Food Safety Certifications with ERP

How BatchMaster applications help customers achieve and maintain their advanced food safety certifications

Today, food organizations promote their food safety certifications from either BRC or SQF as a sign of their investment in the health and well being of their valued customers. In addition, an advanced food safety certification enables forward thinking companies to not only retain their current customer base, but attract new customers, especially those that require their suppliers meet their specific mock recall requirements.

Although BatchMaster Software doesn’t work directly with its customers on their submission and certification processes, our software applications do play an important role in the validation process, specifically in terms of the document management, continuous improvement and lot traceability codes defined in the BRC/SQF certifications.

Here’s a summary of the key BRC/SQF certification codes that BatchMaster applications support:

Document Management capabilities keep departmental records up to date and makes their accessibility, easy and fast, within definable categories or folders in the application. From documents to videos, BatchMaster solutions support the categorization and version control of Quality, Environmental, Safety, and Compliance related assets, specifically for these code requirements. Here are 2 important document types:

  • Food Safety and Quality Manuals. Please note that the processes outlined in these manuals are supported by the various inspection plans, checklists and SOPs configured within the BatchMaster applications (also tied to HACCP requirements).
  • Business Continuity Plans. Documents that address the type of emergency, its consequences and contingency plan.

Product Development processes are accelerated using BatchMaster’s formulation module, which addresses the stages of formulation, from conception to sizing, from sampling to production ready specifications. Quality Tests and SOPs are embedded within the specification itself to facilitate management approval and mandated operator execution. BatchMaster supports multi-level workflow approval processes to ensure management sign off on formula specifications, in terms of their costs, quality standards and production feasibility. Product Development policies and practices can be managed under document management.

Raw Materials Specifications of ingredients and packaging materials can be checked at the time of delivery. Inbound checklists and inspection plans against driver’s documents, trailer conditions, delivered products ensure that the raw materials used in production are of the highest quality standards, which leads to the production of ‘high quality’ intermediates and finished goods.

Finished Product Specifications are defined as a combination of a formula specifications (including intermediates) and a series of packaging specifications. BatchMaster maintains the Item Master in which key attributes are defined, including storage conditions, regulatory and label compliance, directions for use, ingredients, allergens, nutritional and physical characteristics. The inventory records for raw material and finished goods maintain delivery or production attributes, including weight or volume, units, lot number, shelf life, QC test results, Country of Origin, and various certification documents. BatchMaster item, inventory and master batch records provide auditors with detailed accurate reports.

Manufacturing SOPs can be defined in BatchMaster’s SOP library and then added to formula and packaging specifications. Documents addressing process and hygienic control, specifically instructions on how standard operating procedures must be addressed, can be managed via BatchMaster’s document management capabilities.

HACCP Plans involves the collection and evaluation of hazards and unsafe conditions present in the facility. HACCP documentation addresses critical control points and the continuous and periodic applied controls to reduce risks. In addition to the certification documentation, BatchMaster is employed to put those HACCP plans into action with inspection plans, SOPs and checklists against people, facilities and equipment.

Allergen Control Program can be established with document management of how products should be handled in the facility. With integration to USDA and Genesis databases, products with allergens are identified in BatchMaster. Product labels generated at the time of receiving as well as nutritional and ingredient labels generated during production declare these allergens on the label. When planning and scheduling batch jobs, BatchMaster notifies the users of these products so that the appropriate changeover or maintenance tasks can be added to the batch job schedules.

Efficient Complaint Management Program is supported by BatchMaster’s Adverse Event functionality. Documented Complaint Policy and Handling Procedures are managed and configured in the adverse event record structure and workflows. Complaints from customers, retailers or distributors are recorded, then investigation & root cause analysis actions are presented and recorded, followed by the creation of or linkage to an existing CAPA (Corrective Action Preventive Action) record.

Non-Conforming Product Program is supported by BatchMaster’s Non-Conformance functionality. Documented Non-Conformance Procedures are managed and configured in the non-conformance record structure and workflows. Cases are categorized, assigned and tracked, including links to batch production jobs and quality tasks, plus notifications to customers, distributors, and retailers. Non-conformance records can be generated as a result of a customer complaint (i.e. adverse event) or a deviation in the production process. Deviation records are maintained in BatchMaster and address batch job specification or processes that have been altered (e.g. change of ingredients or quantities due to QC reworks).

Corrective and Preventative Action Program is supported by BatchMaster’s CAPA functionality. Documented Non-Conformance Procedures are managed and configured in the CAPA record structure and workflows. Based upon the investigation and root cause analysis activities, the established inspection plans, SOPs and checklists may be updated, including setpoints, tolerances, and retest values, as well as their frequency and personnel assignments. BatchMaster’s CAPA functionality closes the loop on one’s continuous improvement initiative.

Product Traceability & Recall Program focuses on the management of adverse events, product withdrawal, and product recall scenarios. BatchMaster’s lot management functionality auto generates lot number in receiving and in production, as well as mandates the capture of and validation of all tasks associated to a lot-controlled product. The application’s lot inheritance maintains the lineage of all raw materials and finished products, including co-products and by-products. With a graphical bi-directional traceability tool, suspect products can be searched for at the push of a button – from receiving thru WIP to shipping, from shipments to WIP back to deliveries, or anywhere within the lifecycle of the suspect product within the facility – and then have a recall letter generated for a customer or supplier.

BatchMaster applications help food manufacturers demonstrate their compliance to BRC/SQF regulatory mandates in terms of the planning, execution and reporting of food safety and quality, and lot traceability activities. It doesn’t hurt to reiterate that with these advanced food safety certifications, our food & beverage customers can ensure the continued delivery of safe and hygienic food to their customers, while growing their business.