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QUAFETY Scientists present the applied Quality and Food Safety Management System of participating SMEs as a diagnostic instrumentLast week the scientists from Athens University presented the applied Quality Management System/Food Safety Management System (QMS/FSMS) of the project participating SMEs and the validation of the diagnostic instrument developed in Deliverable D7.39 of QUAFETY project.
The objective was to develop a diagnostic instrument (DI) for the assessment of the Quality Management System / Food Safety Management System applied in SMEs of the ready to eat fresh, and to classify an SME enterprise giving a best practice score.
The work strategy consists in a conceptual research model indicating critical technological and managerial elements as well as influencing conditions on the production – processing chain (indicators)- was developed. Then an initial operational diagnostic instrument (questionnaire) was constructed based on the conceptual research model for the assessment of the QMS/FSMS. This initial diagnostic instrument was sent to the partners for feedback and further improvement. The final questionnaire, after validation, was sent to SME to be filled in. After applying principal component analysis to derived data significant components were extracted to provide a score for the performance of QMS/FSMS. This instrument will be a key part of the food safety and quality management system that will be used as a shelf assessment and as an internal audit tool for the SMEs.
The diagnostic instrument (i.e. the questionnaire) consisted of the following sections:
• Section I. Background information for respondent and company;
• Section II. Extrinsic risk factors;
• Section III. Intrinsic risk factors;
• Section IV. General effects from the implementation of FQSMS;
• Section V. Quantitative assessment of the organization (GAP, Pre-requisites, Manufacturing control).
The background information included Size, Sector, Food Quality and Safety Management Systems (FQSMS) of the organizations. Extrinsic and intrinsic risk factors regard company organization, raw material characteristics, production process, product assortment, etc. All extrinsic and intrinsic factors were quantifiable.
Furthermore, the resulting scores obtained by the instrument were compared with those obtained from the Safety Assessment Plan (SAP). Both tools developed, the questionnaire and the SAP were finally used to draft recommendations for improvement of the management systems applied in the SME's.
The assessment of the QMS/FSMS revealed a disagreement between the results from the questionnaire and the results from the SAP in 2 out of 4 SMEs. In cases of disagreement between the Questionnaire and SAP, and particularly, when results from the questionnaire were higher compared to results from SAP, the latter should be followed. It is likely that SMEs may provide a bias towards a better presentation with the questionnaires. A detailed auditing in such cases will give the opportunity to get the real picture of the SME and at the same time training of personnel to understand the importance of accurately answering in such audits is recommended.
This instrument will be a key part of the food safety and quality management system that will be used as a self-assessment and as an internal audit tool for the SMEs.
Further info: www.quafety.eu
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