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Bite Sized Insights for Manufacturing Professionals

The Feed Alchemy Systems Blog

Jeff Chilton

Jeff Chilton currently serves as VP of Professional Services at Alchemy Systems. For over 18 years, Chilton has consulted with hundreds of food manufacturing firms to develop and enhance their food safety and quality programs. Prior to consulting, Jeff worked in the food industry for 15 years as plant manager of two large food processing companies, as well as a director of quality assurance earlier in his career. Jeff is a contributing writer for Meat and Poultry Magazine and has spoken on food safety and quality topics for numerous trade associations. Jeff is a Certified Lead instructor for HACCP workshops and teaches Basic and Advanced HACCP Workshops for client companies and public courses.
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Recent Posts

Alchemy and USP Join Forces to Fight Food Fraud

Posted by Jeff Chilton

Mar 8 2017
Mar 8 2017

Alchemy Systems and the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) recently announced a partnership enabling food companies of all sizes to more easily assess supply chain risk and build robust systems to mitigate food fraud. Food adulteration—food fraud—costs the industry billions of dollars every year and has been connected to hundreds of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths. *

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Topics: Alchemy News

Food Industry Expectations for 2017

Posted by Jeff Chilton

Jan 16 2017
Jan 16 2017

2016 was certainly a busy year in food manufacturing and production, and 2017 promises to continue the tide of change as we contend with new regulatory requirements. Although the regulatory emphasis we've seen over the past decade or so may shift, food companies must keep food safety at the forefront of their priorities, because after all, food safety is about a whole lot more than just regulatory compliance.

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Topics: Food Safety

Looking Back on the Obama Administration Food Policies

Posted by Jeff Chilton

Jan 9 2017
Jan 9 2017

As the Obama administration winds down, it is worthwhile to look back at the administration’s food policies and their continuing impact on the food industry. The past eight years have seen a robust regulatory agenda, resulting in thousands of pages of new requirements for the food industry. Food safety initiatives generally receive good bi-partisan support, so the political environment has been ideal to move a broad agenda forward to advance food safety with the goal of safeguarding public health.

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Topics: Compliance

4 Phases of Audit Readiness

Posted by Jeff Chilton

Jan 2 2017
Jan 2 2017

We all know the old saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” But in the fast-paced and high-pressure food industry, it can be difficult to find all the time you need to prepare for an audit. Resources are often tight and facilities have to focus on keeping up with daily output to protect their bottom line. However, in the current era of FSMA, GFSI, and increased liability exposure, it’s more important than ever to be prepared for the auditor’s knock. 

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Topics: Alchemy Academy, Compliance

6 Steps to a Sustainable GFSI System

Posted by Jeff Chilton

Oct 27 2016
Oct 27 2016

A sustainable management system is essential to meeting the requirements of any audit. With so much at stake and so many competing demands from regulators, customers, and consumers, securing a sustainable GFSI system can be a challenge. It’s safe to say that most companies have a goal to remain audit-ready all the time, but in reality many find themselves playing catch-up and conducting ‘fire drills’ just prior to re-certification. So, how do leading food companies stay audit-ready 24/7?

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Topics: Food Safety, Compliance, Consulting

FSMA Final Rules: What’s New and How to Comply

Posted by Jeff Chilton

Dec 2 2015
Dec 2 2015

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the most sweeping reform of food safety laws in over seven decades. Almost four years after it was signed into law, the final rules governing preventive control for human and animal foods were finally published this September. Now, most FDA regulated companies must prepare for compliance by September 2016.

Compliance dates for the new requirements are defined and more flexible to assist industry compliance while still advancing FDA’s food safety goals. Even with that flexibility, it is important for companies to fully understand five key points regarding the final rule:

  • Food Safety Plan v HACCP Plan

  • Risk Based Preventative Controls

  • Qualified Individual & Auditor

  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP's)

  • Supply Chain Program

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Topics: Food Safety, Alchemy Academy, Compliance

Four Key Stops on the Journey from HACCP to HARPC

Posted by Jeff Chilton

Oct 12 2015
Oct 12 2015

The Food Safety Modernization Act will soon have a dramatic impact on the food safety and regulatory landscape for facilities producing products regulated by the FDA. The Preventive Controls for Human Foods proposed rule, which is expected to be published as a final rule this month, will significantly change the way food manufacturing companies document their food safety systems.

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Topics: Alchemy Academy, Compliance, Consulting

5 Steps for Effective HACCP Reassessments

Posted by Jeff Chilton

Jul 17 2015
Jul 17 2015

HACCP Plan reassessments are required to be performed at least once a year. It is not only mandated by USDA and FDA regulations, but also by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) for companies certified under SQF, BRC, FSSC 22000 or IFS. In short, your HACCP plan should be a living document that continually and accurately reflects current operations. It assures your food safety system is kept up-to-date throughout the year.

Reassessments are necessary whenever any changes occur that could affect your hazard analysis or alter any current HACCP plans.

Example circumstances for HACCP reassessment include:

  • Changes to or addition of new ingredients

  • Revised formulations 

  • New equipment 

  • New packaging

  • New production processes

  • Changes to the intended consumer population

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Topics: Compliance, Consulting

HACCP Validation - Are you doing it right?

Posted by Jeff Chilton

Jun 11 2015
Jun 11 2015

*Editor's note: this post is the first in an ongoing HACCP series. 

The concept of HACCP validation has long been a mysterious and confusing topic for many people. Since it is included as a part of HACCP principle number 6 for verification, the validation requirement is often misunderstood.

There are many advocates, myself included, that feel like the National Advisory Committee for Microbiological Criteria for Foods should revise the standards to clarify the topic and give it the attention it deserves. Until then, I hope to help you learn the elements of validation and how you can prepare for the new Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) requirements before enforcement begins in 2016. 

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Topics: Compliance, Consulting

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