10 Most Common Food Testing Nonconformances

food testing

Failure to meet the guidelines of your HACCP plan is considered a non-conformance. Non-conformances can lead to huge problems for your business, from costly recalls to bankruptcy. With an effective plan in place, none of the following non-conformances should occur. Yet, we see them all the time when conducting plant safety audits. How safe is your operation?

The top 10 most common food testing non-conformances:

  1. Cleaning

    Unclean premises, utensils, or equipment or improper storage of cleaning chemicals can lead to dangerous contamination. Solve this problem by documenting the fulfillment of a written cleaning schedule.

  2. HACCP

    Monitoring is a big part of HACCP plans. If your monitoring actions are not implemented, you won’t be able to show FDA inspectors that you are in compliance. To fix this, be sure to monitor all your critical controls and maintain in-depth documentation.

  3. Foreign Matter

    Outside materials making their way into your product is never a good thing. One potential non-conformance that can occur is the inability to identify potential foreign matter when it has entered into your process. This Food Safety Magazine article offers ways to integrate foreign object detection into your production line.

  4. Product Identification and Traceability

    Whether your products are a work in progress or in storage, they still need to be identifiable. Effective labeling and tracking procedures are essential. New technologies such as RFID make inventory tracking easier than ever.

  5. Maintenance

    Proper equipment maintenance is vital not only for food safety but also for plant efficiency. If your equipment is not maintained to schedule, consider switching contractors or implementing a training program.

  6. Training

    Training is one of the most important aspects of running a safe, efficient food processing plant. If your staff isn’t properly trained in HACCP or your other processes, there are bound to be mistakes and problems. This non-conformance tends to be highly associated with other non-conformances listed here. You can use this PDF from the U.S. Food Safety Inspection Service for inspection methods training on the 7 basic HACCP principles.

  7. Premises, Facility, and Construction

    If your plant’s construction is unsuitable, you could open yourself up to a whole host of other problems. Make sure there are no holes or gaps in your construction and schedule regular inspections. For more information on how to manage facilities and to plan your equipment placement, consider scheduling a plant safety audit.

  8. Pest Control

    Take immediate corrective action to eliminate the pests and then put non-chemical pest control methods into effect. Some measures can be as simple as closing doors. Here are some effective pest control essentials for food processing plants and warehouses.

  9. Verification

    What’s the point in creating verification records if you can’t find them? Be sure to manage your records and reports, so they are quickly and easily located. Here are some ways to make sure your system is working.

  10. Approved Suppliers

    Update your approved supplier list on a regular basis and review your suppliers’ performance regularly to make sure you’re getting the best possible service.

Proper cleaning, maintenance, and pest control should be part of every plant’s operating procedures. These remain very common non-conformances. A food processing plant safety audit can help you determine non-conformances in your plant and manage them with corrective actions.

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