The business of food safety and sanitation is a demanding, high-risk business with lots of different variables in play. It’s not only about executing a sanitization plan to keep operations running smoothly on a daily basis, but having higher-level experts documenting, monitoring and planning to stay ahead of the game.
While the safety of end consumers is always a top priority, it is also a business where food safety strategy and documentation can be a major differentiator to establish and expand distribution partnerships. There are increased pressures from buyers who require their own specific third-party audits before making purchasing or partnership decisions, in addition to a growing list of rules and regulations to ensure governmental compliance. Each of those audits have different requirements and documentation that is needed. It is a lot to keep up on for any business, while also ensuring quality production.
Hiring a true food safety partner like PSSI is more than just sanitation. It is about having a team of key experts to serve as an extension of the leadership and sales teams to help brands go beyond traditional food safety standards. This proactive work and positioning is key to what ultimately sets a brand apart during a sales process – brands want to be confident in their decision to hire a processor they can trust to provide quality products on a consistent basis.
PSSI has its own dedicated Field Audit & Support Team (F.A.S.T.) who are leading the next generation of food safety to help its partners stay ahead of the game. The F.A.S.T. group is comprised of highly educated and expertly trained regulatory and technical experts, many of whom have lead food safety internally at some of the industry’s largest USDA, FDA and CFIA processing plants and food brands.
The team was formed by a microbiology-trained corporate account executive and a chemical expert, who saw an opportunity to combine key experts across multiple functions of the business to provide higher-level consultative and emergency action services.
F.A.S.T. serves as a value-added food safety executive oversight group for all PSSI partners. The team consists of microbiologists, food safety specialists, GFSI auditors, regulatory compliance experts, who work together with individual sanitation teams across the country.
The team is not only the first on the scene to troubleshoot any potential food safety issues and develop action plans for PSSI partners, but they are also touring multiple plants on a daily basis to proactively monitor and consult with partners on a variety of key initiatives.
Audit preparation services alone can cost processors thousands of dollars to hire out to a third-party agency. This comes included as a value-added service as part of working with PSSI as a food safety partner.
Whether it is a GSFI-related audit, or a specialized audit required by a potential buyer (BRC, SQF, etc.), PSSI’s F.A.S.T. provides Proactive Sanitation Assessments to help its partners prepare and ensure positive compliance. The team is deeply connected with all governmental agencies and attends conferences regularly to stay up-to-date on all new rules and regulatory requirements. And in many cases, the team is able to predict and prepare for industry changes before they happen due to the scale of the business and direct experience.
Client Marketing Initiatives
PSSI supports its partners with specific internal business initiatives, such as a shift to organic production, Water sustainability, or Green Initiatives to help consult and adjust sanitization plans appropriately.
Sanitization Process and Benchmarking
F.A.S.T. conducts regular reviews of the SSOPs, Titration and Master Sanitation Schedule at each plan as an internal checks and balances to ensure the sanitation team is delivering the highest level of service. They review documentation to make sure frequencies are correct and recording benchmark data to use in case any issues arise in the future.
Environmental sampling and micro analysis
As part of a regular sanitation assessment, F.A.S.T. will also look deeper into various environmental hazards that can pose a potential threat to food safety. This includes things like air and water quality, plumbing, equipment and other areas the team tests to provide enhancement recommendations or adjustments to sanitization processes as needed. They also monitor and customize chemistry application to help extend the life of chemical products as much as possible.
Training Sanitization and Facility Personnel
F.A.S.T. strongly believes in continuous improvement across the business applying key learnings in a proactive, personal manner. The team provides an enhanced level of specialized training for PSSI sanitors and facility personnel as frequently as possible.
For partners who are looking to potential hire a new food safety as sanitization partner, PSSI’s F.A.S.T. also provides a complimentary pre-sanitation assessment to review the current status of a plant and provide recommendations for future sanitization strategies.
Food safety is about protection, but it is also about positioning your brand for future success. There is a huge opportunity in the industry today to take stronger proactive steps to set your business apart with the right strategy and the right team to manage.
However, when looking for a partner it is important to research the services provided to ensure you are receiving the highest level of service possible for your budget. The proactive steps businesses take today will dictate the leaders as the regulations continue to expand and production demands grow stronger.