The Reality-Based Narrative:
A small frozen cherry processor supplies to a manufacturer of toppings for ice cream and other desserts. The topping manufacturer has an extraneous matter specification of “less than 2 quarter inch pieces of stem and/or pit in a single 20 LB pail of frozen cherries. The Cherry Processor has completed its food safety and quality assurance program development to the point of going for external certification audit at the GFSI level.
In response to the observed instances of non-conformance, the cherry manufacturer added more line inspectors to the cleaned and pitted fresh cherry inspection stations. There had been two inspectors but the number increased to five before the last two instances of more than 5 cherry stems and/or pits in separate pails of frozen cherries. Meanwhile, the cherry processor is proceeding with a third party food safety and quality system certification process. From this account, should these five instances of non-compliance to the supplier’s specification prevent the cherry processor from receiving a third party audit certification?
If the cherry processor goes ahead with stopping the certification process, acquires the automated system, and is successful in eliminating the observed non-conformance, should the topping manufacturer, in spite of the quality improvement success, drop this processor as a supplier because it stopped the third party certification process for more than 1 year?