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18 Apr
BRC Food Safety Americas 2019
Be Our Guest at BRC Food Safety Americas 2019

On behalf of our team, Kestrel Management would like to invite you to join us at BRC Food Safety Americas on May 21-22 in Coronado, California.

The conference offers invaluable insights and exclusive updates designed specifically to improve food safety management–and we want to offer you the chance to attend at a discounted rate (see below).

You’ll learn more on:

  • Preparing for and passing inspections
  • Food safety culture and training
  • Identifying and controlling contamination
  • Future-proofing food safety
  • Traceability within the supply chain

When you register, use our discount code KESTREL15 and receive a 15% discount off your BRC Food Safety Americas registration. Join us in California this May!register now


11 Apr
GFSI internal audit
GFSI Internal Audit Process

GFSI requires a robust auditing function for every organization seeking food safety certification. Specifically, GFSI certification requires that:

  • Internal audits are established.
  • Supplier audits are conducted.
  • External service audits are used.

Each individual GFSI scheme requires internal audits for Food Safety Management System (FSMS) conformance, and each has its own specific internal audit requirements:

  • SQF: Internal audit requirement must show that the FSMS is established to meet the standard.
  • BRC: There needs to be an effective audit system to verify that the FSMS covers the standard.
  • IFS: Effective internal audits shall be conducted according to a defined and agreed-upon program that covers the requirements of the standard.
  • FSSC 22000: The company plans, conducts, and reports on internal audits to ensure that the FSMS has been effectively implemented and maintained.

Planning to Meet Requirements

Meeting these GFSI requirements involves developing a strong internal audit program that uses internal resources and trained and certified auditors to perform internal audits. Lack of a properly designed or implemented internal audit process is one of the most common GFSI non-conformances.

It takes planning and strategy to create and implement an effective internal audit program. Kestrel often works with companies to determine the most effective internal audit development process, create a strategy for the audit program, and assist in its subsequent implementation.

All requirements under GFSI must be developed to assure a robust and well-functioning internal audit program, including development of:

  • Internal audit process
  • Process review
  • Effective audit schedule
  • Trained internal auditors
  • Strong corrective/preventive action program
  • Appropriate links to Management Review

Once these elements are developed, conducting required audits allows the company to identify the areas for improvement. Once non-conformances are identified, it is important to evaluate potential approaches and determine what will allow for the greatest improvements, while also meeting GFSI requirements. Following the management system Plan-Do-Check-Adjust cycle helps to ensure continual operational and food safety improvements.

Planning to Realize Benefits

This “planning” approach to internal audits leads to a number of benefits. The company will:

  • Become more capable of managing the internal audit process on its own.
  • Learn to identify non-conformances within current practices.
  • Create opportunities for continual improvement by following the Plan-Do-Check-Adjust cycle.
  • Realize subsequent quality improvements and cost reductions.
  • Gain a better understanding of the GFSI management system requirements.
  • Be better positioned to achieve GFSI certification.

Internal audits identify possible non-conformances and show continuous improvement of the management system for the certifying organization. Auditing on a regular basis further creates an environment where continual improvement occurs naturally.


04 Apr
Food Safety Summit 2019
Join Kestrel at Food Safety Summit 2019

Each year, Kestrel looks forward to the Food Safety Summit as one of the premier events in the food industry. Join our experts to discuss industry trends and solutions to your food safety challenges.

  • When: May 6-9, 2019
  • Where: Donald Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, Illinois
  • Who: Retailers, food processors, distributors, food manufacturers, growers, foodservice, testing laboratories, importing/exporting, law firms, and other food safety professionals
  • Find Kestrel: Stop by our booth (#214) in the exhibit hall!

Kestrel is proud to provide our ongoing support for the manufacture, processing, and distribution of safe food. We look forward to seeing you in Rosemont!

register now

26 Mar
Overview of FSMA for Chemical Distributors

Join NACD and Kestrel on Thursday, April 4 at 12:00 p.m. (EDT) for a webinar on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). During this webinar, Kestrel’s Roberto Bellavia, Principal in Food Safety Compliance, will provide an overview of FSMA rules applicable to the chemical ingredients industry, focusing on the receiving, storage, production, blending, and transportation of these products. Register here.

This webinar is a precursor to an upcoming in-person NACD regulatory workshop during which Kestrel will cover the FSMA regulations in-depth. This workshop will take place on June 12-13 in Oak Brook, Illinois, immediately following the Central Region Meeting. Registration for the workshop is forthcoming.

19 Mar
IFS Focus Day April 2019
IFS Focus Day: April 2019

IFS Focus Day Returns this Spring!
April 24, 2019 9:30 am – 3:00 pm
Delta Hotels Burnaby | 4331 Dominion St. | Firenze Room
Burnaby, BC V5G 1C7

Make plans to join IFS North America representatives Pius Gasser and Cheryl Sullivan; Bulldog Bag’s Alan Kenney; and AIB’s Siarl Dixon for our complimentary IFS Focus Day.


9:30 am: Registration
10:00 am: Welcome
10:30 am: Why IFS
11:00 am: The Certification Experience
11:15 am: FSMA Compliance Update
Noon: Lunch
12:45 pm: Risk Assessment
1:45 pm: IFS in the Eyes of a Certification Body (CB)
2:15 pm: IFS in North America
2:30 pm: Discussion
3:00 pm: Adjourn

To register, email 

Note: Space is limited for this FREE event!

Sponsored by Kestrel Management | GCP Consulting | AIB International

19 Mar
Top Reasons: FSMS
Top Reasons to Pursue a Food Safety Management System

Designing and implementing a compliant Food Safety Management System (FSMS) can help organizations improve in many areas beyond the system’s defined tasks. It is critical for management to align the food safety objectives with the business needs for a successful and meaningful program implementation. Here are some of the top reasons why companies that work in the food industry may want to pursue developing and implementing an FSMS:

10. Identify and categorize the organization’s food safety risks.
Once this information is known, management can prioritize and decide how to eliminate or reduce business risks and liabilities to acceptable levels. These risks are often better controlled through strict management accounting. As a bonus, employees will become more attuned to thinking about risks and helping management improve overall operations.

9. Develop work instructions and/or procedures to guide employees’ actions and to ensure that each food safety task is completed in a disciplined manner and approved by management.
This will reduce the risk to an organization of an employee accidentally making a food safety mistake that causes the employee or others to be harmed (or worse). It also reduces the company’s risk of government inspections, fines, poor public perception, and loss of business due to a possible recall.

8. Assure management that they, in fact, know and understand the regulatory food safety requirements that must be met daily.
These requirements can be a driver of continual improvement by ensuring that the company has up-to-date procedures and work instructions for employees to follow every day.

7. Develop meaningful goals and objectives that drive food safety performance improvements and possibly reduce additional costs.
Each business will have different goals and these goals will likely change each year. Goals assure continuous improvement in food safety performance for the business over time.

6. Create a strong training and educational program that stems from well-written procedures and work instructions and that clearly defines the company’s requirements.
A well-trained workforce is a motivated and happy workforce. Turnover is reduced, accidents and incidents decrease, and production efficiencies increase. Employees are very aware when an organization takes time to ensure that each job requested is completed in the safest manner possible.

5. Develop appropriate monitoring and measurement practices.
Once all food safety requirements (e.g., FSMA, USDA, GFSI) are known and understood, the organization will be able to gauge food safety performance based on scientific data and regulations, and then guide the organization’s actions in a direction of continuous improvement and compliance.

4. Verify the FSMS is functioning as designed and implemented.
By continuously auditing each food safety program and function, the organization will discover issues of concern and non-conformances prior to an incident or agency/certifying body finding. Routine, non-biased audits allow the company to choose a timeframe that will help improve the situation without undue influence by outsiders.

3. Monitor and trend issues of concern and/or non-conformance and the actions used to rectify them through a fully functioning corrective/preventive action program.
As employees watch management fix problems, they will learn that management is concerned about continuous improvement. This will prompt employees to start making their own improvement suggestions. These suggestions will further drive improvement in areas outside the original FSMS.

2. Evaluate the business model and the FSMS in a holistic fashion.
By using this self-reflection and identifying improvement opportunities, management can direct responsibilities for improvement actions across many departments of the company. Each of these improvement opportunities has the potential to help the bottom line and reduce the possibility of a food safety liability now or in the future.

1. Know that the company has done everything to maintain the business in a manner that meets all food safety rules and regulations.
The last and most important benefit for an organization that goes through the process of designing and implementing a compliant FSMS is knowing that the organization has done everything possible to maintain its business in a manner that meets all food safety laws, regulations, and statutes every day the doors are open for business. To a business owner, that knowledge is priceless. This is how brands are built and how they maintain the promise of food safety to consumers.

14 Feb
Water bottling
The Role of ERP in Food Safety Compliance

Is your organization faced with these challenges?

  • Significant industry disruptions with changing consumer demand
  • Growing complexity in supply chains
  • More stringent food safety mandates

We can help. Through Kestrel’s strategic alliance with Ultra Consultants, our whitepaper—The Role of ERP in Food Safety Compliance–provides in-depth insight to address these challenges.

You’ll learn:

  • How to leverage enterprise technology to assist in food safety compliance.
  • How to implement the appropriate processes and systems to help manage recalls, reporting, and document control.
  • What Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system requirements are critical to help today’s food processor.
  • Why gaining flexibility to respond to changing regulatory requirements is so important.

Download The Role of ERP in Food Safety Compliance today to get a better understanding of the role ERP systems can play in achieving food safety compliance.

30 Jan
Risk-based standards workshop
Risk-Based Standards Workshop: March 27

Don’t miss this free workshop hosted by DNV GL in Chicago on Wednesday, March 27, 2019.

Risk-Based Standards Workshop – How Emerging ISO Requirements Are Impacting Business
Environmental, Product Compliance, Health & Safety, Supply Chain & Food Safety

Join DNV GL Business Assurance North America Regional & Technical Management, Global Accreditation Management, as well as DNV GL Digital Solutions and key industry experts for this day-long workshop. Presenters will provide lessons learned about the following standards and topics: ISO 14001, ISO 45001, Product Compliance, and Supply Chain.

The second half of the day will feature a workshop on Food Safety. Kestrel Principal Roberto Bellavia will be talking about mitigating allergen risks. Other topics include supply chain management, food safety culture, and food fraud.

register now

30 Jan
ERP Food Safety Webinar
March 7 Webinar: Food Safety Compliance & ERP

Showcase Webinar – Food Safety Compliance and ERP:
How to Stay on the Safe Side

Thursday March 7, 2019  1 p.m. CT

Food and beverage processors face significant disruptions with changing consumer demand, growing complexity in supply chains, and ever stringent food safety mandates.

Today’s food and beverage processor must implement the appropriate processes and systems that not only manage recalls, reporting and document control, but also offer the flexibility to respond to changing regulatory requirements.

Kestrel and Ultra Consultants are partnering to offer you an educational webinar session taking place March 7, 2019 to learn what it takes to integrate compliance programs into core business processes and systems.

The session details how to meet a pressing need – selecting and implementing the right technology to meet strict food safety mandates.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand the key food safety trends and regulations impacting the sector.
  • Get an overview of strategies to help meet and sustain food safety compliance, certifications and regulatory mandates.
  • See the must-have ERP features to help reduce operational risks, achieve food safety requirements, and realize sustained value through effective use of enterprise technology.

Who Should Attend?

  • C-level leaders at food and beverage processing companies
  • Quality, Compliance, Finance leadership
  • ERP, IT Directors
  • Operations Directors, Production leadership
  • Anyone responsible for overall business process improvement

register now

29 Jan
Upcoming Food Workshops
Upcoming Coffee & FSVP Workshops: March 2019

Kestrel Management is teaming with Firedancer Coffee Consultants
to bring you two unique training opportunities this March in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

Space is limited, so don’t miss your chance to register now!

coffeeSpecialty Coffee Association’s Coffee Skills Program: Green Coffee Foundations: March 20, 2019

Join Firedancer Coffee Consultants for the SCA Coffee Skills Program’s one-day Green Coffee Foundations course. This introductory course covers key concepts surrounding green coffee, from growing the plant through processing, shipping, and storage, to arrival at a roastery. This course has been adapted to focus on known hazards in the supply chain of coffee, where they occur, and/or how they can be controlled or eliminated to help set the stage for the two-day FSVP course.

This is a certificate program from the Specialty Coffee Association, with a written and practical test at the end of the day. Cost of the course is $400. Use Code KM2019-25 when registering for a 25% discount on tuition fees. REGISTER NOW!

food importForeign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) Workshop: March 21-22, 2019

The FDA is starting to inspect importers as of September 2018. It’s time to be prepared. This two-day course is focused on building plans for green coffee producers, exporters and importers, but will cover the full extent of the law. Kestrel will lead attendees through the requirements for building a FSVP. The last half day will be spent building a model plan as a group. A prerequisite class is not required for the FSVP course, but having a strong understanding of FSMA, Good Manufacturing Practices, Hazard Analysis, and Preventive Controls would be beneficial.

Cost of the course is $895 per person, which includes a workbook, templates, lunch both days, and a certificate in FSVP. REGISTER NOW!