09 Tips to Help You Decide Which GFSI Certification Scheme is Best for You Selecting a certification standard is an important step for any organization. You are choosing the rules the organization will need to comply with and in some ways, the standard will shape the food safety culture of your organization. Many companies change standards after discovering their initial choice was not a good fit for their company, that customer expectations have changed, or that there is a change in their food safety culture. A thorough decision results in better preparedness, clarity about what is required, and an indication of the steps to follow. It is important to understand the main components of a GFSI standard as each is different. All GFSI standards have three core components: HACCP, prerequisite programs, and management system requirements. Before selecting the standard that is right for your facility, read and review each option and any supporting information. Consider each of these aspects during your selection process to pick a scheme that best meets your needs. 1. Customer Requirements Discuss your main customers’ needs and expectations. Your main customers may have good insights and be able to share their implementation experience and pitfalls in the process. Depending on who your main customers are, there could be specific needs and expectations. 2. Alignment With FSMA Food companies in the United States and those importing to the US need to be in compliance with customer and legal requirements. It is important to understand how the standard you select aligns with the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Although GFSI does not 100 percent comply with FSMA requirements, it does highly support the effort to become compliant. Determine how selected standards meet, exceed, or fall short of FSMA requirements to help you understand what extra work will be required to attain compliance. 3. Time to Implement Corrective Actions After the audit, your organization is allotted time to implement corrective actions over identified deviations. Some of those deviations will take time and money. The standard you choose will determine the implementation time frame. In all cases, there must be evidence that immediate actions are taken to control non-conformities. It is important to ensure your organization meets required timeline commitments. If corrective actions are not demonstrated, you will more than likely receive a major deviation that increases your chances of certificate suspension. 4. Location and Availability of Qualified Auditors All GFSI standards are globally accepted, but there are different concentrations of available auditors. While some standards are widely used in certain regions, in others it can be a challenge to find auditors in the area. Similarly, all standards categorize food products differently and in some cases products fit in a very specific category where only few auditors are approved to audit them. 5. Length of Audits Every standard has a method to determine the amount of time used to execute the audit. The main parameters usually include the number of employees, the number of HACCP groups (or product groups), and size of the facility. Other factors may include the number of production lines or type of manufacturing processes. GFSI, AIB International 6 6. Scope of Activities Food Safety vs. Food Safety-Quality Among all GFSI standards the common ground is food safety. Quality program requirements are also included in some standards. While some organizations consider both are relevant and important, others believe that compliance complicates the process and may place risks on their initial efforts. Additionally, some organizations have complex and well-defined quality standards that are not a good fit with an externally developed standard. 7. Audit Frequency All GFSI standards require annual audits. At each audit, it is required that compliance with all applicable clauses is evaluated. What is not mandated by GFSI are the actions for low performance. Keep this consideration in mind as the frequency may affect your audit budget. 8. Unannounced Audits In an effort to ensure audits capture a company’s performance in normal conditions and increase their level of compliance at all times, GFSI requires that all standards provide the option to receive unannounced audits. These differences in standards may conflict with customer requirements. Confirm your customers’ expectations early in your selection process, as some retailers require unannounced audits by default. 9. Bundle of Requirements Food safety compliance is more than likely the main interest of your company and your customers. There are other topics that may be of concern for you or your customers including: sustainability, gluten-free, trade of products, organic, animal feed, FSMA readiness, etc. Some standards have been structured to meet food safety/quality but nothing else, while others may allow you to cover multiple needs in the same visit to reduce costs and meet several customer or internal needs in a single visit. For additional questions or details about standard requirements, contact AIBI Certification Services, a separate organization and auditing partner of AIB International, at email@example.com.
5 Reasons Your Product Quality May Be Stale We’ve all experienced stale cookies, crackers, and bread that have lingered a little too long in our pantries. But what happens when those products stale before what’s reasonably acceptable? Discover 5 common reasons why your product quality may be stale. 5 Discover more essential baking tips in AIB’s week-long Foundations: All About Baking course. Explore key baking equipment, learn essential production steps, and be able to use ingredients and methods common in today’s bakeries to produce pan and hearth breads, tortillas, cakes, cinnamon rolls, and doughnuts. 1. Overbaked Check the internal temperature of product exiting the oven. An oven thermal profiler may be needed to determine that 200˚F (93°C) is achieved with only 15% of bake time remaining. 2. Cooled too long Check the internal temperature in the wrapping room. If not cool enough, cooling time may need to be extended. 3. Under absorbed Check that cleanup time is on target for optimum absorption. If cleanup time is delayed, the dough is over absorbed. Cleaning up too quickly signals under absorption. 4. Low softener/enzyme levels Verify that the amount of softeners/enzymes is correct. 5. Not enough fat or oil Ensure that the fat/oil levels meet the standard. If oil is being metered to the mixer, calibrate the meter on a regular basis to ensure accuracy. “The All About Baking class is designed specifically for people who aren’t necessarily bakers, but need to know the basics to do their jobs better”, said Baking & Snack’s Matt Hamer. “With less than a year’s experience under my belt I was excited to jump in to this all extensive crash course. My biggest takeaway for the day was finally getting the full linear process of baking lined up for me – from the formulation stage all the way down to bagging.” Join the All About Baking fan club today! Foundations: All About Baking October 15-19 Manhattan, Kansas REGISTER NOW! tiny.cc/2018q1m3 All About Baking Feature, AIB International - 7