Business Management Systems

Elements of a finished product specification

A finished product specification is the information sheet that documents all of the attributes and information regarding the finished product that you produce in your food business. In week 33 of the HACCP Mentor Food Safety HACCP Challenge, finished product specifications are in the spotlight. These documents are very important in communicating finished product attributes with not only your customer but with your own food handlers and production personnel.

How to achieve this challenge

This week you are challenged to review your finished product specifications to ensure that they are current, correct and in compliance with any external requirements.

Step 1: Get access to or print a copy of your finished product specifications.

Step 2: Compare the information that is documented on your finished product specification with the list provided below or more specifically your nominated compliance standard.

Step 3: If there are any missing sections, add these into your finished product specification.

Step 4: To challenge yourself further, take the time to verify the information that is documented on your finished product specification. Give priority to ingredient listings, nutritional information and allergen statements.

Elements of a finished product specification

The minimum requirements that all finished product specifications should document includes:

  • Product Name and description
  • Weight
  • Shelf Life
  • Storage Conditions
  • Directions for Use
  • Ingredients
  • Allergens
  • Nutrition Information
  • Microbiological, Physical and Chemical Properties
  • Regulatory and label compliance
  • Manufactures details
  • Method of preservation
  • GMO Status
  • Country of Origin
  • Document control including issue date
  • Method of traceability

These are just a few and I suggest that you also consult any customer standards, third-party certification standards and regulatory requirements to ensure that you capture all of the information that is needed. To get a copy of my finished product specification template just click here.

The impact of an incorrect finished product specification

It is most important for your food business to ensure that all information on your finished product specifications is correct and current. For your customers, they could be relying on the information in your finished product specification to make dietary and labelling decisions. For example, if you provide a finished product specification to customers who use your food product as an input into their own production process. If your information is wrong, their information will be wrong. This can then contribute to injury or even death of the final consumer especially when it comes to allergen declaration.

Information to educate

Just remember, your finished product specification helps to educate your customer about your finished product. The more accurate the information you provide contributes to a greater level of food safety for everyone. Share with the HACCP Mentor community your finished product specification tips by leaving a comment below this article.

2 thoughts on “Elements of a finished product specification”

  1. Great recommendations! Everything on that list is what we require for our private label brand specifications! The only thing I would add is the location of the production facility, plant manager and the QC contact information.

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