WHEN MY NEXT FACILITY CLIENT TOLD ME THEY WOULD BE AUDITED BY THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR OF THE PRIMUSGFS AUDIT SCHEMA, MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS...!@#$%&*...even though I felt confident about the food safety plan. THEN, ON A BEAUTIFUL ROAD TRIP FROM SAN DIEGO, CA TO YUMA, AZ IT BECAME CLEAR TO ME...
THIS AUDIT EXPERIENCE WILL MAKE ME A BETTER CONSULTANT! It will take me out of my comfort zone (not that this industry ever gets comfortable...forever changing!) and every little detail of compliance will be examined. And woman and man was I right!
The facility staff do a great job implementing the company food safety plan! Drains clean and sanitized, floor cracks filled and sealed, rodent traps in place and in good condition, replaced the door seal you can see light coming through, cartons are labeled with all correct coding information to enable trace back and trace forward and all other good practices in place.
So...33 corrective actions later (mostly document details)...WE ACQUIRED AN ALMOST PERFECT SCORE!
For those of you reading this that may not be familiar with audit scoring systems, there is a very important lesson (among 1000's) I learned while working at PrimusLabs for almost a decade; Anything less than 100% means there are things that need improving right away for product integrity. It's not like school when we thought we were doing well if we got a score somewhere in the 90's.
As a consultant and educator of food safety, I must say, my PrimusGFS (GFSI) document writing skills have vastly improved after this experience! A few operating procedures perfected and all staff was re trained on any changes made. We will be looking hard at our www.heavyconnect.com/ HeavyConnect internal audit program this coming year for quarterly implementation consistency. THANK YOU Auditor Molina for making us better food safety implementers!
This year I will focus on how food safety everyday is implemented by my clients and how they communicate this to their customers. It is not always a cake walk. New employees, new compliance requirements, busy seasons and supervisors/managers/coordinators wearing many different hats and changing positions can be a challenge.
Let's travel to a farm visit where a harvest crew is being trained to harvest a new product. Looks neat and tidy right? What can you see that may need improving?
Yes, you got it! Harvested product cartons will need barriers from direct contact with the soil. This operation went far beyond a simple barrier after trialing different methods of harvesting. They purchased new harvest equipment! Cartons are pre loaded onto the harvest equipment platform, built and labeled on the second level, and never come in contact with the soil. After careful handling and a spray of antimicrobial before packing, the carton is conveyed to a trailer that transports the product to a cooler. A large cost to the operation...more efficient, employee friendly, better safety and quality. A good investment!
Another observation while training this crew that is common among new crew members and should be re-enforced by harvest crew supervisors/managers often. Stay in control of harvest tools at every step. From issuing the tools, collecting the tools, sanitizing throughout and at end of day and storing the tools.
How should this knife be worn?
This operation chose cleanable and sanitizable knife scabbards for their employees safety and cleanliness.
After a day in the field, this client has completed an internal harvest crew audit and will work on documenting corrective actions and setting validation review timelines. Job well done!
Here I go, into 2021 after a few weeks with family over the holidays. Well rested and ready to set travel plans for this years on farm/facility visits. This years travel will be more of a routine since I have settled into the full time RV lifestyle and have a solid client base.
Thank you for all your holiday gifts this year. My family and I enjoyed the thoughtfulness! And from your local farms!