JD Power, Kelly Blue Book and Car Fax (Auto purchase). Trip Advisor, Yelp and Zagat (restaurant reviews). Angie’s List, Home Advisor and Thumbtack (handyman reviews). All of these third party companies collect reviews and other information to rate businesses. Many of us have used one or more of these to help make purchase decisions. There is a level of independence we attribute to these online reviewers. Perfect no, but many of us see these reviewers as a useful tool.
Consumer Reports, Underwriters Labs and American National Standards Institute perform their own testing and evaluations of products and even services (in the case of Consumer Reports). There is a level of additional trust placed in these organizations because they are not commercial enterprises and they rely on independent testing, not consumer reviews.
You’re about to research a couple of suppliers for a feed ingredient. You’ve heard from a sales person, checked out the supplier’s website and perhaps checked with some of your colleagues. All good steps to take, but does that really give you clarity with regards to who you should select?
If you were pointed in the direction of a service that gathers customer reviews and “rated” suppliers based on the reviews and more objective data i.e. FDA inspections, recalls, Food Registry Reports, you would probably make use of that information. Unfortunately, there is no organization that compiles that information into an easy to use database that you could access for free or for a fee. There is something a supplier can do to help assure their customers of the safety and quality of their product.
Historically, the food industry has utilized third party certification as a means of evaluating suppliers. Your business can achieve certification through a well-respected third party organization. The Safe Feed Safe Food (SFSF) program is a third party certification process. You achieve certification by implementing food safety programs and procedures and have them evaluated by an independent auditor. Built into the SFSF process is FDA FSMA compliance.
The initial process of certification takes some time, costs some money and requires great focus. Maintaining certification requires discipline to follow and sometimes improve the programs you have established. Your firm already has shown the discipline to follow many of these practices in your day to day efforts to produce safe feed.
For further information regarding the Safe Feed Safe Food program, give us a call or shoot us an email. We have assisted others and can guide you through the process.