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Departments: A Checklist for Vendor Quality Assurance

Large, multi-plant, and international food companies typically have the capital and technical resources to manage their supply chains. Many of these companies have one or more departments dedicated to evaluating, selecting, and monitoring their suppliers and associated raw materials. This is generally not the case for small- to mid-size food processors. In some cases, on-site audits of suppliers to smaller food companies are not economically or technically feasible.

Departments: Avoid Auditing Pitfalls

Food companies routinely conduct food quality and safety audits to qualify vendors both on an initial and ongoing basis. Over the years, many different audit schemes have been developed, resulting in significant improvements in food quality and safety. Recent high profile recalls, however, such as the one involving the Peanut Corporation of America, raise many questions about the purpose and credibility of third-party audits.

Features: Lessons Learned From Recent Recalls

The recent massive recall of food products containing peanuts and other peanut ingredients distributed by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) offers several insights into steps the food industry can take to avoid future contaminations and recalls. The recall also highlights the fact that the industry must take responsibility for safeguarding our nation’s food supply, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently lacks the resources to do so.

Departments: Many Auditors, One Standard

In a perfect world, every food plant would have just one auditor and a single set of audit standards to follow, right? Imagine it—audit preparation would be like studying for the same test over and over. The questions would never change, and your score would get a little better every time. Of course, in the real world, it’s not that simple, for a lot of good reasons. But having multiple auditors with slightly, or sometimes significantly, different requirements can be confusing and can make it...

Departments: Food Safety is all in the Details

We all recognize the importance of maintaining safety and quality throughout the food chain. Unfortunately, many of us do not fully understand that the key to such maintenance is meticulous documentation and recording of procedures and processes in the production, processing, distribution, and retailing of food products. Keeping track of pertinent data helps companies minimize recalls, better manage risk, and more quickly respond to problems.

Features: Wal-Mart's Magna Carta for Auditing

In the 13th century, the Magna Carta (literally “great paper”) changed the course of history, introducing the idea of constitutional rights for all citizens. In the 21st century, a carta no less magna—this one issued by retail giant Wal-Mart—is having an equally transformative effect on the food industry around the world, particularly in the United States. In 2008, in a letter to food suppliers and a press release to the national media, Wal-Mart became the first nationwide U.S....

Features: Auditing Makes the World Go Round

Historically in the United States, supplier audits have been accepted as external verification that a company was producing safe food. These second party audits are conducted either by internal staff employed by retail and food service companies or by auditing firms that can conduct generic or customized food safety audits. Third party audits, backed by certification bodies and typically incorporating stringent international standards, haven’t been widely accepted or utilized in this country.

Departments: Create a “Closed Loop” to Ensure Quality

It was time for the plant’s yearly audit. The auditor was inspecting the plant along with the sanitation manager. After they were done with the walk-though, they went to the sanitation manager’s office to review the records.

Departments: Regain a Competitive Edge with Smarter Hygiene

Food processors and food retail establishments can invest in low-cost employee hygiene technology and deal more aggressively with hygiene solutions such as handwashing, clean hair, clean uniforms, produce sanitizing, proper footwear and effective glove use.

Departments: The Water Audit as a Strategic Tool to Manage Operational Costs and Performance

Food and beverage plants generally focus strongly on two objectives: Producing high-quality product in an efficient and well-run production facility and reducing/controlling costs in the process, while maintaining effective investment planning.

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June/July 2014

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