Policies: A policy is a statement of principles and commitments that establishes the course of actions and acceptable methods. They are in place to guide senior management decision making to achieve company goals, both in the present and the future. The food safety policy must come from, and be signed, by senior management, who is also responsible for allocating appropriate resources in order to enforce the companys policies.
Specifications: Specifications are an exact statement of the particular characteristics or attributes required to comply with applicable regulations, as well as the customers needs and the company’s performance standards regarding a good; method; material; process; work; or, system. Specifications must be written in a fashion that allows them to be measured and evaluated to determine the degree of compliance by the manufacturer.
Procedure: Usually, this document describes routine activities that require different functions, from the simple to the complex, and possibly involves several participating parties to meet its accomplishment. A procedure consists of a series of steps that must be followed in a regular, definite sequence in order to achieve consistent results every time. The following elements are usually included in written procedures: title of the procedure; objective; scope of work; definitions; references; responsible parties; materials and equipment; activities description; and, register.
Work Instructions or Standard Operating Procedures (SOP): SOP’s are fixed, step-by-step actions, with definite start and end points. These instructions must be followed in the same order to perform the specific tasks correctly, thereby assuring consistent results every time.
Forms and Registers: A form is a document designed to collect objective data generated from a process or activity. Once a form has been filled out, it becomes a register.
Documents aid in a company’s ability to organize itself, it’s processes, and to pass audits. The larger the firm, the greater becomes the need for documenting its systems. Note, there is no time like the present; pressure is on the food industry to develop GSFI approved standards; customers are savvy; and regulatory entities call for formalizing and documenting food safety management. For assistance or further information, please call DFA at (916)561-5900.