PD_Packaging Digest

Packaging Digest, Spring 2016

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26 BEST PRACTICES // SPRING 2016 www.PackagingDigest.com Packaging suppliers implement proactive food safety programs Several packaging material converters have received formal certifcation of HACCP-based safety programs in their manufacturing facilities, thus adding a level of confidence for their food manufacturing customers. Gary Kestenbaum, Contributing Writer In previous articles, I have expressed disappointment in what I perceived as resistance or low priority on the part of some food packaging suppliers to integrate current, industry-recognized food packaging safety programs into their manufacturing and distribution operations. I made reference to multiple comments I had heard or viewed suggesting lack of understanding or clarity with expectations, risk level uncertainties, disconnects with the connection between food packaging and the latest Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements and similar negative observations. My comments represented frustration with what I perceived as a pushback from some in the packaging manufacturing industry based on the perception that the hazard and safety controls and standards required for manufacturers and distributors of inedible packaging should not or need not be as urgent, broad or comprehensive as those required for implementation by manufacturers of edible products. Now I am pleased to see that multiple packaging converters have successfully implemented HACCP-based (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) food packaging safety programs in their manufacturing facilities, achieving formal certifcation of same. Tese accomplishments are particularly noteworthy and impressive, as the converters not only implemented basic prerequisite standards contained within recognized food safety programs, but took the process to a higher, more secure level by also integrating the HACCP process for identifying and controlling food hazards and conditions within their manufacturing processes. Tus, these converters of food and packaging components are well positioned, within their categories, to provide safe and certifed packaging components to their customers in the "post-FSMA era." By incorporating the principles of HACCP or HARPC (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls) into their manufacturing and distribution processes, these companies send a clear message to suppliers and customers alike that their organizations understand, identify and control food safety and suitability risks. similarities in food safety programs Most manufacturers are acquainted with the concepts of Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing. By any name, these multiple-step quality and waste elimination programs have been embraced and implemented by the manufacturing community, which promises a level of uniformity and practicality to practitioners. When an individual achieves "Coach," "Champion" or a related status level, that position of subject matter expertise follows the person to other locations and organizations. Similar concepts exist for HACCP and HARPC. Just as there are some diferences between continuous quality improvement-related programs, food industry professionals will identify diferences between HACCP and HARPC. I, though, consider the similarities. Tat is, they are both broadly intended to: • Apply a team-based approach to analyze all aspects of an operation or process for physical, chemical or microbiological food safety risks or hazards; • Identify and clarify possible or known hazards and consider actions or steps intended to efectively prevent, catch and control those hazards in advance of shipment; • Trial methods considered at inception to represent efective practices or controls; and • Monitor and evaluate data, then adjust and fnally validate efectiveness in advance of fnal implementation. Other similarities between "branded" quality and eïciency processes such as Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma, Lean and HACCP or HARPC food safety programs include ownership, monitoring and continuous improvement components. Tese programs jointly value individual knowledge, experience and ownership in a facility or organization. Further, they conclude that these resources are aware, involved, in control (to some extent) or responsible for aspects of each process ultimately connected to quality, health and safety. Tose resources have leadership and/or "teammate" potential, with the ability and willingness to continuously observe, communicate, contribute and facilitate improvement. Tese programs are intended to shift from a culture of reaction to a process of proaction. Not every process in a food packaging manufacturing or distribution process is in need of critical control; however, every process is in need of risk/hazard analysis. Following analysis, teams consider and document potential or actual risks and hazards, rate them for frequency and severity and assign a method of control or mitigation. Tis may be accomplished through implementation of standards specifed within all recognized food safety programs (that is, prerequisite programs), the creation and execution of one or more customized control points, or another method

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