FS & RD Consulting
Food Safety And Research and Development Consulting

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose an external consultant? Why can't I just complete the  work myself?

By using an external consultant you are able to capitalize on their knowledge and expertise. This will make the development and implementation more efficient. And it won't impose additional stress on your existing team. Having an expert who can focus all of their energies on the work will make the process more efficient. And at the end of it, you will have an effective program, and you reduce the risk of errors that could have happened if you did things yourself.

What sets us apart from other consulting services?

Our expertise covers a breadth of knowledge across both Research and Development as well as Food Safety.  As our experience spans both large and small companies we ensure that any program that we develop for you is the right size for you while still ensuring that it meets the needs of the regulators. A food safety program for a large company looks different than it does for a company that may only have one QA Tech to support it. In order to make a program work for a smaller company it is important that there is flexibility in the approach and for a larger company it is important to meet the needs of all of the stakeholders. No matter the size of the company you can have a program that works for you!

Do you specialize in certain production areas?

We specialize in Food Safety as well as Research and Development. 

We support a variety of food safety programs which include HACCP and GFSI programs. We are capable not only of assisting you with these programs but also auditing - preparing for a 3rd party audit or completing your internal audit for you. We can put together your validation studies for you to ensure that your prerequisite programs or critical control points have been validated thoroughly.

Our expertise within R&D runs the full gamut...... from start to finish of product development. We can assist by implementing a stage gate or portfolio management process which ensures that only the right projects / products make it to market. We can develop the product for you that will meet both yours and the consumers needs. By benchmarking other products that are on the market we can determine what attributes are the most sought after and we can then develop the product to maximize on these attributes.

Can you describe the process you use when you implement or improve a program whether it is food safety or research and development? 

The first step is typically a gap analysis. A review of the existing program and people is completed and we determine what additional steps need to be added into the existing program.

We then create and implement all of the additional procedures required to fill in the gaps. Individuals that will be responsible for these new procedures will be fully trained on them.

Once everything is implemented and the individuals are trained, we then verify that these steps are working accurately and effectively. If necessary, adjustments or retraining will be done to ensure that it remains effective.

Can you describe the process you use to develop a new product?

Product development can happen a couple of ways. If there is an existing product or products that we are trying to replicate we reverse engineer a recipe by reviewing the "gold standard". Reviewing its ingredient declaration and nutrition information, we will put together a starter formulation. We then run bench-top trials if you have that capability, or we can go directly into plant trials. Within three trials or so can we have the original product replicated.

If we are retained to develop a product from scratch, it is a very similar process. We will start from a preexisting recipe and then tailor it to your requirements through the production trials. Within 3 - 5 trials we typically have the product that you desire. We could then perform sensory analysis (if desired) to see how well this product meets the consumers needs.

What types of auditing are you capable of doing?

We are capable of performing a few different types of audits.

We can perform a pre-audit, that would be held approximately 6 - 8 weeks before you would be having a GFSI, FSMA, or Good Importing Practices audit. This audit would be done ahead of your actual audit to assist in identifying any non-conformances or gaps that could be identified within your audit. We can then assist you with an action plan to remedy the issues identified. You will then be more prepared for the audit that you will be undergoing with the regulators.

We can perform your internal audit for you. In short, If you are a smaller company and don't have the manpower, or if you don't have enough trained internal auditors, we can come in and review your GFSI program for you. We can review sections of your program on a monthly basis and provide you with an action plan that identifies your non-conformances. We will then monitor that these are corrected on a timely basis. We will ensure that your entire internal audit is completed prior to your GFSI audit.

We can also assist you with putting together your own internal auditing program. We can train individuals within your organization to perform auditing functions. We can assist you with putting together the schedule for your program and we can review it on a regular basis to ensure that it is running smoothly.

What do you do when implementing a validation study?

When implementing a validation study I use six sigma principles. First, I look at what validation study is needed. For example, if I were putting together a validation study on an oven. I would review the different factors that may affect the study and then try and limit them. If I can't limit them than I would make sure that I incorporate them into the study, thus ensuring that I've captured all scenarios. For instance, I would need to look at a full oven, a partial oven, different cook cycles, different operators, possibly different external environmental conditions. ie. humidity in the air around the oven could impact the cooking of the product. You then design the experiment to capture all of these factors. You identify a multitude of spots in the oven to determine whether there are cold spots in the oven. By rotating these spots around and capturing a variety of different products, different operators and different times of day you will capture all of the variables. Then, by analyzing the finished data you will be able to determine if there are any cold spots and where they are located.

When do you use a challenge study?

A challenge study is most often used when you need to study microbiological pathogens that can't be done within your facility. When you need to understand the log reduction that you can achieve by using a given process, then you will need to use a challenge study. There are different companies that can be used to perform your challenge study. For example, you may wish to determine the pathogen reduction (E.coli 0157, Salmonella, Staph Aureus) on your fermented sausage product as it goes through fermentation and drying. By putting together a protocol and using an outside facility (Maxaam, U of Guelph) they will inject your product with the pathogens and then follow the product through your process. You can then have different microbiological and chemical testing done throughout the process to determine the amount of pathogen reduction occurred during your process.

Can you explain your rate structure?

We offer both an hourly rate rate and for larger projects we also offer a flat rate. The hourly rate is consistent with other consulting services in the industry. Any travel expenses that are incurred will be billed to you.

We would be happy to speak with you about the current challenge that you are facing and provide you with a quote for the services that we offer.

What areas do you service?

We will perform work anywhere within Southern Ontario. We are located in Oakville, so the Greater Toronto area can be easily serviced. Depending on the work that we are doing, we will either do it on-site at your facility or at our office, or a combination of both.

What is your availability?

Our availability is Monday to Friday 8 am - 4 pm. These hours can be extended whenever plant trials are required. Plant trials will be based on the manufacturer's availability of line time.

I've already created a program. Are you able to just review it and provide feedback?

We can review existing programs and provide feedback on areas where improvements can be made. We will work with you on whatever your requirements are.