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Surviving Close Encounters with the Committee

Food safety and quality management systems are a necessity if you are going to satisfy customer and regulatory requirements and meet corporate performance goals. While it is easy enough to review current best practices in food safety and quality systems and choose the options that will meet your compliance and performance needs, getting project sign off and budget approval from management committees can be an entirely different matter.

Much of that challenge comes from communication problems between two cultures, the technical and operational staff who develop the proposal and management who must understand it and sign off. The technical staff is most comfortable and fluent with the technical discussion. Management is fluent in the language of business and finance and evaluates the project in the context of corporate goals and ROI. Never were two groups more likely to have a failure to communicate.  

How do you reconcile the two groups to make the project happen?

Several proposal strategies have been used to bridge the gap and move forward to get the job done. The article “Justifying the Manufacturing Intelligence Project examines the most common strategies, where they work and how to maximize your chance of success.


Audit Analytics

audit analytics - swab sampleThe data gathered from food safety operational audits and inspections frequently goes no further than the summary report. The process information contained in this data can and should be used in continuous improvement programs.

On August 1, Dr. John Surak, Surak Associates, and Jeffery Cawley, NWA, will present “Applying Process-based Analytics to Audit Results for Process Management and Improvement” at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the International Association for Food Protection in Milwaukie, WI. The authors will be available for discussion at poster session P1-138 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM and 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

The presentation will examine how applying process analytics such as SPC to sanitation data provides more effective monitoring of the Food Safety Management System (FSMS) performance. This method also enables effective improvement of FSMS compliance capabilities.

The presentation is the latest in a series of studies on improving food safety by applying SPC and process improvement methods which began with the 1998 article, “Integrating HACCP and SPC”  and continued with such projects as ground beef purchase for the National School Lunch program (see Feast or Famine, “Food Safety in the Supply Chain“).

United Fresh Produce Association Creating Audit Standard

David Gombas, PhD, senior vice president of food safety and technology for the United Fresh Produce Association announced the industry is developing a single food safety audit standard at the 2011 annual meeting. The template being created is designed to be applicable across many produce varieties. http://bit.ly/mTwanI

How Should Packaging Be Addressed in Your Food Safety Program?

The role of packaging in food safety systems and audits seems to be a current front and center issue.  This is probably the result of  food processers working down the list to packaging venders during the last year as they work through their supply chain and what they need for their own GFSI audits.

Rick Stier has contributed to the discussion with his article in the April/May issue of Food Safety Magazine, “How Should Packaging Be Addressed in your Food Safety Program?”   A good comprehensive and pragmatic article.

Webinar – The Impact of New Regulations and Standards on Packaging Traceability

Consumer, commercial and regulatory concerns require an effective track and trace system for all food products. On April 28, David Miller, President, Operations Technologies, will present an overview of the requirements and solutions for food packaging traceability.

Supply chain traceability links the physical flow of products with the flow of information about them.  All items must be uniquely identified and the information made available to all supply chain partners. Successful traceability depends on the design and production of packaging coupled with effective data collection and reporting systems. Mr. Miller will discuss:Dave Miller

  • Industry standards such as GS1 Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) and mpXML
  • Impact of new regulations including the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
  • Technology overview
    • Labeling
    • Data collection
    • Data management and exchange including internet based systems
    • Operational implications and capital and operating costs including consumables

Mr. Miller will present “The Impact of New Regulations and Standards on Packaging Traceability” on Thursday, April 28 at 11AM Pacific, 2PM Eastern time. Register at: http://www.nwasoft.com/PACKwebinar2.htm .

About David Miller

David Miller is the president and founder of Operations Technologies and its Mobia subsidiary. He is an industry recognized expert in technology, inventory management, and traceability and an internationally recognized expert on food traceability. He has been asked to speak before the US Congress, Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), American Dairy Products Institute (ADPI), American Butter Institute (ABI), American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), and American Food Safety Institute (AFSI).

 He is an “Inc 500” award winner and has degrees in Math and Computer Science from Georgia Tech and Armstrong Universities.

Food Safety Audits for Food Container Manufacturers- Recorded Webinar

Major food retailers require food processors to certify their food safety management systems under Global Food Safety Initiative recognized audits. This increasingly has led food processors to extend food safety audit demands to their vendors and require their packaging suppliers to demonstrate viable audited HACCP programs.

How can packaging vendors comply? On March 29, Allen Sayler, VP of Food Safety, Technology & Regulatory Solutions at H. Randolph Associates, Inc.,  discussed GFSI audit schemas and SQF in particular as they pertain to plastic and paperboard food container manufacturing. The presentation topics include:

  • HACCP – Applicability to the Food Packaging Industry
  • GFSI – Concept for the Future
  • SQF
    • The Whys for the Food Packaging Industry
    • Technical Implementation Details for the Food Packaging Industry
    • Food Safety – Due Diligence for the Food Packaging Industry

The slides and the recorded presentation are available at: http://www.nwasoft.com/PACKwebinar1.htm .

Webinar – Food Safety Audits for Food Container Manufacturers


During the last year food processing and food service companies have pushed safety management certification up the supply chain to packaging and container manufacturers.  On February 15, 2011, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) launched a new packaging technical working group to review best practices and define audits in manufacturing food packaging  http://bit.ly/gfsipkg .

In the meantime, packaging manufacturers need to satisfy the supply chain safety certification their customers require. To help clarify the issue and recommend effective action, Allen Sayler, VP of Food Safety, Technology & Regulatory Solutions at H. Randolph Associates, will present the webinar “Food Safety Audits – A Business Advantage Not a Burden” on March 29, 2011.  http://www.nwasoft.com/PACKwebinar1.htm .

About Allen R. Sayler

Mr. Sayler is VP of Food Safety, Technology & Regulatory Solutions at H. Randolph Associates, Inc. (HRAI). HRAI provides technical and management solutions to companies in the areas of Quality Control, Sanitation, Food Safety, Productivity, Shrinkage Control and Preventive Maintenance. Before HRAI, he worked as VP for Regulatory Affairs & International Standards for the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). His regulatory experience includes posts with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, the US Food & Drug Administration, and the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.