SeaFood Business

MAR 2014

SeaFood Business is the global trusted authority for seafood buyers and sellers. We are the seafood industry's leading trade magazine with more than 30 years of experience. Our coverage is based on the "business" of buying and selling seafood.

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Point of View example, most standards require you to prepare con- tingency plans for the worst possible scenarios. Tese liv- ing programs must be tested on an annual basis to keep operations running smooth- ly. It will be your duty to pro- vide the auditor with the test results of your annual inter- nal audit. Tese exercises will provide you with an oppor- tunity to meet and discuss the outcome of the exercise and debate better ways to improve processes. If you're thinking about making a commitment to the certifcation process, be sure to discuss the pros and cons of this monumental decision with your staf. It is vital for key staf to understand their responsibilities, along with any changes that need to be made, before you commit re- sources to certifcation. Scott Zimmerman is founder and CEO of Safe Quality Seafood Associates in Miami. Zimmerman has worked in food safety, quality assur- ance, regulatory compliance, aquaculture and fsheries management since 2000. BY SCOTT ZIMMERMAN C ommitting to an ac- credited food-safety management system is a paradigm shift from how most operators currently function. Today, more and more companies are com- mitting resources to meeting these standards. We often hear buyers saying, "If you want to be a member of the big boys' club, you will have be certifed under a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarked program." Tis industrywide commit- ment has increased the price of products, as the supply chain expends capital on the necessary stafng and infra- structure to meet the strict re- quirements of these standards. GFSI standards would not have been accepted by the in- dustry if they did not protect everyone in the supply chain. From the water to the gro- cery store, virtually all stages of production can be audited. Most businesses that undergo an audit are answering similar questions about the safety and sustainability of their opera- tions. Since third-party cer- tifcation audits will always have a place in the market, the question remains: Are they worth your money right now? In general, the seafood in- dustry's perspective on certif- cation is based largely on the experiences of those opera- tions that have already com- mitted themselves to the certi- fcation process. One message is clear: Audits are becoming more difcult. We do hear mixed messages about auditor competency, which have a se- rious impact on the outcome of an audit. Te unpredictable cost of audits also makes it dif- fcult for companies to choose a certifcation body. Like all commitments, there are pros and cons that need to be weighed before committing resources to certifcation. While there are a lot of benefts to certifcation, com- plying with these standards is easier said than done. Com- mitting to a standard often requires a dramatic increase in paperwork, stafng and time commitments. Tese programs often come with price tags ranging between $10,000 to $60,000 depend- ing on structural improve- ments, training, stafng and audit costs. On average it can take up to a year to write a program, implement it and start collecting the data for your frst audit. If your tim- ing and communication is of, you will be setting your- self up for a signifcant loss. Furthermore, a failed audit can bring down staf morale and potentially pit depart- ments against one another. Te pros of becoming cer- tifed are obvious. Certifca- tion increases your transpar- ency, expands your footprint in new markets and increases your staf's awareness and cohesiveness. Committing to a standard will also prepare operators for more stringent regulatory requirements. For 8 SeaFood Business March 2014 Visit us online at www.seafoodbusiness.com "Certification increases your transparency, expands your footprint in new markets and increases your staff's awareness and cohesiveness." Are third-party audits worth the money? 08_PointOfView.indd 8 2/14/14 3:17 PM

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