and labeling departments that are already overworked. After all, regulations alone aren’t the only sources of change and challenge when it comes to labeling and packaging.

Other Stressors on Labeling and Packaging within F&B Manufacturers
Changing consumer tastes, changing marketing methods, and changing technologies all play their role in adding stress to the job of labeling and packaging within the F&B manufacturing industry.

  • New Branding Needs. Packaging drives 36% of purchase decisions, which means that new and eye-catching label designs are always a must. Good design is subjective, however, and tastes change. For example, most Americans are now driven towards brands that are driven towards social and environmental causes. In other words, many F&B manufacturers may soon reorient their product artwork design to reflect this new concern.
  • International Expansion. If EU 1169 is a concern for you, it probably means that you’re selling into countries where English isn’t the only language. It’s easy to make missteps in this realm. For example, it’s possible to accidentally approve poorly translated copy, or to approve copy that’s in the wrong language entirely.
  • New Technologies. In addition to the UPC, many brands are now incorporating 2-D barcodes (such as QR codes), which provide product information when scanned by a smartphone. Although these codes are supposed to provide more information to consumers, only 34% of consumers actually scanned them as of 2014. The challenge for the labeling department is to make these codes more useful and user-friendly.

These new techniques, regions and branding requirements pose challenges. Think about the possibility of approving the right logo for the wrong country, approving out-of-date artwork, or substituting an FDA-compliant label for one that should comply with EU-1199. These things will happen, and they will necessarily lead to recalls. Here’s the question: How do you structure your artwork and labeling departments to minimize these risks?

Minimize Risks with Standardized, Centralized Labeling and Artwork Management
The secret to producing compliant labeling with up-to-date branding and correct localization is to create a system that gives you as little choice as possible. In other words, you should not find yourself wandering through a nest of file folders wondering which asset is the most up-to-date or find yourself developing separate label templates for each separate region you sell into.

Instead, your labeling and packaging artwork should be able to integrate with other business applications and content libraries to ensure your accessing the correct, most up-to-date approved content and assets. In an ideal world, if you start creating a label and select “Spain” as your target market, your labeling solution would immediately retrieve the relevant content for that target market. With the right kind of integrated, dynamic, data-driven solution you can be confident that you’ll only be dealing with complete with approved Spanish-language content for your packaging and your labeling. You would have peace of mind that your solution would generate an EU 1199-compliant nutrition label template, auto-populated with the appropriate nutrition facts. Additionally, if this label is intended for food sold only by a particular supermarket chain, you would feel confident that your solution would retrieve all of the correct content, images and barcodes required for that brand.

Improve Traceability by Replacing Sources of Confusion with Sources of Truth
To ensure accuracy and consistency, your labeling solution should integrate with your “sources of truth,” namely your ERP systems, but also potentially including your manufacturing execution systems, warehouse management systems, and more. You should be able to leverage existing business processes and vital data sources to drive labeling—to avoid replication of data and potential error, and instead automate and streamline your processes.

Recalls may be a fact of life, but using the right labeling and packaging solution will let you narrow their scope—and trace contamination to its source within a much faster window. The fastest solve for this problem involves creating a true “closed loop” for artwork and labeling—a comprehensive, integrated and automated solution to provide accurate and consistent labeling.

Article Source: https://foodsafetytech.com/feature_article/avoiding-total-recalls-regulatory-labeling-for-the-food-and-beverage-industry/

Sunday, July 8, 2018

FSMA Food Safety Preventative Controls for Human Food - 3 Day Course


DATE AND TIME
Wed, Aug 29, 2018, 8:00 AM –
Fri, Aug 31, 2018, 5:00 PM PDT

LOCATION
Napa Valley College
2277 Napa Vallejo Highway
BLDG 3000, RM 3004
Napa, CA 94558

For more information, please visit our website

DESCRIPTION

In partnership with Superior Food Safety, Napa Valley College is hosting this timely and important workshop.

Starting on Wednesday, August 29th and ending on Friday, August 31st, participants in this three-day course will learn the following:

  • Meet the requirements for training under Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations Part 117.155 for the Preventive Controls “Qualified Individual”
  • Learn and understand the responsibilities of a preventive controls qualified individual
  • Learn How preventive controls build on established food safety principles
  • Understand and identify the Components of a Food Safety Plan
  • Learn how to conduct Food Safety Plan activities such as developing and reviewing a food safety plan
  • Provide the necessary skills for validating preventive controls, verifying and validating process controls among others

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

SQF, BRC, Global G.A.P. Internal Auditors, Consultants and Professionals looking to register as GFSI-qualified auditors, Quality Assurance Managers and Supervisors, Personnel involved in Production, Purchasing, Procurement, Human Resources, Harvesting, Packing, Transport, Distribution and Sales of Food Products.

Monday, July 2, 2018

What To Consider When Developing A Facility Food Safety Plan


Whether developing it from scratch or updating an existing plan, ensure that your bases are covered.

No two facilities will have the same food safety plan, as each should address the specific needs of that facility. Before beginning your draft, there are several critical factors to consider. Use the guide below as a checklist to review before starting or revisiting your own food safety plan—the following tips can be applied to all food and beverage processors and manufacturers.

1. Review current legislation that applies to your industry
The food safety sector evolves rapidly. Keep your finger on the pulse of updates and changes, whether current or forthcoming, to ensure that your plan is current and up to code. You can quickly familiarize yourself with guidelines and regulatory bodies dealing with your industry with a handful of excellent resources. Generally, we recommend starting with the FDA website, and from there you can navigate to resources that are specific to your industry. We also recommend you make use of the FDA’s Food Safety Plan Builder to assist you in meeting requirements for Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventative Controls for Human Food regulation.

2. Identify current potential risks in your facility
Once familiar with your industry requirements and inspection standards, the next step is to identify any current potential food safety risks specific to your facility. Be sure to incorporate employees at all levels while detailing these potential hazards or concerns. Oftentimes, employees at the management level will make note of things different than employees working on the plant floor. And the delivery truck driver’s perspective will vary from those of your janitorial team. Aim to build a comprehensive list, noting everything from obvious high-risk areas, to what might be trivial or unlikely facility hazards. The more robust the list, the easier your food safety plan will be to form later on.

3. Consider your facility layout
Your facility’s physical layout often determines what type of food safety plan is necessary. Ask yourself:

  • Does your facility have natural zones?
  • Is it comprised of multiple buildings?
  • Are certain defined areas more high-risk than others?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’ll most likely want to incorporate a zone-based color-coding plan as a part of your food safety plan to ensure that all of your tools remain in their proper location and are used correctly.

4. Review the quality of your current tools
Take stock of your current tools, that includes everything used to make or process your product and everything required to clean the facility itself. Consider the tool quality—are these presentable and acceptable for an inspector to see? Do your brushes have loose bristles? Has your mop seen better days? Tools that are made of low-quality materials or are not in top shape present potential risks for a food-safe environment. Note which tools need to be replaced and perhaps consider incorporating color-coded tools if you have not yet done so, as they are a great way to step up your food safety practices and safeguard against cross contamination.

5. Review and communicate the food safety plan and training procedures
Review your current employee training materials –in particular, your cleaning and sanitation measures and food handling procedures–and hold a meeting to go over current training protocols with your team. Consider the following questions:

  • Are the expectations made clear?
  • Are there references to procedures that are no longer up to date?
  • Is there appropriate signage that can be readily referenced?
  • Is information available for non-native speakers?
  • Are the appropriate channels in place for employees to voice concerns about these training procedures?

Be sure to take notes on each of these items that need to be addressed. One of the most important pieces of a food safety plan – and something inspectors pay close attention to – is that it is properly communicated to all employees. Taking detailed notes as you discuss these procedures will be helpful in documenting your training methodology for the food safety plan and, of course, will help you to ensure that the training procedures themselves are the best they can be.

6. Consider the documentation requirements for your industry.
Your industry might require certain specific documentation for your food safety plan, which can include facility policies, procedures, safety review records, maps and more. Additionally, some governing bodies require that the food safety plan is completed by a certified individual who doesn’t necessarily need to be an employee of the facility. Review all necessary requirements to ensure that you satisfy all of these standards for your next inspection.

Should you have any questions when getting ready to start on your plan, we suggest you reach out to a company that specializes in color-coding tools, as they have experience in creating plans to accommodate all kinds of identified risks and can be a great resource.

Article Source: https://foodsafetytech.com/feature_article/what-to-consider-when-developing-a-facility-food-safety-plan/

Friday, June 29, 2018

On-site PRIVATE Classes in English & Spanish and Consulting Services


Classes Available in English & Spanish and Consulting Services

WE OFFER PUBLIC AND ON-SITE TRAINING CLASSES:
  • HACCP Workshop
  • Implementing SQF Training - Version 8.0 - English and Spanish
  • FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Foods
  • FSPCA For Human Food Compliance
  • Produce Safety Rule Training Official Program
  • SQF Quality Systems For Food Manufacturers
  • Internal and External GFSI Audits
  • Crisis Management
  • Gluten Free Certification Program
  • SQF Advance Practitioner Course
  • Prerequisite Programs

WE ALSO OFFER:

  • Food Safety Consulting Services

Please visit our website or send us an email for more information!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Upcoming Courses Available for Pre-Registration


Superior Food Safety, in partnership with Napa Valley College, is continuing to offer the same high-quality training classes. This partnership is also allowing us to offer these classes with fees starting as low as $150.00 per class.

Contact us by email at info@superiorfoodsafety.com to pre-register and reserve your seat.

July 23, 24
HACCP Workshop for Retail

August 6, 7, 8
SQF Edition 8.0 + Internal and External GFSI Audits Workshop

August 29, 30, 31
FSMA FOOD SAFETY PREVENTIVE CONTROLS FOR HUMAN FOOD

September 20, 21
Basic HACCP Workshop for Manufactures

October 18, 19
SQF Advanced Practitioner

November 7, 8, 9
FSMA FOOD SAFETY PREVENTIVE CONTROLS FOR HUMAN FOODS

November 28, 29, 30
SQF Edition 8.0 + Internal and External GFSI Audits Workshop SPANISH

December 6, 7
SQF Quality Code for Manufacturing

January 23, 24, 25, 2019
SQF Edition 8.0 + Internal and External GFSI Audits Workshop

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Is Food Safety Part of Your Crisis Management Plan?


Don’t let a crisis result in lost revenue, lawsuits and negative publicity.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s been hard to miss the food safety-related headlines of the past month: E. coli in romaine lettuce, Salmonella-tainted eggs, norovirus-infected oysters sickening hundreds, and hepatitis A crises across several states, to name just a few. Since 1993 when an E. coli outbreak linked to ground beef at a fast food chain resulted in the deaths of several children, food safety has been on the radar of most major foodservice groups. Yet, surprisingly, food safety often doesn’t have its own crisis management plan within organizations.

A Single Food Safety Crisis Can Ripple Across Your Operation

A food safety crisis can have tremendous impacts on an organization, leading to lost sales, negative media and social media publicity, unsavory online reviews, temporary restaurant closure, lost wages for your staff, increased scrutiny on other locations, lawsuits and more.

In a 2016 survey of more than 500 consumers, it was revealed that food safety incidents stick with consumers—and that can impact your reputation and your bottom line for much longer than you may realize.
Of the respondents, 62.5% said they were aware of a food safety incident at a restaurant in the last six months.

  • A foodborne illness outbreak isolated to a single location of a chain restaurant would prevent many of the survey respondents from dining at other locations in the chain; 34.1% of respondents said that if they knew about an outbreak at a single location, they’d avoid eating at other restaurants in the chain for more than six months. Worse, 17% said they’d never eat at the chain again.
  • If a foodborne illness outbreak is linked to multiple locations of a restaurant, consumers get even tougher. A whopping 37.5% would avoid eating at the entire chain for more than six months. There’s more disturbing news: 31.7% of the respondents said they’d never eat at that chain again.

Food safety incidents don’t have to be large scale to be significant and get into the consumer eye. They happen every day, in small scale, for many foodservice operations. Think about how the following incidents could impact food safety in your organization:

  • A power outage knocks out refrigeration for a single location for 12 hours
  • A boil water advisory is issued for a large city
  • A fire extinguisher is discharged in a kitchen to put out a small fire
  • A hurricane brings widespread flooding to a metropolitan area
  • A child whose parent asks about peanut allergies is served a food containing peanuts
  • A child becomes ill in a restaurant and vomits
  • A kitchen employee is diagnosed with hepatitis A and continues to work without disclosing the illness
  • A location is closed by the health department for a pest infestation
  • Several locations were supplied with a food item involved in a major recall for contamination

Each of these incidents is related to food safety. Would your employees, from the top down, know what actions to take in each specific situation? Most senior or executive-level C-suite personnel might know what to do, but that type of training often never makes it down to the operator level. When an incident does happen, it leaves location level management and employees scrambling to figure out what to do; often, the steps they take are incorrect, and can even exacerbate the situation.

Just as organizations prepare for other crises—fire drills, food shortages, staffing problems, active shooters—having crisis plans for food safety incidents can help an organization’s players know what to do when a food safety incident occurs. This goes beyond risk mitigation to actually knowing what steps to take when specific types of crisis happen. Proper planning for crisis management includes:

  • Identifying the most likely crisis situations and developing a plan of action for each of them.
  • Identifying who all the key players are going to be in the management of the crises, from C-suite to public relations to individual location responsibilities, and communicating that to all team members
  • Outlining all the steps to be taken in a crisis
  • Building familiarity with a defined plan for operators of an individual location
  • Presenting an opportunity to practice the plan before a crisis occurs (training)
  • Crisis management doesn’t end with the crisis; following any crisis, key stakeholders should review the crisis management plan for that incident to determine if updates or changes are needed
  • What to Look for in a Crisis Management Partner


Crisis management isn’t something to go alone if you don’t have internal expertise on your team. Crisis management goes beyond public relations—it should include training and step-by-step processes for each specific type of crisis. So what should you look for in a food safety crisis management partner?

  • A partner who has food safety knowledge and practical experience in dealing with crisis
  • A partner who has familiarity with the different types of crises you outline as critical for your organization
  • A partner who engages team members and can help you conduct training from the top down

Why Now?

Crisis management should be part of every organization’s plan already, but if it’s not, there are some key reasons to act now. A number of current events are having a substantial impact on the foodservice community, increasing the need for food safety crisis management plans.

  • Hepatitis A outbreaks. States including California, Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana have had a significant increase in the number of hepatitis A cases reported. While this problem doesn’t start in the foodservice community, it does impact it—because as communities see higher cases, the chances of a food handler coming into contact with an ill person and contracting hepatitis A increase. Hepatitis A can be easily spread through food, so it’s critical that foodservice operations have a crisis management plan to deal with exposure incidents.
  • Norovirus. Norovirus-related outbreaks and foodservice operation closures—and the media exposure that goes along with them—have been on the rise for the last several years. Norovirus can create problems for operations in a number of ways, from employees working while sick, to customers getting sick in the establishment, to foods being contaminated with norovirus. Knowing how to respond to norovirus incidents is critically important, as norovirus outbreaks can lead to location closures, costly disinfection costs, unwanted publicity, lawsuits, and more.
  • Increasing turnover. With unemployment rates at record lows, foodservice operations are facing an employment crisis, unable to hire enough workers. This can increase the opportunity for food safety incidents as routine tasks and processes may be “short cut” during an employment shortage.
  • Delivery. The skyrocketing demand for delivery has led chains to quickly put together delivery plans. Crisis management should be addressed as part of any delivery plan, as there are any number of variables which could lead to potential incidents in delivery.

Don’t wait until a food safety incident occurs to figure out your crisis management plan. Start work today to ensure that when a food safety crisis occurs, your team and your brand can weather the storm.

Article Source: https://foodsafetytech.com/column/is-food-safety-part-of-your-crisis-management-plan/

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

We Offer Public And On-Site Training Classes


Classes Available in English & Spanish and Consulting Services

WE OFFER PUBLIC AND ON-SITE TRAINING CLASSES:
  • HACCP Workshop
  • Implementing SQF Training - Version 8.0 - English and Spanish
  • FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Foods
  • FSPCA For Human Food Compliance
  • Produce Safety Rule Training Official Program
  • SQF Quality Systems For Food Manufacturers
  • Internal and External GFSI Audits
  • Crisis Management
  • Gluten Free Certification Program
  • SQF Advance Practitioner Course
  • Prerequisite Programs

WE ALSO OFFER:

  • Food Safety Consulting Services

Please visit our website or send us an email for more information!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Where to Start on Your Company’s Food Safety Program

Whether you’re a start up or an established company, there are many resources available based on the needs of your organization.


It’s 7 am and the canning plant is changing shifts. As the new quality assurance manager, you are looking at your to-do list and realize that the same topic has been at the top of the list all week: Food Safety Plan—a daunting topic but critical for the future success of the business and for the acknowledged safety of your company’s products being served in consumers homes.

Where to Begin?
For many companies, there are already procedures and common sense practices in place for sanitation, equipment cleaning and employee hygiene, to name a few. But that is not enough. As the quality assurance manager, you are looking to take food safety to the highest level, which includes selecting a food safety standard or scheme that will be audited by a certification body in order to claim that all-important food safety certification.
We talk to many start-ups, and emerging and expanding companies that are at the beginning of the certification process or are perhaps fine-tuning an existing plan. To assure success for a company at every step along the way, we have witnessed the most successful companies begin with a three-step process:

  • Assemble your food safety team, including top management
  • Research, implement and document a HACCP Plan
  • Select a food safety standard to guide the process along the way

Our customers use many resources to assist with a start-up food safety plan, to fine-tune an existing plan or to integrate new food products and processes into an existing plan. Here are their suggestions:
Select a certification standard to follow: Companies are best served when they align their food safety program with a recognized standard. Each standard offers a structure to follow, documentation to track, and operational and functional guidelines to address to be “compliant” within the context of the segment of the industry they are tracking.

  • Get organized: Every customer of ours talks about the challenge to get procedures, documentation and their HACCP plan organized. Checklists, provided on the website from standard holders, like BRC Global and SQF, offer details of processes and procedures to review in your own shop. Our technical staff recommends reviewing the published standard, line for line, to make sure your company has all of its bases covered prior to an audit. Many companies compile a digital record, or even a binder with paper printouts of validation and verification records, for documentation of critical control points. Both are acceptable to prove verification to a food safety auditor.
  • Get industry and FDA/USDA advice: John Z, a food safety project manager at a food packaging company in Gurnee, IL started his company on the path to their food safety certificate with information from the FDA website and online conversations with industry colleagues. A large customer was mandating that John’s company acquire a food safety certification in order to continue to do business. That same customer was helpful in highlighting specific areas in a food safety plan that were critical to winning the business. John also reached out, via LinkedIn, to his industry community for advice and was both delighted and surprised at the wealth of information he was able to glean from asking general questions using the online format.
  • Consultants: Consultants can be found by searching the Internet for the industry segment that your company operates in, whether it is food processing, storage and distribution or food packaging. When we asked Bill Bremer of Kestrel Management for the top three reasons to utilize a consultant, he commented:

a. A good consultant can offer the “right-size compliance” for the food safety standard selected and the needs of the organization.
b. The company’s people-resources can be reviewed for additional training, to assure that the organization has the talent in place to handle the verification and validation needed for a successful and comprehensive food safety management system.
c. Consultants are an efficient resource to assist an organization to manage changes in products, processes and regulatory requirements and to update HACCP and FSMA plans. Bill commented that about 80% of HACCP plans he reviews are… like a lot of food, “overdone or underdone!”
Consultants work on a contract basis that can be scaled to the needs of the organization. References are often offered or requested to get an independent voice on the credentials of the consultant.

  • Industry Associations: Most industries have an industry association affiliated with their product or process. Typically a membership-based approach offers many benefits to the members for event participation, resources and shared information. Non-members often can sign up for newsletters or association announcements.
  • State Extension Services: State governments have detailed information and free resources on their public health websites, pertaining to local food safety processing and handling regulations. As part of a company’s HACCP plan to comply with local regulations, these resources are specific to your site and must be followed according to local codes and business licenses.

A comprehensive and effective food safety program is not an option, it is a necessity. The liability your organization assumes for consumer complaints or health safety recalls would be financially devastating to most companies. Your time and effort in designing, implementing and maintaining such a program assures your organization that customers, consumers and your bottom line are protected.

Article Source: https://foodsafetytech.com/column/where-to-start-on-your-companys-food-safety-program/

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Best-Practices Approach to Properly Assessing Food Safety Workers

Effective foods safety assessments address learning behavior and the mastery of skills.

Image courtesy of Prometric

Success Factor 3: Create exams that properly assess the workforce.
Food safety exams give employers the peace of mind that the employees they hire can do the job they were trained to do and help prevent food safety incidents from happening. Equipped with the right training and assessment developed by responsible and qualified companies, employees in the field―ranging from food handlers to food managers―are the first line of defense to uphold the highest of food safety and security standards.

My previous two columns in Food Safety Tech explained important factors that employers need to consider when developing a food safety assessment program. Working with a quality-driven food safety assessment provider to develop the exam is a critical first step. Equally important is the practice of using exams with rigorous, reliable and relatable questions that are developed, tested and continuously evaluated to correlate with market needs and trends.

This article focuses on another key factor that should not be overlooked. In order to properly assess the workforce, exams must reflect best practices for test taking and learning, and be in sync with how the workforce operates and processes information. It is not enough for food safety assessment providers to merely develop questions and exams. A comprehensive exam creation process that takes into consideration technical and human factors allows for a fair assessment of workers’ knowledge and skills, while also providing feedback on exam performance that can be used to adapt exams in an ever-changing industry.

What should employers look for to help ensure that exams can properly assess the food safety workforce?
First, food safety exams should test what a food safety worker needs to know, and quality-driven assessment providers should solicit input from the industry during the exam creation process. Test developers should use surveys, conduct interviews and facilitate panel-based meetings to gather information. They also should invest in close collaboration with industry-leading subject matter experts (SMEs), as well as food handlers, managers and regulators in order to create questions and exams that are relevant. By engaging SMEs during the question writing and exam creation process, qualified food safety assessment providers can pinpoint the important information to be developed into questions and implemented in the exams.

In addition to incorporating industry stakeholder input, it is important for assessment providers to have a comprehensive understanding of the various assessment modalities —from selected response item types, such as multiple choice assessments, to performance-based, interactive scenarios that mirror real-life situations—and select the appropriate modality to maintain test fidelity.

An assessment provider with this level of proficiency can leverage the combination of its expertise and industry awareness to determine the best modality for the food safety workforce. For example, progressive assessment providers are actively investing in interactive, animated, scenario-based assesments because they believe this type of testing might better assess the skills and knowledge required to successfully perform in the workplace while providing:

  • High candidate engagement levels—with real-life scenarios being more relatable.
  • A safe environment for candidates to practice and understand the consequences of their actions.

Another critical component in creating effective exams is for the assessment provider to continuously review the content and incorporate quantitative and qualitative feedback from data and test takers respectively. By reviewing feedback regularly, asssessment providers can enhance the exams and adjust accordingly—keeping the exam relevant to the workforce and the industry. As the workforce and the industry change, so should food safety exam and certification programs. A feedback loop is essential to help ensure that the exam stays relevant to those who work in the food service industry as they seek to prove that they have mastered the necessary principles and skills to protect the public against food incidents. If a food safety exam does not properly assess the workforce, the consequences can be significant, not only to public health and safety, but also to the companies preparing, handling and serving food that could experience loss of reputation, revenue and the business.

Quality-driven food safety assessment providers follow a best-practices approach for creating exams and certificate/certification programs. They demonstrate a thorough understanding of behavioral learning, the necesary job skills and regulatory compliance requirements. A food safety exam that properly assesses the workforce will:

  • Solicit industry input.
  • Incorporate interactive scenarios that mirror real-life situations.
  • Create a feedback loop and adaptable exams that can easily be modified to stay abreast with the ever-changing industry.

While food handlers may be one of the biggest vulnerabilities in a safe food supply and delivery chain, they also represent one of the greatest opportunities to guard against food safety issues. Developing an effective food safety assessment program as part of a preventative strategy will help ensure both public health and corporate long-term business success.

Article Source: https://foodsafetytech.com/column/a-best-practices-approach-to-properly-assessing-food-safety-workers/

Monday, June 11, 2018

On-site PRIVATE Classes in English & Spanish and Consulting Services


Classes Available in English & Spanish and Consulting Services

WE OFFER PUBLIC AND ON-SITE TRAINING CLASSES:
  • HACCP Workshop
  • Implementing SQF Training - Version 8.0 - English and Spanish
  • FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Foods
  • FSPCA For Human Food Compliance
  • Produce Safety Rule Training Official Program
  • SQF Quality Systems For Food Manufacturers
  • Internal and External GFSI Audits
  • Crisis Management
  • Gluten Free Certification Program
  • SQF Advance Practitioner Course
  • Prerequisite Programs

WE ALSO OFFER:

  • Food Safety Consulting Services

Please visit our website or send us an email for more information!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Four Core Principles of Food Safety

Foodborne illness will never be eradicated, but following these principles will help.


As winter ends and summer approaches, most of us will emerge from our houses and start enjoying the nice weather. Even better, hopefully we all will be hosting or attending numerous BBQ’s and get-togethers. Burgers, chicken, salads and the like will be readily available; however, how can we be sure we’re keeping our food and guests safe from a foodborne illness?

The more hands and foods involved, the higher the risk of contracting a foodborne illness. Fortunately, today, we know much more about proper hygiene, food handling and preparation to combat these harrowing outbreaks.

According to the CDC, one in six Americans become ill due to foodborne illness each year. As the fight to combat this issue wages on, there are specific measures we can take to protect ourselves daily. While foodborne illnesses will likely never be eradicated, utilizing the ‘Core 4’ principles of food safety remain a viable approach to limiting its prevalence. This column outlines these ‘Core 4’ principles.

Clean

Infectious bacteria can thrive anywhere within the kitchen. By placing an emphasis on hand, utensil and surface washing, we begin to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. The following are some easy-to-follow cleansing tips:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm running water before and after handling food or using the bathroom.
  • Wash the surfaces of cutting boards, counters, dishes and utensils after each use with warm, soapy water.
  • Use paper towels to clean counters or spills as they soak in potential contaminants, rather than spread them like cloth towels.
  • Rinse or blanch the surfaces of fresh fruits and vegetables to rid of any dirt or bacteria.

Separate

Even though we now wash our hands and surfaces consistently, we can still be exposed to dangerous illness-inducing bacteria by not properly separating raw meat, seafood, poultry and eggs. To avoid cross-contamination, we can follow these tips:

  • Avoid placing ready-to-eat food on a surface that previously held raw meat, seafood, poultry, or eggs. An example would be: Placing your now-grilled chicken on the same plate in which you carried it to the grill.
  • Use separate cutting boards when preparing fresh produce and uncooked meats. This eliminates the spread of any bacteria either may be carrying to the other.
  • Request or separate raw meat, seafood, poultry and eggs in your grocery bags. This eliminates the spread of bacteria in the event there is an unsealed package.
  • Always properly wash the surfaces exposed to these raw items under warm, soapy running water.

Cook

Regardless of how proactive we are with cleaning and separating, we still must ensure that we cook our food to the appropriate internal temperature. Undercooking may result in the survival of dangerous bacteria that could make us ill. Foodsafety.org recommends the following safe minimum temperatures:

  • Steak/Ground Beef: 160°F.
  • Chicken/Turkey: 165°F.
  • Seafood: 145°F.
  • Eggs: Until the yolk and white are firm; for egg dishes warm until 160°F.

Chill

Last yet not least, we must also learn to appropriately chill our food. Chilling is important because it decelerates the bacterial growth process. By mitigating this, it allows us to reduce the risk of contracting a foodborne illness. The following suggestions are encouraged:

  • For starters: Always keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below.
  • Do not over-pack your refrigerator. Proper airflow circulation is paramount.
  • Refrigerate any meats, egg, or perishables immediately upon return from the store.
  • Do not allow raw meats, egg, or fresh produce to sit out for more than two hours without refrigeration.

By taking these principles into consideration, you can ensure the protection of your friends, family and self, leading to better times and memories gained.

Resource
FoodSafety.gov. Food Poisoning. Retrieved from http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/index.html

Article Source: https://foodsafetytech.com/column/four-core-principles-of-food-safety/

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Implement Six Changes This Week to Increase In-Plant Productivity


The old adage coined by Benjamin Franklin nearly three centuries ago rings truer today than ever before: “Time is money.” For food plant managers, there are few greater job challenges than ensuring the kind of operational efficiency that fuels productivity and engenders real profitability for the company.

Every element of the manufacturing process—from supplier intake and product storage to processing, packaging, labeling and transporting—must run at peak performance in order to meet productivity expectations. Factor in the responsibilities of equipment maintenance, personnel management, resource allocation and food safety compliance, and you’re facing a torrent of barriers to increased plant productivity.

Even so, there are some practical changes you can make in order to meet your goals, and they’re not the kind that take months of planning and preparation (translation: more time out of your already busy schedule). The following are six expert recommendations you can roll out this week to increase plant productivity and rectify the inefficiencies that may be hindering your success.

1. Be Proactive

Here’s another valuable proverb to live by: “A stitch in time saves nine.” By proactively addressing quality control risks within the facility, you’re able to thwart more monumental issues down the line, like production halts, recalls and non-compliances. Outcomes like these epitomize inefficiency and often result in severe profitability consequences.

So, what change can you make this week to avert the fallout of a reactive approach? Focus on prevention. It may seem like speed is the ultimate goal, but not if it comes at the price of quality and safety, as oversights in these areas typically lead to damaging efficiency and profitability failures on the back end. Here are some simple steps to emphasize prevention right away:

  • Revise your HARPC to reflect any changes to date, like new employees or equipment sanitation hazards that have emerged; new ingredients that may pose allergen risks; the team’s pinpointing of ineffective control measures; production flow processes that deviate from the documented ones; and evolved compliance mandates or industry standards.
  • Optimize your documentation process by trading in outdated, manual processes for a more streamlined and reliable digital alternative—one that features automated reporting for extracting hidden insights and trends that can be leveraged to improve your prevention plan.
  • Designate a team or individual to revamp the training program, ensuring comprehensive education for employees spanning every department and level of the company. Direct them to develop initiatives that foster a culture of food quality and safety, with ongoing efforts to promote awareness and guidance.

2. Embrace the Value of Technology

It’s not easy to abandon the tried-and-true processes of yesterday and accept a new reality. This is why some plants struggle to meet the demands of today’s highly connected and technologically advanced society. In truth, technology has changed the industry, and the ability to increase productivity in your facility hinges on your willingness to learn the new rules and equip your team with the right tools.

Big data, agricultural tech, management software, augmented reality, digital reporting… the list goes on. These are the types of technology trends that are emerging in the food manufacturing industry and forging a path to immeasurable gains in quality and efficiency. Of course, you won’t be able to transform your entire operation in a week, but one thing you can do right away is open your mind to the potential that can be found in embracing technology. Come to an acceptance of the critical role that digitization and automation plays so that you can identify valuable opportunities to take advantage of them.

3. Analyze Your Floor Plan

It’s impossible to effectively manage your productivity risks without first identifying them. You must be able to facilitate a historical view of disparities in your floor plan in order to determine the areas of greatest risk and/or loss. What factors within your facility are posing the greatest threats to productivity? Consider:

  • Are they food quality and safety deterrents, such as undeclared allergens, detected pathogens, residue contamination, lack of proper sanitation policies and enforcement, mismanaged temperature and moisture controls, etc.?
  • Are they related to equipment failures? Is there machinery that requires updates or replacement?
  • Are they employee elements, like insufficient staffing, human error, misappropriation of resources, subpar performance or lack of training?

The only way to answer these questions is to look at your floor plan holistically, and utilize historical data to identify potential causes of productivity lapses.

Let’s face it, no plant’s processes are perfect, and no organization runs a flawless operation. Non-conformances and inefficiencies will always occur. It’s the ability to focus on these problems and use the data to improve your process that makes the difference between a strong, productive operation and a weak, futile one. Data collection and analysis that highlight hot spots on your floor plan enable you to communicate effectively with your team and execute process iterations that advance quality, productivity and profitability.

4. Print Testing Labels with Sample Details

If your team is manually writing out labels for samples that are collected for testing, there are a number of efficiency challenges getting in the way of overall plant productivity. First and foremost, filling out testing labels by hand requires much more time from technicians and plant workers than is actually necessary. Over a duration, these minutes become hours, which turn into days, slowly eroding the profitability of your operations. What could you save in productivity losses if your workers no longer had to write out labels?

There’s also the issue of often-illegible handwriting and the heightened risk of human error. When the lab receives samples that are difficult to read, incomplete, inaccurately marked or smudged during transit, there are extra steps needed to inquire about and resolve the discrepancies. Otherwise, the lab is left to guess at what they’re seeing, and we can all agree there’s a hefty price to be paid for inaccuracies in this area.

This is a prime example of how food safety software can increase plant productivity. With the ability to utilize auto-labeling for testing samples, all of these productivity impediments disappear. You could begin saving precious time and closing the gap on errors immediately, just by using a smart software solution that enables you to print testing labels.

5. Automatically Assign Corrective Actions

As non-conformances arise in the production process, corrective action must follow. But even with the best intentions, corrective action goals can fall behind schedule or consume so much time and energy that they curtail operational productivity. Without an automated, streamlined approach, there’s likely to be confusion over who is expected to manage a particular action and what they need to do, which precipitates avoidable mistakes and a whole lot of wasted time.

With a food safety management system that allows you to automatically assign next steps to the appropriate individual for resolving a positive test result, there’s much to be gained in terms of efficiency. The right people are instantly notified of their corrective action assignments, with direction on how to proceed. This kind of powerful communication reaps big productivity returns. It also maintains a focus on proactive quality control, the benefits of which we’ve already explored.

6. Use a Food Safety Audit Template

Sometimes it feels like there’s no end to the cycle of preparation required for managing the plant’s continual food safety audits. On the one hand, you’ve got government regulators, like the FDA, USDA and CFIA, heightening compliance enforcement and performing regular inspections. On the other, you’re subject to client-administered audits intended to verify supplier food quality and safety. Then in between the two, you’re tasked with conducting a number of internal audits.

Amid all of this complex data acquisition and reporting, your operations are suffering from the effects of lost time and resources. As each food safety audit approaches, it can be a significant struggle to get everything in order—one that ultimately takes your productivity objectives off course. The key to avoiding this scenario is implementing an organized process, and one of the most effective tools you can use is a standard food safety audit template.

With a comprehensive checklist of categories and requirements, you’re able to systematically address each area of food safety responsibility, survey your team, assemble the necessary materials and pull relevant data. From compiling documents, logs and reports to making visual verifications, a template that facilitates the audit preparation process is a significant productivity booster. It helps you assimilate efforts to:

  • Verify the plant’s actions for analysis and control of biological, chemical and physical hazards, from raw material production, procurement and handling to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of finished product
  • Methodically examine all aspects of the plant’s system for maintaining industry, company and government standards of practice for manufacturing, holding and distributing foods fit for human consumption
  • Review the elements of your supplier verification program to ensure completeness, accuracy and organization, as well as collect proof of your suppliers’ quality systems
  • Compile information that reflects the plant’s approach to enforcing an expedient and reliable recall process

There’s no reason to allow productivity to falter while handling everyday plant responsibilities. By executing some of these steps within the next few days, you can kick start better efficiency patterns and get your operations moving toward increased productivity. This is the direction in which you should be headed in order to develop greater control throughout the plant and turn time into money.

Article Source: https://foodsafetytech.com/column/implement-six-changes-this-week-to-increase-in-plant-productivity/