The greatest safety risk facing the food industry today is that of food borne contamination; and spices are no exception. Due to many factors, including their complex supply chain and distribution methods, spices pose special safety challenges. Failure to adhere to the highest level of safety procedures can lead to product contamination and recalls; that’s why it’s so important that quality spice companies remain diligent in upholding safety guidelines. At Pacific Spice, we exceed food safety guidelines to ensure the purity and quality of our products. We monitor how our spices are grown, harvested, processed, and transported because we understand safety is an ongoing commitment, from farm to table. As a spice manufacturer – not a spice trading company – Pacific Spice has an advantage when it comes to product safety and quality. While many spice companies buy a finished product from overseas and just distribute it as is, we purchase raw material so that we can conduct and oversee further testing and processing. As you will read more about in this blog, we implement diligent quality testing throughout the manufacturing process. This gives us a unique level of oversight and control that allows us to guarantee the safety and quality of the product.
Minimizing Risk Through Supply Chain
The spice supply chain is complex; that’s why our vetting process begins with the supplier.
Vetting the Supplier
Vendor management programs are required by law for all companies in the food industry. In order to uphold our high standards for safety, we put our vendors through our strict vendor approval process. Even after a supplier is approved, we continue to verify their food safety standards and procedures so that we can sign off on it with confidence.
Testing the Product
Once a vendor has been approved and the product is shipped and delivered to us, a vehicle inspection is conducted by our receiving personnel to ensure that the container the item arrived in is clean. Then, our quality control samplers are called to the delivery with their carts and sanitized equipment. Samples are pulled from the supply and put into sterilized bags to be checked for microbes and pathogens. In addition to routine inspections, we take special precautions based on the item we are testing. Based on the country of origin or the specific nature of a particular product, there may be additional testing conducted before we accept the product into our warehouse. If the test results are within our strict specifications, the product is approved and released into the inventory system. Only then is it ready to be processed and packaged.
Once the supplier is approved and the product has been tested and accepted into the warehouse, all products are handled/processed under our strict Food Safety Programs to ensure our products remain clean and free of contamination. These programs include:
- Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) – An FDA regulation for Food Safety and the core of the food safety program.
- Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) – A risk-based preventative program for Food Safety that measures the risk assessment of all the processing steps. It establishes control points in the steps to eliminate or minimize chemical, physical, and biological hazards.
- Standard Sanitary Operating Procedures (SSOP) – These procedures follow a master sanitation schedule and contain guidelines for cleaning and testing on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. All sanitation is recorded and verified.
As part of these safety programs, we take special safety measures such as: Environmental Swabbing. Throughout the month, we test different sections of the facility. Every surface is swabbed to monitor the area; the machines, tables, walls, floor, etc. This process helps us manage the environment to keep it clean and free of contaminants. And when handling products that are flagged as allergens, we follow Special Allergen Procedures. When the product we receive is identified as an allergen, it is flagged immediately and separated from the other ingredients into a quarantined section of the warehouse. When allergens are used in equipment for production or blending, the equipment is thoroughly sanitized afterward. Then the equipment is inspected, swabbed, and tested by Quality Control before it’s used again. By following these strict procedures, we are able to prevent environmental contamination, cross contamination, and post-processing contamination; in short, they enable us to keep the product pure and safe.
Safety and Quality Standards
As a spice manufacturer, it is our job to ensure safety guidelines are followed throughout the supply chain. That’s why we go the extra mile to adhere to the strictest guidelines in food manufacturing. The most notable of these is our SQF Certification.
- SQF – Safe Quality Food – This is an elite certification that is significantly above and beyond what is legally required. The motto of this certification is “Do what you say, say what you do”. It is a 3rd party food safety auditing program that ensures that every written program and protocol we have in our facility is being followed. They inspect us on our food safety programs, pest control, GMPs, equipment calibration, air filter testing, and any other SOPs. The SQF certification is the food safety gold standard. Our food safety systems are certified by NSF as Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) compliant and our GMP and HACCP programs are consistently given high marks when audited under SQF code.
- Certified Organic – All of our vendors are vetted and qualified under the strict organic standards. For more on our organics line of spices, read our previous blog, Conventional vs. Organic Spices: What’s the Difference?
- Kosher Certified – Our products are certified for consumption by those who practice kosher dietary laws.
Wholesale Spices at PSC
At Pacific Spice, we are proud to source raw material globally and process domestically in our modern, 150,000 square foot facility. Because we manufacture in house and put our products through extensive microbiological, chemical, and organoleptic testing, we are pleased to provide you with the highest quality, safest, and freshest product on the market. Want to work with Pacific Spice on your next product? When we’re not creating new, innovative spice blends, we are manufacturing, packaging, and custom labeling products to set you apart from the competition. From first concept to final delivery, we are here to help you bring your vision to life. Simply click the link to contact us for a consultation.