Feed Bites

Feed Safety: At the Heart of Business

Written by: Victoria Broehm   |   December 15, 2020

Feed safety, Guest perspective

Animal food safety is at the heart of CPC Commodities’ business. They feed their own cattle feed that is produced with the same ingredients and processes and the company prides itself on providing quality feed that was “proven on our farm--made for yours.”  Participating in the American Feed Industry Association’s Safe Feed/Safe Food certification program is just one way that CPC Commodities helps ensure that their feed is safe and that the resulting foods that come from those animals, regardless of whether it is meat, milk or eggs are safe for human consumption. Below is a recent interview with CPC Commodities’ Regulatory Compliance Manager Michelle Estes on the certification program.

I saw that CPC Carolina recently became SF/SF certified. What drove this business decision to pursue certification?

Our CPC Commodities Carolina plant is just one of three manufacturing plants under the CPC Commodities family of businesses. Each plant operates somewhat differently in how they manufacture their products, though we all follow similar guidelines.By utilizing a third-party auditor to review our policies, procedures and manufacturing processes, we are confident that we are doing the right things to provide quality and safe feed for our customers.

Did you learn anything about your facility operations or products in the process? Anything eye opening?

I joined CPC Commodities almost a year ago with a good base of general knowledge of how to produce safe feed. But when reviewing our compliance, Restricted Use Protein Products (RUPP), SF/SF and standard operating procedure (SOP) manuals in preparation for each audit, I was pleasantly surprised at just how well our facilities operate to ensure compliance with all local, state and federal guidelines. Whether it is sequencing feed to prevent cross-contamination of products or sampling and testing for quality issues, CPC Commodities takes feed safety very seriously.

Do you feel better prepared for FSMA inspections due to SF/SF? What other benefits do you see?

I do feel much better prepared for a Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) inspection. My philosophy has always been, “If you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, you have absolutely nothing to worry about if an investigator arrives at your facility.”  Knowing through a third-party audit that we are following the necessary guidelines to manufacture safe, quality products that are suitable for the purposes intended eases my mind even more.

How do you think the SF/SF program compares to other certification programs?

The SF/SF program is a very in-depth certification process that begins long before the auditor ever arrives at a facility.  Throughout my career in feed industry in quality assurance, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in multiple audits, including Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), SF/SF and RUPP.  My experience is that the SF/SF program dives much deeper into what we are doing, how we are doing it and what documentation we have to prove we are following in the guidelines set forth.

Have you communicated your certification to customers – what has been their response?

The SF/SF logo is applied to our feed labels that go out on each bag of product or with each bill of lading on bulk products.  Occasionally, we will be asked to provide a copy of our certificate.             

Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, were there modifications to your processes to keep plant personnel safe?

As you might know, CPC Commodities is considered an ‘essential’ business during the current pandemic situation.In March, we all knew that we had to pull together to continue to provide essential products and services to our customers.In order to maintain the health and well-being of our employees, in addition to the available personal protective equipment (PPE), we also implemented additional tasks to our daily routines, including added cleaning of all shared spaces in the manufacturing, retail and office settings. To further ensure that our facility remained safe for all persons, we also restricted all drivers to remain with their vehicle(s) during delivery and/or loading and reduced our retail location occupancy to a single customer at a time in order to reduce physical contact between individuals.

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