Programs that help retailers and restaurateurs improve the quality of their products are worth their weight in gold, but who has the budget to support them? In this era of big data, it seems that insights and monitoring programs can equate to big money, but how can these insights help improve your operations as a food manufacturer? In particular, a program that tests products early in the supply chain gives your quality assurance (QA) team time to divert a substandard product from heading into the hands of consumers and creating a loss of brand equity. Continue Reading

Supplier verification, as mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), evokes sentiments such as the Russian proverb “trust but verify” or the expression “don’t buy a pig in a poke.” Food manufacturers are now required to monitor the origins of their ingredients closer than ever before. The FSMA food supply chain program requirements expect food facilities and importers to understand the food compliance history of their suppliers. But should firms also be expected to verify the controls of their suppliers’ ingredient suppliers? Continue Reading

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

The term “dioxins” refers to a group of toxic compounds formed as a result of human activity, such as waste incineration, backyard burning and industrial processes involving chlorine. Once produced, they continue to linger in the environment due to their strong chemical structure that is resistant to breakdown. Over time, they make their way into our rivers, lakes and soil, eventually landing up in our food supply. But should you be worried about dioxins in your supply chain?  And if these toxic compounds could be present in your supply chain, what actions should you take? Ask yourself the following three key questions to help manage potential dioxin contamination. Continue Reading

The use of glyphosate, one of the most popular herbicides for agriculture, has become a hot topic in the press in both the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) over the past few years. Legislators, advocacy groups, food producers and scientists have been debating about the safety of glyphosate and on its usage on grain farms, in storage areas and even in our homes. To help food manufacturers understand how this affects their companies, we’ve answered five key questions about glyphosate below: 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