Quality Assurance at Asenzya
Throughout the month of August, Asenzya’s Quality Assurance team was hard at work preparing for our recertification audit. For the fifth year in a row, Asenzya has been audited to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Standard, a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) audit scheme. The GFSI is a global benchmark for food safety standards used in the U.S. as a standard review process, established in 2009 after the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) peanut butter recall. Each year brings its own set of challenges to be certified; new consumer trends, new requirements like risk assessments, and updated industry best practices all contribute to the ever-changing face of quality.
Audits & Certifications
Asenzya was among the first companies to be audited to a new issue of the BRC standard. A standard sets forth guidelines a company must adhere to in order to become certified. Approximately every three years standards are given a facelift to ensure they remain relevant with current food safety regulations and trends.
The purpose of an audit is not about finding fault, but obtaining objective evidence for conformity and non-conformity as it relates to the current Standards. Asenzya is pleased to announce that after two full days of looking, listening and checking records, we received a grade of AA, the highest grade achievable for an announced audit.
An AA grade is achieved by obtaining five or fewer minor non-conformities during the audit process. Non-conformities are issued when a requirement within the standard is not fully met. They are assigned as critical, major or minor, depending on the food safety infraction. The amount and severity of the non-conformities received determines the audit grade.
A company’s third-party certification does more than show how well they were able to meet the requirements within the standard. It shows that food safety is a culture promoted within the organization. After all, it’s a misconception that food safety is a task performed only by the Quality Assurance Department; manufacturing safe and quality products is a team effort that trickles down from the top – at Asenzya, the President and Owner of the company is present at all company food safety training courses.
Within our audit experience, we learn what will be the major focus points for safety. Our lesson from the 2015 audit was the necessity of performing risk assessments. A risk assessment is a tool used to address a specific risk and then demonstrate what measures are in place to mitigate that risk.
One of Asenzya’s cornerstone risk assessments is called a vulnerability assessment. A vulnerability assessment judges a raw material’s risk as it relates to a noncompliance with a health, quality or safety standard. Unfortunately, as seen with the 2015 cumin recall, economic adulteration is on the rise; it has become increasingly more important to have safeguards in place.
Asenzya’s vulnerability assessment forms the foundation of our raw material risk assessment, as well as our supplier approval program. Working hand in hand, these risk assessments protect the integrity of the raw materials brought into Asenzya.
As previously stated, quality is ever-changing. 2017 will usher in a new era of quality at Asenzya as we work on becoming compliant to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FSMA presents the first sweeping reforms to food safety laws in more than 70 years, aiming to shift the focus of food safety from reactive to proactive. While already compliant with many of the FSMA requirements, our biggest challenge will come from overseas suppliers as they rise to meet the new guidelines. Asenzya’s Purchasing, Quality and R&D Departments are already working together to approve new suppliers to replace those unable to meet the new requirements.
Commitment to Quality
Asenzya’s commitment to quality is neverending. We don’t aim to shine solely during our BRC audit, but 365 days of the year. Quality performance is our key to success and something we hang our hat on.
Learn more about how Asenzya’s commitment extends to each clients’ needs – contact Chris Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org