The company has also invested in several conveying systems that led to a new wrapper for its new 1.6-ounce ESC DUOZ and 1.5-ounce ESC ONE chocolate bars. The depositing system allows two different fillings to be inserted into the chocolate at the same speed and time. The chocolate bar also uses a new wrapper technology that heat-seals end-to-end film around the bars, leading to less contamination after wrapping. (The company’s 3-ounce bars still are wrapped in foil and then a paper wrapper sealed by food-grade glue.)
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Explore This IssueOctober/November 2019
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The company’s smallest chocolate bites, 3-ounce bars, ESC DUOZ and ESC ONE bars all use a newly improved ink jet system that date codes all products, ensuring a digital double check for the lot code dates in the inventory system.
A new electronic warehouse management system contains lot codes for a new warehouse tracking system for inbound and outbound finished products and all raw materials. The raw materials also have electronic certificates of analysis.
In the company’s first warehouse, which has a 10-foot-high clearance, pallets were picked from floor level. The satellite warehouse, which has 20-foot ceilings, allows the company to stack pallets on racks. “Our top-moving products are on gravity flow racks, which results in a first-expired, first-out process,” Robinson says.
Finally, the company’s production line switched to a one-step sanitation tablet that has increased the effectiveness of cleaning throughout the factory. The sanitation team previously used bleach-dosing procedures to clean. Pre-op and post-op procedures now include adenosine triphosphate and allergen swabbing to validate the change in the sanitation program.
Training for Safety
Internal auditing has increased audit scores for all third-party certifications. For example, the company achieved Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 3 certification in May 2019 with a 96, Excellent score. That score is up 25 points and one level up from the score the company received in 2018.
The company said internal training sessions have helped employees strive for the highest quality when handling products during production and when talking about them with customers. Production employees wear a uniform and a hair or beard net, if applicable, Troyer. says They also wear gloves that are changed frequently.
Endangered Species Chocolate implemented its food safety plan in 2012. It didn’t make any major changes until an additional line was added in 2014. Other updates included a snack bite line addition in 2016, a satellite warehouse in 2018, and the ESC DUOZ product in 2019. The Food Safety Plans have continued to evolve as the company has grown.
It has two safety plans, one for production and one for warehouse processes. Depending on the process, the food safety plan ranges from two to three critical control points. The two plans are reviewed annually. Additionally, each plan is validated every time new equipment or a process is added, or when a raw material is altered. The company’s food safety plan team comprises five members: the warehouse manager, production manager, director of operations, quality control technician, and quality programs manager. All five members have Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points certification.
Suppliers and Audits
Each of the company’s suppliers is required to be part of its supplier approval program, and each must supply the following documents:
- Third-party certificates (SQF, BRC, FSC22000, organic, Kosher, Fairtrade, non-GMO, Gluten Free)
- An entire audit with corrective actions
- Letter of guarantee
- Traceability procedure
- Address of its manufacturing facility
- Allergen statement
- Specification sheet
- Origin statement
Each supplier also must undergo a risk assessment of the material it supplies. The risk score is based on biological, chemical, and physical sources of error as well as common issues with the supplier. Depending on the risk, the supplier is given a low, medium, or high score that is updated annually.