Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 84

QUALITY ASSURANCE

" DURING THE
PANDEMIC,
INNOVATION
SEEMS TO BE IN
FULL GEAR TO FIND
NEW WAYS TO TEST
FOOD PRODUCTS,
MONITOR
CONSISTENCY
AND ANALYZE
ATTRIBUTES. "

Gina Reo, Quality Assurance
Strategies LLC
Regular product quality
checks can help prevent recalls for foreign
materials.
Christian Lange

specialized sanitation and maintenance companies to
take some of the periodic tasks off their staff such as
HVAC services, forklift repairs, overhead door and dock
repairs, part inventories and ordering, general cleaning/PPE supply inventory and ordering, boiler services,
chemical supplies, building maintenance, floor scrubber
maintenance and flour silo cleaning, " he explained.

Auditing from afar
Travel shutdowns do not make audits any less necessary,
which is why virtual auditing systems have been made
available. British Retail Consortium Global Standards
(BRCGS) has launched initiatives for temporary solutions during the pandemic, and some of these may remain as permanent certification options once the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat fades.
" We have introduced blended audits, which will be
a permanent option for announced audit programs for
the standards, " said Jessica Burke, delivery partner relationship manager, BRCGS. " In this case, the audit takes
place in two parts: a remote online assessment of some
or all of the documentation followed by a shorter onsite
audit. This provides the opportunity for a rigorous audit
but with a reduction in auditor time spent onsite. "
When onsite audits of existing certificated bakeries
are not possible, certification may be extended for up to
six months, she said. Another option, however, is a fully
remote assessment that includes a review of internal audit results, a remote documentation review and video
audit of production and storage facilities.
For this process to work, bakers need to understand
the value of virtual.

84 Baking & Snack May 2021 / www.bakingbusiness.com

Virtual tools have changed everything, which is exactly why Gina Reo, president of Quality Assurance
Strategies LLC, advised that bakers need to be flexible
managing on-site and remote auditing.
" A large portion of the audit is a review of documents
and records, prompting bakers to find more efficient
ways to coordinate, " she said. " Managing these records
with third-party, cloud-sharing documentation services
limits the burden of having these items readily available
for a bakers' customers upon request or during an audit. "
Even as restrictions ease, the comfort of reduced travelling for work is proving to be an aspect of pandemic
life that some aren't too eager to let go of, Ms. Reo said.
It is likely that dependence on remote audits is here to
stay. And going virtual doesn't end with audits as far as
quality assurance goes.
" During the pandemic, innovation seems to be in full
gear to find new ways to test food products, monitor
consistency and analyze attributes, " she continued.
Ms. Reo named near-infrared (NIR) technology for
measuring oil, seasonings and moisture in snacks; rapid
performance analyzers or viscometers for testing wheat
and gluten characteristics, and wireless thermometers
and data loggers for quality checks and shipment tracking as a few advancements that eliminate use of chemicals and titrations.

Resisting recalls
As far as COVID-19 is concerned with foodborne illnesses, bakers may be able to rest easy.
" As recently as February of this year, USDA and FDA
again underscored that current epidemiologic and scien-


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Baking & Snack - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baking & Snack - May 2021

Baking & Snack - May 2021 - Intro
Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 1
Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 2
Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 3
Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 4
Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 5
Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 6
Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 7
Baking & Snack - May 2021 - 8
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