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Saturday, 29 December 2012

Product Safety Auditing – The Robot and the Thinker

Marks of confidence or insecurity that can be shown by a food safety and quality auditor or inspector are demonstrated in these robot and thinker comparisons:

Robot – more likely to be on a  power trip with a "know-it-all" and "I have the final say" attitude.
Thinker – understands and respects the knowledge of audited parties and their input.

Robot - thinks that the audit checklist or "standard" dictates the standard of compliance.
Thinker - knows that the consumer dictates the standard of compliance.

Robot - only looks at getting all of the questions on the audit checklist or "standard" covered during the audit.
Thinker - considers the actual consumer protection outcome of the audit.

Robot - simply goes by the letter of the law according to the "standard" and leaves the risk assessment to the audited party.
Thinker - does actual risk assessment of all observations to arrive at the reported audit judgment.

Robot - sees any observation that the audit checklist does not cover as irrelevant and insignificant.
Thinker – explains the significance of, and/or risks associated with, observations that the audit checklist may not have covered (although these may not appear in the report produced with the checklist used).

Robot – accepts every documented proof (even if it is pseudo-evidence) as the objective evidence.
Thinker – challenges the documented evidence through reality checks to assess the validity of the evidence.

Robot – sees an audit “pass” as proof that the audited party’s product safety system is effective.
Thinker – understands that the effectiveness of the audited party’s product safety system depends on the audited party’s consistency in maintaining effective procedures and valid control measures prior to and after audits.

Robot – counts the number of completed audits as the measure of successful involvement and experience in auditing.
Thinker – looks at real improvements to the safety of products that are delivered to consumers as the measure of successful involvement and experience in auditing.

Robot – conducts temper tantrum audits: (A temper tantrum auditor points to the checklist requirement and says: "it says so right here" without understanding the rationale behind the stated requirement). 
Thinker – assesses findings on the bases of the rationale behind stated requirements on the audit checklist.

Which of these types of auditors or inspectors demonstrate confidence and which demonstrate insecurity? Although they can, if they recognize the insecurity, should audited company representatives take advantage of insecure auditors or inspectors? Many do.
Posted by Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection, and a sworn SSQA advocate.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

From the Chair to All Members and Prospective Members

If you have recently joined this group, I wish to extend a personal welcome to you. If you are yet to join, it only takes a small step with no pressing obligations afterwards and . . . membership is free.

For all of you veteran members, it is only getting better. Please continue to participate to the degree that you are able to contribute and  #inspirefoodsafety. This is a member driven and member led coalition that encourages the industry at large to maintain excellence in protecting the safety and satisfaction of food and health product consumers - we are the consumers. 

There may be doubters outside of the group who are predicting a huge failure for the coalition. The problem with such predictions is the underestimation of what determined individuals are capable of accomplishing.

GCSE-Food & Health Protection is a coalition of well-meaning individuals who are determined to act beyond merely recognizing the need to act. 

The great thing is that members are not pressured or burdened with any compulsion to do things. The actions expected of members are also not excessively demanding with respect to the members’ time, etc. Actions are self-driven and completely voluntary. At the same time, these actions collectively constitute a directed and potent force that will be felt throughout the industry worldwide in due course. Such actions as a member inviting friends and colleagues to join the coalition may appear insignificant to some people. They are by no means insignificant.

There are more opportunities for practical action provided by the coalition. A list of such opportunities is provided here: “Beyond the Rhetoric”.

Please invite others to join the coalition and we look forward to your continuing participation.


Felix Amiri
Chair, GCSE-Food & Health Protection

Monday, 24 December 2012

The Insightful and the Light-Hearted - One-Question for Manufacturers

Here are some suggested single questions by the listed contributors that a manufacturer may be asked to assess the safety of that manufacturer’s products. New questions or questions with comments will be added as these are received from other contributors.

Contributors are acknowledged by name as follows:

Glenn Oster: “Do you eat/drink what you make? And variations on that question. I have heard some very interesting responses to this question and the one that has always stuck with me is when I was at a pizza manufacturing plant. It came time for lunch and I was shocked when they ordered from a delivery restaurant - and they ordered pizza! They said their pizza wasn't really that good.... amazing!”

Fred Reimers: “. . . while it is unrealistic that you would ever assess the safety of a manufacturer's products with one question, I would phrase the question to get multiple answers. For example, ‘tell me in detail why you think your products are safe?’Another might be, ‘Give me a detailed summary of your food safety controls that assure your products are safe.’ The best audit protocols are the ones that ask questions in detail on all the critical areas that make up a food safety program. Let me take this opportunity to wish you and the GCSE staff a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2013.”

Bruce Becker: “Can I see your risk assessment for your food safety and food defense programs?”

Muhammad Zeeshan Zaki: “I would ask "Whether you have food safety system manual? If yes please provide for review and assessment of your food safety system."
The reason behind selecting it a most important and most significant question is that by having such a manual one could have a full scoop of information about risk assessment methodologies, applied food safety controls, documentation system, availability of inspection and testing procedures and overview of traceability system etc. Not having a manual or having a copy-paste-style manual reveals the fact that manufacturer is not organized and not committed about fulfilling basic requirements of food safety management.
Regards: Muhammad Zeeshan Zaki.”

Elhaj A. Elsiddig: “If you requested to do self assessment for your product Safety give evidence Enssuring that?”

Saleh Mulachela: “Just simple question: "when did it start and how often you, your family and relative consumed your own product as primary one?" I do expect prompt and straightforward answer from the manufacturer since it demonstrates honesty and integrity.”

Bruce Becker: “The consumer question is much more difficult because it would depend on the product being purchased. I'm not sure I would want to ask the manufacturer anything, though, but I may want to ask the retailer a question. Like what Mr. Retailer do you do to guarantee the safety of your customers?”

Felix Amiri: “What do you do to make sure every product you sell to consumers is safe for them to use every time?”

Sanja Petrušić: I like the idea of one question for an complicated situation. Thank you . . . for challenge. :) As consumer, same as auditor: Would you allow me to see your processes of making and serving products and meanwhile, how you make sure they safe for use? I whish all the best for all of you! :)”

H Charles Obert: "If I was limited to one question that would give me the best chance to evaluate the efficacy of the Food Safety program . . . I think I would ask to see the syllabus and attendance for the training to identify non-conforming products and corrective actions procedures to be at line employee and managerial levels of the operation as well as the log of non-conforming products.  If the plant has weak instructions and/or no log of non-conforming products with corrective actions, I would suspect the program.
Happy, healthy and prosperous year to each participant.

Sanja Petrušić: Oh, excuse my english. Thank you for the correction. Now I see, I missed the point in translation in second part. I ment "...what makes you confident that they safe for use?" 
Ooo, I need a lot of pratice in english. Croatia has been introduced HACCP, by law, just few years ago. There are ones who are doing things right always (with law, or without it). Buth, there are still many people (owners of restorants, hotels, bakeries...who are decision makers, and can not be fired) who think that it has nothing to do with them, and they are so confident they produce and serve food in the right way (wrong thinking of corse). Therefore, before proceeding with the teaching, we need to find out what are their views and change those that are wrong for food safety. Sometimes the rules, and penalties, or even the law is not enough. Pepole need education, and above all of it, they have to want to be taught.

Dr. Jo Head: What corrective actions are taken to ensure food safety when the product or process does not meet the requirements of your food safety plan?

nazeeha ajmal: Can u give a 100 % guarentee for your product??

Erik Van Dorp: What is % of non-conformity for your finished product for past 5 years regarding contaminants and microbio, basis EU regulations and as per analysis done by independent lab?

Mark Whitehead: My first response was "Why do I only get one question!" Assuming that it's simply an exercise, I go with Erik van Dorp's.

Dr. Jo Head: 'Would a more quantitative risk-based and proportionate approach and reaction to food safety help to promote honesty & integrity by avoiding unnecessary destruction of food that could have been consumed if it weren't for the application of the precautionary principle?' 

Jody Hamabata:  Hello my name is Jody Hamabata and I am new to this discussion board however I have spent 30 years working in the food industry. My question to a food manufacturer would be: List all the steps you have taken in your process to assure your finished product is safe for all consumers. Be sure to address all hazards, biological, chemical(including allergens), and physical. 

Joe Berglis: The one question I would ask is "Do you feel that your food safety is at a level that the general public would be satisfied that you are meeting their expectations?"

Mark Hujdic:  Ask the manufacturer about the verification and validation of the CCP if any

Jovana Igic: Do you put your product on the table for your loved ones?

Robert Roskowiak: I would prefer a question that I am sure that they would answer honestly, if you could find one. Maybe something like "can I have copies of documentation on the 3 times you have been audited?" or better yet "the last 3 audits you have performed on suppliers?"

Shelley Heap: My Question would be how do you ensure that your product meets food safety legislation? Ask for evidence of how this is reviewed and assessed.

 Do you have a certified HACCP plan?

Marc Bohr: In my opinion there are so many things we have to think about (polution, safety, contamination, etc.) in every area of the production. E.g. the requirements for a gasket for food industry is enormous. There are hundreds of possibilities due to a mistake.  But if we talk about safety, independent in which area, we have hundreds of regulations, rules, etc. For me there is just one question: How do we guarantee that everybody stand to the rules by 100%?

Joseph Chizek: As unreasonable as "one question" seems, I think I would just ask for their last third party food safety audit score. Having given and received them in the past it's a good indicator of the company's attention to food safety details.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

SSQA and the Pareto Principle

When will your new day begin?

If 80 % of managers were to adopt the SSQA (Safety, Security Quality Assurance) model right from the start, that would be a strange phenomenon. It would be great but unusual. The Pareto Principle is expected to play out as usual. It will be the 20% of managers who show most of the professional drive who will initially venture into SSQA, and never look back. The remaining 80% will continue to wonder how the 20% are able to do things better. They will only wonder and do nothing or continue the chase around the usual path of fire-fighting futility. 

The safety, security and quality assurance (SSQA) model holds much promise for forward-looking managers. It has cost reduction as well as efficiency and effectiveness maximizing components.

80% of managers are expected to continue the chase around the usual cycle of futile efforts. They will continue to only reactively put out fires without addressing the root-causes. Only the proactive 20% of managers who dare can expect to stay ahead of the game and maintain sustained progress in the assurance of product safety and quality.

SSQA has defined expectations and provides strategies for success. The same things are done today but mostly the wrong way with confused expectations. SSQA holds much promise but only to those who will dare. There is actually nothing to lose. 

Don't  know much about SSQA? Have no worries!
To receive updates about GCSE-FHP SSQA, you may Join the SSQA Development (SSQA-D) Community   – "the SQUAD"

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