Baking & Snack - May 2020 - 100

CERTIFICATIONS

ing most routine inspections on a back-to-basics philosophy including hand washing and employee illness policies that are part of the regulatory GMPs. Additionally,
FSMA asks facilities to review food safety and food defense plans when significant changes, such as the current
pandemic, occur.
"As this health crisis continues and facilities modify
production, hire more temporary personnel and make
other changes, each needs to be reviewed to determine if
new or temporary controls are needed," Mr. Arnold said.
Ms. Burke stressed that facilities should have a clear leadership team dedicated to managing COVID-19 processes.
"Given the speed at which circumstances are changing, the team should meet regularly to review and update the COVID-19 processes as required," she advised.
"The team should be considering government advice,
staff sickness and customer requirements."
She recommended increased emphasis on critical
control points (CCPs). Backup employees should be
trained to manage these CCPs in case of absenteeism,
and best practices should be highlighted for new employees. If bakeries employ high levels of temporary
staff due to higher absenteeism, they should review their
food defense plans with an emphasis on managing any
increased vulnerability.
Moreover, bakeries and snack makers should identify
emergency supplier and raw material approval procedures if they're unable to obtain ingredients from their
regular suppliers and then find different ways of approving raw materials suppliers when audits can't be undertaken. Along with additional testing and inspection,
Ms. Burke said, any changes should be communicated to
brand owners and approved before use, where required.
From a sanitation perspective, keep an eye on pest
control and establish reporting procedures to minimize any infestation or seasonal factors. Additionally,
Ms. Burke urged food producers to focus on preventative maintenance programs since outside maintenance
companies may not have access to the site. And remember to proactively identify equipment that may be at risk
of failure and pose a potential contamination threat.
To protect employees, facilities should have a clear
policy for accepting general visitors and sub-contractors
including service engineers, contract cleaners and vehicle drivers. Make sure they're aware of the plant's rules
for managing COVID-19 and ensure they are not exhibiting the symptoms of the virus.
"The site should also ensure that its operations are
managed to reduce the risk to employees from crosscontact," Ms. Burke said.
These areas may include distribution, warehousing or
even communal areas including locker and rest rooms. On
the production floor, ensure separation during shift starts

100 Baking & Snack May 2020 / www.bakingbusiness.com

Selecting the best-fitting
CERTIFICATION PROGRAM
When it comes to the Global Food Safety
Initiative, bakers can choose from the
BRCGS, Safe Qualify Food Institute (SQF)
and an alphabet soup of other options.
"It's important to first research the
various standards and schemes and also to
understand what your customers use," said
Tammy Svoboda, certification manager for
AIB International. "Your customers will then
want to ask a number of questions to help
determine what's right for their operations,
such as 'Do we want a standard that has a
quality component or not? Do we have a
strong understanding of quality and food
safety systems, or do we need the standard
to guide us?' "
Overall, she said, such certification takes
the commitment of the entire organization.
"The amount of work involved in an
initial certification depends on the current
level and quality of the food safety program
in place but often also on customer
requirements," Ms. Svoboda explained.
"Many customers already require many of
the certification components to be in place.
Therefore, the initial certification is not as
much work. Some manufacturers have also
realized that the second year is harder than
the first, so ongoing preparation is critical."
During certification, companies may
achieve different levels or grades.
"The grade is dependent on the number
and severity of the non-conformities
identified at the time of the audit," explained
Jessica Burke, senior manager, technical
services for BRCGS.
The grading system indicates a
commitment to continual compliance and
dictates future audit frequency."
For example, BRCGS' highest grade is
"AA," which is based on receiving five or less
non-conformities and results in a 12-month
audit frequency. On the other hand, a "D"
grade would result in a revisit within 28
calendar days and an audit frequency of six
months.
Moreover, a "+" in addition to the grade
indicates the site is in the unannounced audit
program, meaning it will not be notified of
the audit date in advance.
"Sites should always aim for the highest
grade as it is a direct reflection of their
commitment to food safety and continuous
improvement," Ms. Burke said.


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Baking & Snack - May 2020

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