Some of our European suppliers did not want to blanch to a 5-log reduction
because of the negative effects on the organoleptic characteristics that the increased
time/temperature ratio has on the product. Our task was to help them understand
the reasoning behind the requirement. In the U.S. market, the mindset is to “kill all
of it!” We walked them through the validation study guidelines, certified laboratories
that could perform the studies, and options that met their comfort levels.
Working with foreign suppliers to help them understand the U.S. domestic market can be a challenge. Creating a working relationship with the management team
of the foreign supplier is a positive means to gain an understanding of each other’s
concerns and build trust.
If you’ve made it this far into the article, I want to thank you by leaving you
with a brief summation of what I believe to be the pillars of a successful program. 1.
Evaluate your suppliers’ preventive controls thoroughly in their factory. Remember
Chuck Regan’s quote: “If you’re going to buy meat, you better have bloody boots,
and if you’re going to buy fish, you better stink.” 2. Your supplier must have the
capability to manufacture to your customers’ specifications. Remember the quote
from Dale Rice, D.V.M.: “Realistic specifications, rigidly enforced.” 3. Finally, you
must challenge the validation studies of lethality steps and require pertinent process
documentation. Remember the quote from Ronald Reagan: “Trust but verify.” n
Dr. John W. Raede is the chief food safety officer for National Cortina, an importer of record for grass-fed beef,
IQF vegetables, and edible oils. Dr. Raede specializes in food safety supply chain process improvement, risk mitigation, and foreign materials assessment and prevention.
were not originally intended to.
As mentioned above, IQF frozen
vegetables are in the forefront lately
with a focus on validating the blanching process to achieve a 5-log reduction
for Listeria monocytogenes. One segment
of our customer base is focused solely
on the blancher, and other customers
will accept a combination of validated
process steps to achieve a total 5-log
reduction. We are still working through
the details of the study. Understandably, our suppliers do not want to have
studies performed that use product
inoculated with L. monocytogenes in
their facility and would rather use a surrogate organism. As the IOR, we have
the responsibility to offer solutions that
meet the customer specifications and
are within the capability of the supplier.
Not always the easiest move to execute;
however, with a “quiver” of professional
experts and associations from which to
draw knowledge, we were able to offer
FOREIGN SUPPLIER VERIFICATION
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