My previous post, “How Reliable is Your Supplier’s Non-GMO ‘Verified’ Claim?” raised the question of whether incorrect, unsubstantiated or fraudulent non-Genetically Modified Organism (non-GMO) claims would result in a recall, FDA warning or some other sanction. The answer is found in a greater discussion about accountability and liability within the food industry.

With summer fast approaching, let’s think of this in terms of a carnival metaphor. There’s potential for food manufacturers to get caught up in a non-GMO verification “shell game.” You might know the classic shell game, in which a pea is placed underneath three shells and then they are shuffled around to confuse the player. At the end, the player needs to guess which shell the pea is under. As you monitor your supply chain, “verified” non-GMO certificates from suppliers may be shuffled around in your supply chain and you may lose sight of the “pea,” or an ingredient that is not up to specification. Come one, come all – step on up and find the hot sample. Continue Reading

I’ll be honest – from time to time, I enjoy throwing on my teal yoga pants and visiting my favorite organic supermarket. I love perusing the endless rows of organic and otherwise non-Genetically Modified Organism (non-GMO) products adorning shelf upon shelf. With all of those “verified” and “certified” products smiling down at me, how can I not smile back? After all, like many shoppers, I place my trust in progressive statements on food labels, such as “Organic,” “non-GMO,” “Fair Trade,” “Hormone-Free,” “Allergen-Free,” and the list goes on. Before I leave the store, my cart is adorned with at least three or four items bearing one of these claims. Continue Reading

An integral part of choosing your ingredient suppliers is verifying the safety and quality of the product they’re sending you. Perhaps you work in a quality assurance or food safety role at an FDA-registered facility. Perhaps your facility’s hazard analysis states the ingredient in question is associated with a hazard that requires a supply chain-applied control. Do you know what to do if you’re volunteered to conduct the onsite audit of a potential ingredient supplier? Maybe you’re an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor, but you’ve never actually audited a supplier before. You may be panicking a bit… wondering where to start, yes? Of course you are!

To help with this process, I’ve broken down the seven steps you can take to ensure the successful audit of an ingredient supplier: Continue Reading

When consumers make a trip to the grocery store, increasingly they are choosing private label products over similar brand name products. Over a two year period from 2013 to 2015, sales of store-brand products in supermarkets rose by 2% to total $62.5 billion in sales, according to P.L.M.A.’s 2016 Private Label Yearbook. Offering strong private label products to consumers equals increased sales and customer loyalty for retailers.

Following this trend, retailer interest in improving and monitoring private label quality has also grown exponentially. Retailers are focusing on ways to increase private label quality, starting with how they choose suppliers and following it up with a robust quality monitoring program. These monitoring programs serve to prevent customer complaints and create customer loyalty to the brand owned by that retailer.   Continue Reading

Manufacturers in the food industry face a plethora of challenges today in managing their supply chain. Whether you’re running a global operation or working with local suppliers, you want to ensure a high level of quality for your finished product on a tight timeline. However, that task is easier said than done.

As the compliance dates for the Food Safety Modernization Act come into effect, the industry faces stricter regulatory standards than ever before. Manufacturers need to ensure that, not only do their own operations meet all regulatory requirements, but also that the ingredients from their suppliers are meeting safety requirements. If a manufacturer fails to comply, they could face legal action from the FDA or a product recall. Continue Reading

As a Food Safety and Quality Professional, you have made the important decision to move forward with a software solution to integrate and manage your suppliers’ data, including at-line production quality checks. But the question still looms, “how will my suppliers who need to use the system adapt?” Although the solution may provide you with valuable insights and brand protection by integrating data from multiple sources, introducing new software can be a burden to those who are required to upload their data into the system. This could strain your supplier relationships and ultimately leave you with ineffective data sets because of errors or lack of adoption. Continue Reading

Food quality and supply chain professionals are being forced to make acrobatic decisions on a daily basis to help ensure the safety of your brand and the continuity of your supply chain. As a professional, you rely on historical know-how and industry experience to be able to drive your decisions on both a daily and long-term strategic basis. Operational saving demands, brand safety and the need to be more competitive, all with less and less resources, are just some of the factors that are starting to be expected on a regular basis.  Continue Reading

Is your supply chain keeping you up at night? As a food industry player, have you ever experienced difficulties in gathering the food safety data of your factories in a common format? Or made hazardous decisions because fact-based information was missing? Do your teams have to work hard to consolidate and analyze the information of suppliers?

We get it – managing and understanding your supply chain data is a daunting task. Overseeing multiple applications, spreadsheets and data sets is inefficient, time-consuming and can leave a lot of holes when comprehending the day-to-day operations of your business. Continue Reading