The Office of the State Chemist recently granted Mercer Milling Company a certificate of conformance as part of a new program for feed manufacturers and distributors who comply with the voluntary Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plan verification system.
Mercer Milling Company, headquartered in Liverpool, NY, manufactures premix and base-mix products for the dairy, livestock and pet food industry.
The auditing process associated with the HACCP certificate of conformance is a comprehensive, rigorous process, said Ben Jones, Office of the State Chemist associate director.
“The process involved a review of the company’s website, product labels and HACCP plan prior to the on-site inspection of the plant operation,” he said.
“The on-site inspection included an audit of the company’s conformance to the BSE regulation and the Association of American Feed Control Officials model Good Manufacturing Practices regulations in addition to the HACCP audit. For a firm to pass the inspection, the firm must meet all criteria during the inspection or correct deficiencies at the time of inspection or within a prescribed period of time. The onsite inspection took approximately three investigator days to perform.”
Roberta Wolf, Mercer Milling HACCP coordinator, began developing the firm’s plan last September, following successful completion of HACCP training at Texas A&M University.
“Our HACCP team was comprised of five individuals within the company including the general manager, logistics manager, plant manager, purchasing manager and myself,” Wolf said. “The company’s quality assurance manager met with the team weekly over about a five-month period to develop the plan.”
The benefits of participating in a voluntary HACCP audit by a competent regulatory authority are significant, Jones said.
“Firms seek legal certainty when they manage risk,” he said. “The adoption of HACCP principles, which are preventive in nature, conform to global feed safety requirements, as well as the Food Safety Modernization Act, signed by President Obama in January of this year.”
A third party audit by a regulatory authority provides the unbiased verification by experienced investigators that a company, their customers, and their customer’s customers are seeking, Jones said.
“The feed and food trade are global in nature and the market demands on feed and food safety are ever increasing.” The Office of the Texas State Chemist, provides regulatory oversight of feed firms that distribute feed in Texas.
“Of the 3,000 firms licensed to distribute feed in Texas, approximately 2,000 of those firms are located outside Texas,” said Dr. Tim Herrman, Office of the State Chemist director.
“The auditing service is provided to in-state firms at no cost and out-of-state firms are required to cover the auditor’s travel cost, typical for all out-of-state audits performed by the Office. The voluntary HACCP inspection aligns well with the office mission to protect consumers and enhance agribusiness.”
Along with HACCP certificates of conformance, the Office of the State Chemist issues several hundred certificates of free sale annually and will perform and issue Good Manufacturing Practice certificates of conformance upon request and successful completion of the audit.