Welcome to Food Safety Focus, the newsletter covering all things quality and food safety in the logistics industry! RLS recently polled our customers on what matters most to them, and to no one’s surprise, food safety was at the top of the list. Protecting our customers’ brands while maintaining public health standards are top priorities to satisfy the end consumer. We’re kicking off the new year with three tips for maximizing food safety in the workplace!
In the world of food warehousing, ensuring the safety and quality of products is vital. One of the main strategies that successful food warehouses utilize is obtaining food safety certifications. These certifications go beyond regulatory compliance and are pivotal in securing consumer trust and public safety while increasing operational efficiency.
We live in an era of information where consumers are increasingly mindful of the origin and quality of their food. Every RLS storage facility is certified by the Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standard (BRCGS), a leading provider of global supply chain assurance programs. Holding a food safety certification such as BRCGS is a staple that manufacturers look for, as it communicates a commitment to quality and safety, assuring their consumers that the products stored in the warehouse meet stringent industry standards.
While having a food safety certification is an essential piece of the puzzle, maintaining a high rating for your facility is equally important. Once your facility is certified, it will be subject to audits, some scheduled and some unannounced. These audits determine if you uphold the best food safety practices and will give your facility a grade based on categories such as food handling, identification of non-conforming products, and up-to-date documentation within other key elements, including food safety culture.
The highest BRCGS rating that a facility can achieve is AA+ for an unannounced audit, with five or fewer minor nonconformities found in the facility. The lowest rating that a facility can receive is uncertified, with major and critical nonconformities being discovered during the audit. Certified facilities must regularly monitor their food safety practices and stay prepared for any audit to retain a rating that proves a high performing food safety program.
Preparation for a Third Party Audit
Once certified, facilities will be given the option to be subject to unannounced audits. Some prefer having scheduled visits to ensure that the facility is fully operational on the day of the audit, including key leaders being present. Whether you are preparing for an announced audit or staying ready for an unannounced one, here are some tips from our RLS Safety and Quality expert to pass your test with excellence:
- Management Commitment- Related to investing time, capital, resources, adequate procedure development, and a sense of openness to being audited. These elements are vital in providing your auditor a pleasant and smooth experience.
- Employee Engagement- This is important to ensure food safety culture through formal and informal employee training, increasing buy-in from all team members involved, and a strong food safety program. Giving the respective team members these tools would allow the food safety culture to become an actual standard.
- Food Safety Self-Assessment and Surveillance– A good safety program has a periodic self-assessment and can provide constant surveillance to identify procedural changes, requirements from regulatory or certifying bodies, and new risks and hazards that may develop with time.
In conclusion, as we step forward into the new year at RLS Logistics, our unwavering commitment to food safety remains at the forefront of our operations. With facility certifications, rigorous processes, and meticulous preparation for third-party audits, we continue to set the gold standard in the logistics industry for food safety and quality.
Our adherence to the BRCGS standards and our proactive strategies are not just about meeting requirements; they are about exceeding them and instilling confidence in our customers. The forefront of our culture reinforces our clients’ trust, ensuring that the food products we handle are safe and secure and remain of the highest quality. At RLS Logistics, safeguarding your products is not just our responsibility; it is our promise and part of the RLS Diamond Experience.
ABOUT RLS LOGISTICS: Headquartered in Glassboro, NJ, RLS Logistics is a family-owned, third-party logistics provider specializing in value-added cold chain solutions, including LTL and FTL transportation, cold storage warehousing, and direct-to-consumer fulfillment. Founded in 1968, the company has been owned and managed by the Leo family for over 50 years and has grown into a leading integrated cold chain 3PL. For more information, visit https://www.rlslogistics.com/.