Food Ingredient Integrity

It is crucial for providers and users alike to take steps to ensure that the integrity of the raw materials, intermediate products and finished food ingredients they obtain, process, supply or use is maintained to meet consumer safety, food regulations, customer expectations and consumer satisfaction. Vendors and suppliers often add boilerplate language to purchasing agreements and product data sheets stating that since their organization has no input into how the product is handled, stored or used after it leaves their control, they will not bear any responsibility for its performance. Users should recognize that in the event of a non-performance or non-conformance issue after use, it is an arduous, unpleasant and costly endeavor to recall, withdraw, discard and replace non-conforming goods. It may be even more difficult to obtain satisfactory compensation after ingredients have been used.

Food Ingredients Integrity Categories

In order to maintain the integrity of any ingredient, the manufacturer, supplier, vendor and user must know what critical attributes are in need of control and validation and effectively respond to that joint understanding by creating and implementing effective oversight programs. Maintenance of an ingredient’s integrity is often directly connected to control of its quality, safety and suitability. Categories requiring consideration for oversight and control to maintain product integrity and safety include:

  • Process for vetting suppliers and creating an approved supplier list
    • Creating and submitting a comprehensive Supplier Raw Materials Disclosure Form to prospective vendors and suppliers
    • Reviewing and processing the returned Supplier Raw Materials Disclosure Form for accuracy and completeness
    • Advising prospective vendors how to correct errors and omissions
  • Documenting microbiological sensitivities and risks
    • Specific biological species and permissible values or ranges following testing or
    • Statement of “no microbiological contamination risk” and the reasons for same
  • Creating specifications containing all targeted physical and chemical properties subject to variation if not controlled
    • critical properties
    • Visual quality
    • Taste and odor
    • critical components Critical component content ranges
    • Impurity limits or ranges
    • Packaging materials
    • Packaging protective features and ranges
    • Packaging container geometry, volume and weight
    • Shelf lives from dates of manufacture, customer receipt and first use
    • listed impurity contents and ranges
    • list of impermissible impurities or contaminants
    • performance descriptions, risks, limitations and handling requirements
  • Acquiring and validating standard reference samples for use as pure controls
  • Certificates of analysis comparing specification values and qualities against batch test results
  • Certificates of conformance validating manufacturing, handling and storage protocols which guarantee absolute conditions described as critical controls.
  • HACCP or HARPC plans (refer to dedicated subsection for more information)

EHA professionals are well prepared and experienced in the discipline of ingredient integrity. Our scientists analyze ingredient sensitivity, composition, sourcing and use to determine the best methods to ensure safety, suitability and consistency.