Reducing Products Liability: Manufacturing

LiabilityFood processors face unique products liability exposures. This is particularly true because your manufactured product may be a component in another product mixture. Contamination of the final product can draw your ingredient product into litigation.

In addition, today’s food processors often function in part or entirely as contractors, which typically requires processing a customer’s product(s) in accordance with their specifications. Without involvement in the laboratory and testing phases, it is often difficult to fully assess inadequacies or potential product misuses.

You can help control and manage the insurance risks associated with product safety by implementing these tips:

Manufacturing

• Determine minimum standards for the quality of incoming ingredients that will be mixed to comprise your product

• Use only established and licensed suppliers for ingredients, compressed gases, packaging and labels. Require that suppliers provide orders via sealed shipment.

• Establish a procedure for receipt-dating all incoming ingredients

• Ship finished product to customers under a cargo seal that is documented when opened by your customer

• Isolate incoming product that does not meet your quality specifications

• Determine, communicate, practice and enforce specific storage procedures to prevent cross-contamination

• Define how each product is to be mixed, processed, packaged and stored

• Verify the reliability of weighing machines

• Develop, communicate and enforce a personal hygiene and sanitation policy

• Evaluate the product-tasting practices throughout your facility. Follow preferred practices that allow removal and tasting of a sample without the possibility of contaminated material falling into the product being tested.

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