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Monday, 20 January 2014

Merits of a Manual – What Distinguishes the SSQA Manual?

Unlike many solution schemes that indiscriminately impose what they call "standards", 
 SSQA   is a  concept  and an  action strategy 

Like a butcher, SSQA trims the fat.

So Comprehensive, Yet So Concise:
SSQA Provides Tools and Solutions; not Rules and Impositions 

The SSQA concept, by design, covers a broad scope of known, anticipated and emerging considerations within the food industry. Yet, its adoption path is not convoluted to create unnecessary confusion. Section 2 alone covers elements that represent the entire scope of all current schemes including:  BRC, IFS, SQF, ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000, etc. Some challenges such as food fraud  that are currently treated as emerging issues are addressed as a matter of routine through the ordinary adoption of the SSQA concept.

This example of how food fraud is addressed applies to similar threats that may emerge in the future. The different strategies within the SSQA concept act as a collaborative sweeping force that brings under control anything threatening to interfere with the assurance of food safety and quality.  

In spite of the comprehensive coverage, its adoption has been made refreshingly simple and attainable to any operation of any size anywhere. Part of the simplicity comes from the elimination of unnecessary administrative rules and protocols that have nothing to do with the actual assurance of food safety and quality. Instead of creating another system of confusing rules, SSQA provides a basis for action with defined objectives. The rules governing the aim of its use are already in place within the consumer safety and protection laws in every jurisdiction where SSQA concept is implemented.

Other important considerations such as consumer preferences and quality expectations that may not be legally binding are also already enforced through de facto consumer acceptance or rejection of products. Therefore, the SSQA manual does not list a redundant set of rules to enforce what is already enforced as a matter of course. Based on the above understanding, the instructions provided in the SSQA manual are not set out as rules; but as objectives to drive meaningful action. The needed actions could be undertaken through well defined company functions, assigned departmental responsibilities and optional tasks assigned by each operation as it deems necessary. The SSQA recommended functions, responsibilities, and tasks are described in the "foundations" section of the implementation manual. This section deals with organizing for success in consumer protection.

Operations adopting the SSQA concept are not assessed against how completely they have implemented the written content of the manual. Instead, the practical reality of meeting the aim or goal of the manual is assessed. The goal is to ensure consumer safety and satisfaction. In other words, SSQA assessment is not merely that of documentation but of the product safety reality. The simple question is: "How safe are the products after SSQA implementation?"

As a matter of principle SSQA ensures :
  • Accessibility – available online and accessible even to operations that have only one computer and internet access anywhere in the world.
  • Affordability – very low price plus the availability of GCSE-FHP assistance to even small operations that cannot afford to hire a full time SSQA Facilitator.
  • Usability - structured to make it easy to understand and used.
  • Reliability – contains what has been proven to work (e.g. CODEX-recommended operation support strategies based on practical realities, science-based operation control measures, HACCP principles and implantation steps, etc.).
  • Vitality – actively updated with the online copy serving as the most up to date version that is accessible to registered participants.
  • Prorated Implementation – outlining basic, intermediate and advanced levels of SSQA implementation according to the size, resources and assessed risk of the operation with a set minimum of objectives to satisfy in ensuring product safety.
A Quick look at the Table of Content
The SSQA (Safety Security and Quality Assurance) Concept:
Differentiating Features of the SSQA System
Economic Benefits of SSQA
Guiding Principles:
Compared Considerations
SSQA Program Enrolment and Available Support
GCSE-FHP SSQA Program Enrolment Steps:
key SSQA implementation and monitoring Roles
The Three Levels of SSQA:
Table 1: Non-Negotiable Control Objectives/Elements at all Levels
Certification under SSQA
Section 1: SSQA Foundations
1.1 Before and After the Building Process
1.2 Organizing for Consumer Protection Success
1.2.1 Key Company Functions and Responsibilities: (Leave no Duty Undone)
1.2.2 Road Map for Food Safety and Quality Management Success
1.2.3 Responding to Future Challenges and Opportunities
1.3 Management Foundation and Obligation
1.3.1 The Commitment Statement and the Operating Philosophy
Section 2: SSQA Implementation
2.1 SSQA Step 1 – Establish the Departmental and Personnel Responsibility Structure
2.1.1 Departments and Personnel Roles
2.1.2 Retain a qualified SSQA Facilitator
2.2 SSQA Step 2 – Establish the product safety and quality management system
2.2.1 Production, Product Safety and Quality Management Programs
2.2.2 Product Safety (Hazards Control) Program
2.2.3 Quality Assurance
2.2.4 Product Defence & Security
2.2.5 Personnel Training
2.2.6 Good Manufacturing Practices, Provisions & Programs
2.2.7 Contamination Control
2.2.8 Foreign Material Prevention, Detection and Control
2.2.9 Waste Management and Control
2.3 SSQA Step 3 –Team Mobilization to Action through Tracking of Exceptional Success – “Team-MATES”
2.3.1 Tracking of Exceptional Success
2.3.2 SSQA Employee Incentive and Motivation Program
2.4 SSQA Step 4 – Entire Chain Engagement –“Enti-CE”
2.4.1 Internal Team Development and Engagement
2.4.2 Selecting and Enlisting the Chain Partners
2.4.3 Product Failure Liability
2.4.4 Supply Chain Management
2.4.5 Supply Source Management
2.4.6 Preventing Fraud and Other Threats
2.4.7 Fraud Preventing Principles and Approach
2.5 SSQA Step 5 – Failure Analysis and Control Tracking System – “FACTS”
2.5.1 Supplied Material Failures
2.5.2 Food Safety and Quality Deviation Incidents
2.5.3 Pre-requisite Program or Personnel Practice Infractions
2.5.4 Customer and Regulatory Authorities Feedback
2.5.5 Expanded Scope of Incident Tracking
2.5.6 Corrective and Preventive ActioN management
2.6 SSQA Step 6 – Continuing Analysis of Realized Effectiveness and Efficiencies – “CARE”
2.6.1 Audit Program and Categories of Audits
2.6.2 Operation Effectiveness and Efficiency Improvements
2.6.3 Top Management Review Process
2.6.4 Cost and Benefit Analysis
2.7 Operation Risk Assessment
2.8 On-going SSQA Management
2.8.1 Partner Selection and Engagement
2.8.2 Personnel Training
2.8.3 Maintenance of Customer and Consumer Satisfaction
2.8.4 Internal and External Quality Incident Correction and Tracking
2.8.5 System Assessment (Audits)
2.8.6 Maintenance of Access to Regulatory Updates
2.8.9 Paperwork and Records Management
2.9 Change Management
Appendix 1
The Pledge (an example of a commitment statement)
Appendix 2
Procedure Writing Guide
Appendix 3
Function / Department Reference
Appendix 4
Supply Partner Assessment Tool Kit
Appendix 5
Sample SSQA Invitation Letter
Appendix 6
Cost of Quality - Simple Calculation Chart
Appendix 7
Paperwork Reduction Guide
Appendix 8
Change Management: Departmental Approval Guide
Additional Information Resource

Details of how to obtain a summarized preview copy of the manual are provided in this post: Membership Benefit Package

With this SSQA implementation manual, managers could take their operations through a quantum leap beyond mere compliance to new worlds of practical, realistic, effective and successful consumer protection with the attending customer satisfaction.

Give-Away Pricing
Have you come across anything this comprehensive at a comparable price? The GCSE-Food & Health Protection "not for profit" philosophy, a sense of duty, moral obligation and social responsibility compel us to keep the pricing lower than comparable manuals.

Single copies of the manual (in PDF format) may be obtained (without access to the live update version online) at the same price of CAD$75  per copy that is currently offered to SSQA Facilitators. This offer does not require your ENROLMENT in the GCSE-FHP SSQA program unless you wish to do so. You may contact the GCSE-FHP Team to obtain a copy via email:

The current enrolment fees are set at CAD$150 for companies and CAD$75  for SSQA Facilitators per year to access the program guide that is available on-line.

See also the One Good Turn opportunities for obtaining free copies of the manual.

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