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Approved Supplier Porgramme - Part 5

Kevin Stretton - Monday, October 17, 2016

Fundamental concepts – Part 5

This week we continue using the theme connected with performance specifications in your role as a supplier to clients. More specifically, we start looking at labelling requirements & finished product specifications.

Product Specification & Labeling:

• Have we got the correct safety data sheets (SDS) or technical data sheets (TDS) which can be supplied to the client?

• Have we supplied the client with an operating manual and do these instructions include safe disposal at the end of the product’s life cycle? This applies to equipment as well as chemicals that may be sold as part of the technical support in a contract.

• Prior to full hand-over & sign off by the client have we provided training for the client’s employees? This is particularly important where environmental health & safety criteria may be involved.

• Do we use a hand-over & sign off agreement with the client and does this document clearly specify your willingness to provide the special quality of service that makes your organisation stand out from its competitors?

• Have we completed final checks on the product to ensure it meets legislative requirements?

• Is the product correctly labelled for compliance with any transportation requirements & standards?

Approved Supplier Programmes - Part 3

Kevin Stretton - Monday, October 10, 2016

Fundamental concepts – Part 3


As we’ve observed in the food sector having confidence in the supply chain which provides your organisation with raw materials is critical.


The same concepts apply for many other industry sectors where critical control points exist in supply chains & organisations cannot afford failures.


Raw Material Specifications:


    Consider those cases where a client’s specifications need equipment &/or materials and you can only source components from interstate or overseas suppliers.
  • •  How much control do you have?
  • •  What are the levels of quality?
  • •  Do you need rigorous specifications to ensure you do not have errors and upset your client?
  • •  Do you have high quality records for traceability?
  • •  What sort of relationship do you have with your raw material suppliers?
  • •  How much effort, finance & time are you investing in quality inspections & are there better    alternatives?
  • •  How much of the quality control checking are you sharing with your suppliers?
  • •  Do you and your suppliers of raw materials understand each other’s needs and requirements?
  • •  Have we completed checks against legislative requirements to ensure they are achieved & the    organisation is compliant?

Approved Supplier Programme - Part 2

Kevin Stretton - Friday, October 07, 2016
Fundamental concepts – Part 2


There are several major categories that can be considered as useful checks for establishing an approved suppliers’ programme.


These categories can also become useful checks for internal operations where your organisation is a supplier.


  1. 1.  Product &/or service development / innovation
  2. 2.  Evaluation & monitoring
  3. 3.  Raw Material Specifications
  4. 4.  Manufacturing & Service Specifications
  5. 5.  Product Specification & Labelling


Product &/or service development / innovation:


  • •  Irrespective of whether your company is certified to Australian or international standards there    are legal obligations regarding design of products & services.
  • • These legal obligations must be identified and integrated into your design criteria & specifications.

  • •  This extends to the legal obligations of your suppliers.
  • •  In addition to equipment build / construction, are there any service specifications that need to be included in the

        design phases?


    Evaluation & monitoring:


      •  Your clients may request you to occasionally submit evidence and responses to questionnaires that provide them     with a ‘picture’ of your organisation’s level of compliance and management maturity.
    • •  These questionnaires often include important areas such as the extent & type of insurance     protection and procedural documentation for employee training.


    Therefore your organisation needs to: 


    • •  Respond honestly to these questions; and
    • •  Progressively develop your management systems such that each improvement is seen, perceived & interpreted     by the client from  one questionnaire to the next.
    • •  Adopt a similar approach with your suppliers.

    Approved Supplier Programmes

    Kevin Stretton - Monday, October 03, 2016

    Fundamental concepts – Part 1


    In an increasingly complex relationship clients are demanding more from their suppliers and it often feels as though your organisation is the ‘meat in the sandwich’.


    The recent scandals in European food supply chains are a good example.

    So how do you stay on top of these supply chain pressures?


    Some important concepts to remember include suppliers being one of many in a long supply chain and a mistake by one of your suppliers can cost you losses in:       


    1. 1.  Client reputation & satisfaction
    2. 2.  Money
    3. 3.  Time


    Therefore it’s as important for you to be clearly specifying your requirements, developing sound relationships with and investing time in your suppliers.


    Our next set of articles will provide brief guidelines to assist you with understanding what can be done to formalise your system and minimise the risks associated with client & supplier relationships. 


    For example identify what:-


    1. 1.  Your clients will be looking for in supplier compliance
    2. 2.  You can do to improve relationships with your suppliers

    Food in Brief #11 - HACCP: Bacillus cereus toxin detection

    Kevin Stretton - Monday, May 16, 2016

    Food in Brief #11 – HACCP:  Bacillus cereus toxin detection


    Although traditional food borne disease detection & surveillance has provided a sound basis for improvements in food processing, changes in our food supply chain are creating new challenges. These include human behaviours & demographics, international travel, microbial adaptation, food processing methods & the centralisation of agriculture or food production.


    Add to this the complexities of analytical & surveillance systems, variability in microbial systems, responses of microbes to different environments, interpretation and uncertainty of analytical results.


    More recently there have been advances in genetic, molecular & toxin detection methods which can be used to complement and in some cases replace traditional methods.


    Toxins produced by pathogenic bacteria can be broadly interpreted as a ‘fingerprint’ of the causative agent and also used to study or understand the role played by toxins in food poisoning.


    We include some articles for further review.


    Cereulide toxin detection


    Structure of Cereulide

    Quantitation of Cereulide toxins

    Food in Brief #10 - HACCP: Metal Detection

    Kevin Stretton - Friday, May 13, 2016

    HACCP - Metal detection


    The recent product recall by Unilever / Streets (Blue Ribbon ice cream) again highlights the challenges faced by food and beverage manufacturers with the ‘Holy Trinity’ of food safety, biological, chemical & physical contamination.


    Current X-ray metal detection methods are restricted by their capability to detect metal contaminants which are 1mm or greater in size or happen to be in the correct orientation for detection. In complex food matrices, long and thin metal objects may pass undetected through an automated inspection system.


    As a way of increasing the likelihood of detection researchers at the Toyobashi University of Technology have designed a highly sensitive metal detector.


    Rather than rely on a metal object blocking X-rays to create an image the researchers designed a system which causes a metal contaminant to have a remnant magnetic field.


    In laboratory trials detection was sensitive down to 0.3mm and the technology wasn’t affected by other radiation sources or metallic objects.


    We have included some links to the overall concepts & the university’s research material.


    The use of X-rays in food inspection


    Toyobashi University of Technology

    Research Gate

    Food in Brief #9 - NSW Food Regulation 2015

    Kevin Stretton - Monday, May 09, 2016

    NSW Food Regulation 2015


    The NSW Food Regulation 2015 was gazetted on October 16th 2015 and the NSW Food Authority has been promoting awareness of the changes.


    Major changes to the legislation include the licensing of specific businesses within industry sectors.


    • •  Dairy farms, collection contractors, processors & vendors
    • •  Egg industry & / or processors
    • •  Food catering & services to aged care facilities &/or hospitals
    •  Processing or the storage of:


      •           ·  High priority plant products
      •           ·  Meats
      •           ·  Ready to eat (RTE) meals
      •           ·  Seafood and shell fish


    The Authority is using two (2) auditing protocols to monitor industry compliance with the legislation and food standards:


    1. 1  New licensees
    2. 2  Or existing low-risk licensed businesses applying for a high-risk license where RTE meals are to be produced.


    Once companies have demonstrated prolonged compliance they may be permitted to move to a further audit classification.


    Audit frequency is determined by the risk classification and the results of audits.


    We include some links for further review.


    Guidance on audits


    Food in Brief #8 - Carbendazim in Food Imports

    Shelley Inkster - Friday, February 12, 2016

    In 2012 the Maximum Residue Limit for carbendazim in Australia was 10 ppm, Europe, 200 ppb and in the United States, 0 ppb. Australia began testing of orange juice imports for carbendazim after the US alerted them to the high levels found in imports from Brazil.


    FDA Import Alert 99-08 DWPE (Detention Without Physical Examination) shows refused imports from more than 20 countries indicating carbendazim to be the reason from 2012 – 2015.


    The products include: 


    ·         Dates, citrus, stone and berry fruits, juices, concentrates and preserves

    ·         Mushrooms and other fungi

    ·         Bee pollen powder

    ·         Rices – commonly Basmati

    ·         Therapeutic herbs – Echinacea, Golden Seal

    ·         Hawthorn berries and Goji berries

    ·         Pasta

    ·         Candies

    ·         Cold pressed avocado oil

    ·         Prickly Pear and peeled cactus pads.


    In order to minimise potential trade disruption and because MRLs may vary due to Good Agricultural and Veterinary Practices in each country,  a proposal was made to further align the Code with the Codex and trading partner standards. These MRLs were requested by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), the California Cherry Marketing and Research Board, the California Table Grape Commission, the Cranberry Marketing Committee, the Food and Beverage Importers Association (FBIA) and Fruits and Concentrates International.


    Consumer desire to be able to identify the country of origin of the ‘imported ingredients’ in their ‘made in Australia from Australian and imported ingredients’ purchases is driven, in part, by the continued discovery of chemicals and pathogens in food imports. In addition to carbendazim, the chemicals chloropyrifos, quinalphos, propargite, imidacloprid, azoxystrobin, pentachloroaniline, fenubocarb, oxadiazon and biphenyl were cause for refusal  of food imports by the US during 2014 -2015. 


    With imports containing carbendazim, DDT, Malathion, Carbaryl and other chemicals  continuing to arrive in and be refused by the US in 2015, so must debate over the ‘pro’s and con’s’ of imported raw materials and food stuffs continue, in turn, fueling disagreement over the acceptance of common international specifications for safe limits on fungicides, herbicides and pesticides.



    US FDA - Pesticides - Carbendazim Update 


    US FDA Import Alert 99-08


    FSANZ - Food Issues - Carbendazim 2014


    FSANZ - MRLs - Proposal M1008


    FSANZ - MRLs - Proposal M1009

    Food in Brief #7 - US FDA Alerted to Carbendazim in Orange Juice

    Shelley Inkster - Monday, February 08, 2016

    In Australia, in January 2010 a review of Maximum Residue Limits by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority resulted in a ban on the use of the fungicide carbendazim for all citrus fruits.  Studies found high levels of carbendazim caused male infertility. The APVMA later completed a review of the use of carbendazim and removed use on additional crops and turf.


    When an American orange juice manufacturer suspected quality issues with imported Brazilian orange juice in December, 2011 and reported the details to the US Food and Drug Administration, it was discovered the orange juice contained the banned fungicide, carbendazim. Although detected at 35 parts per billion (ppb) the US FDA increased monitoring because American standards were set at 0 ppb.


    In 2012 FDA testing of orange juice imports found levels of carbendazim from less than 10 ppb to as high as 133 ppb with product containing levels of less than 10 ppb being released. Whilst domestic orange juice testing revealed products to contain up to 36 ppb, the FDA sent a letter to the Juice Products Association stating that it did not intend to take action to remove from domestic commerce orange juice containing the reported low levels of carbendazim.



    www.farmweekly - Carbendazim Scare in Brazilian Orange Juice



    US FDA Import Alerts



    IFU - Carbendazim in Orange Juice

    Food in Brief #6 – Microbial and packaging control are equally important

    Kevin Stretton - Monday, August 10, 2015


    In a previous article we discussed the differences between legislated food safety responsibilities and independently audited food safety certification.

    In this article we take a brief look at what those legislated food safety responsibilities are and the significance of packaging.


    Food safety legislation is typically concerned with controlling three (3) food hazard categories: -

    1.       Chemical.

    2.       Microbiological.

    3.       Physical.


    Quite correctly we place a lot of emphasis on the control of microbiological hazards as a way of preventing or minimising the likelihood of food poisoning.


    How often do we give similar importance to the safety of packaging used for food?


    Dependent on the circumstances and if uncontrolled, packaging can be a source of one, two or all three food hazard categories.


    1.      Chemical – what is the packaging made from and can components migrate from the packaging into  the food?

    2.      Microbiological – what levels of hygiene are in place at the packaging manufacturer, supplier, transport and in-transit storage systems?

    3.      Physical – can pieces or segments of the packaging dislodge or fracture, enter the food and become a hazard for consumers?


    In recent examples we noticed several clients who had inconsistencies in their food safety plans: -  

    •     Cordial bottling in glass containers where the glass had not been identified as a physical hazard and there were no controls in place if an incident involving broken glass were to be reported by employees.  

    •     Packaging materials being purchased and imported from an interstate supplier with no monitoring of the chemistry & quality of packaging or the source of materials being used in the packaging.



    »     No matter how large or small your production system may be always check your process to ensure you have captured information in hazard categories relevant to your food or beverage product.

    »     Remember that while your packaging is designed to be aesthetically appealing to the customer / consumer always check that it is compatible with the food or beverage product and won’t create additional hazards.

    »     Your packaging carries your organisation’s brand image and as a marketing ‘tool’ develops the consumer’s trust.

    »     Make sure your packaging enhances the consumer’s experience and leaves a lasting, positive impression of the product’s quality and safety.