How to monitor your incoming goods

Every food business will have incoming goods and these will have a direct impact on how safe your finished product is. One of my favorite sayings is “you can’t make good product from bad ingredients”.  A fair majority of compliance standards will require that you monitor your incoming goods. In this post, different methods of monitoring will be explored.

Food safety hazards of incoming goods

Before you start to decide what you are going to monitoring your incoming goods for, you first need to understand what are the food safety risks associated with that raw material or incoming good. This can be achieved through completed a raw material or incoming goods risk assessment. You can then move forward to develop your monitoring program based on the risks you are trying to control.

Top 5 Monitoring Activities

Here are my top 5 monitoring activities that your can implement in your food business for your incoming goods.

1.  Temperatures

If any of your raw materials or incoming goods are classified as a potentially hazardous food which requires refrigeration or freezing, it is logical to include temperature checks as part of your incoming goods monitoring program.

2.  Product labeling

Only products with the correct labeling should be accepted into your business. Your monitoring can include checks of ingredients, shelf life, batch codes and weights and supplier details.

3.  Packaging integrity

When product are not adequately sealed or they are damaged this can become a source of cross contamination within your food business. Incoming goods should be checked for cleanliness, seal integrity, rips, tears, and dents. Remember, damaged packaging can have a direct impact n the shelf life of the product.

4.  Product characteristics

Your food business may require your incoming goods to have certain characteristics eg, protein levels, moisture content, allergen status. This monitoring is a little more involved in actually completing certain testing prior to the incoming good being released into the business.

5.  Condition of delivery vehicle

The condition of the delivery vehicle needs to be checked to ensure that the incoming goods have not been exposed to potential contamination. A check of the vehicles temperature, cleanliness and other loads being carried is a must.

Taking responsibility

Like any food compliance program, responsibility needs to be identified. Your incoming goods monitoring program should state who is responsible for undertaking the relevant checks. It is also beneficial to include procedures on how to complete the monitoring, the frequency of monitoring, when to complete the monitoring and what to do when non-conformances occur.

Recording your monitoring

Any monitoring of incoming goods is required to be recorded. Make sure your records include the date of monitoring, the incoming goods name and batch number (for traceability purposes), the result of the monitoring and an indication of who completed the record.

Mapping to Key Standards

  • SQF (Edition 7.2) – Clause 2.5.6
  • BRC (Issue 7) – Clause 3.5.2
  • Codex HACCP – General Principle of Food Hygiene (CAC/RCP 1-1969 Rev. 4 – 2003) – Clause 5.3
  • PrimusGFS (V2.1-2) – Clause 1.6
  • Woolworths (Issue 8 Manufacturing) – Clause 7.4

Practice in play

How do you monitor your incoming goods in your food business? What checks have you included in your food safety management system? Share your methods with the HACCP Mentor community by leaving a comment below this post.

Level Up

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This post is a part of the HACCP Mentor Food Safety Compliance 101 series.

5 thoughts on “How to monitor your incoming goods”

    1. Hi Babalwa, can you please provide more information as I am not sure of this type of certificate. All I can think of is if you are making a claim on your product labelling that it is “Melamine Free”.

  1. It’s a pity that you didn’t mentioned the Globalgap and the ifs standards. Both are leading standards in Foodsafety and Quality aspects in the supply chain.

  2. S. Koning Labadie

    In our plants the checks on incoming goods are a CCP. We check the truck delivering the goods and the driver on basic hygiene. Also temperature, labelling, packaging, weight and a visual check on the quality of the goods.
    Every month 3 products of different suppliers are tested on microbiological aspects.

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