Sullivanwnameby Judy Sullivan, WMEP Senior Manufacturing Specialist and Practice Leader

Being prepared for a food safety system audit can alleviate some of the stress that comes with the safety, HACCP, Manufacturing, wmep

A recent Lunch & Lean session conducted by the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership featured Victor Muliyil, food technical manager at SGS SSC North America, who serves as the primary SGS technical contact for food safety programs, include Global Food Safety Initiative-approved schemes and ISO standards.

Muliyil, who is responsible for development and upgrading of SGS food safety training courses, audit procedures and audit team technical management, offered advice on how to effectively prepare for an audit of a company’s food safety system.

One-Day HACCP Session
December 11, 2013

“What we try to do is avoid the confusion that comes with these multiple standards that are going on out there and try to put a little bit more common sense approach to some of this stuff,” he said. “You can’t predict how each (Food and Drug Administration) auditor or inspector is going to work.”

The FDA is finding that companies are unprepared for their visits, Muliyil said.

The FDA can perform a cursory visit to get a gauge of food safety and to obtain information on a company to put into a risk profile calculation.

“They’ve been very secretive about those calculations,” he said. The risk profile of products, where the company is located, how many employees it has and whether it imports or exports its products all factor into the calculations, he said.

“Those calculations will determine the flags that will lead to audits by inspectors,” Muliyil said.

Having a food products recall or any other type of incident quickly moves a company up the audit list, he added.

Key aspects of a food safety system include preparing validation data to demonstrate the effectiveness of cleaning and allergen control programs; competent corrective actions in response to regulatory audit non-conformities and generating evidence for closure; and effective traceability and application of controls for potential supplier generated hazards.

The presentation was followed by three breakout sessions, each providing a more detailed look at areas of focus common to FDA audits in rolling out the Food Safety Modernization Act.

I am presenting an all-day session on HACCP on December 11, 2013.