Minotaur learned recently of a plan by The Safe Quality Food Institute to build ‘unannounced audits’ into their popular SQF auditing scheme for food companies. This has a number of implications for food businesses who are currently certified by SQF or those who want to be. One third of future SQF audits starting July 2014 will be unscheduled and inspectors will simply show up expecting the same information they would during a scheduled audit. Some of the information auditors will require during random visits include:
- Traceability information on all products from your suppliers (one back) through to your finished goods and the customers who receive them (one up)
- A mock product recall involving your ability to easily track products by production date or lot number and communicate with customers about the withdrawal of the product
- A list of allergens used in your products and various supporting information on where they are being stored to ensure minimal risk of cross-contamination
- Product identification of all products (raw materials, WIP and finished goods) to regulatory or customer requirements, at all times (typically this means labels/barcodes)
- Proof of ongoing quality assurance completed at regular intervals detailing accurate product weights, shelf life and measurements
- Ability to quarantine product that’s non-conforming so that everyone is aware product is quarantined
- In some cases, supplier certificates of analysis for raw materials and your certificates of analysis for your finished goods
- A register of finished product specifications detailing what they contain and important traits such as labelling, packaging and quality requirements
- Documents shall be readily accessible ie. on demand
Examples were taken from various levels of SQF, so not all of these pieces of information will be required, but many are part of level two which is what’s required for GFSI certification. The combination of requiring information on demand when auditors are there (which will soon happen at random) with various different records could be a very challenging prospect. Minotaur is working with our existing customers to develop a system that allows you better access to on-demand information on quality assurance and product specifications.
How We Can Help Today
Minotaur’s existing abilities make it far easier (than paper) to keep track of traceability, recalls, product specifications, test results, certificates of analysis and inventory quarantines. It appears that in future, in order to maintain SQF certification, food businesses will need an automated way to keep track of the associated records in order to provide such information on demand at any time. If you’re working on obtaining (or maintaining) your SQF certification, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-668-1284.