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10 Dec
expanding food safety resources
Gary Wills Joins Kestrel’s Food Safety Division

Gary WillsKestrel welcomes Gary Wills as Business Development Director for Kestrel’s growing Food Safety division. Gary will be working with Kestrel’s food safety team to introduce Kestrel’s food safety certification and compliance services to an ever-expanding market impacted by FSMA requirements and GFSI standards.

Gary has extensive experience working with companies in the food and beverage market, particularly those seeking food safety certification. He is well-versed in the GFSI-benchmarked standards and has managed global, national, regional, and startup accounts at the food safety, quality, procurement, product development, and senior management/ownership levels.

Prior to joining Kestrel, Gary served as the Director of Sales, Food & Beverage, for DNV GL Business Assurance, where he facilitated many large opportunities into sales; oversaw several key global projects; and developed strong relationships with some of the nation’s largest food and beverage processors, retailers, and food service organizations.

Gary has experience with the following certifications: FSSC 22000, SQF, BRC, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001. He is a member of the Institute for Food Technologists (IFT) and International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) and has completed the FSSC Lead Auditor training. Gary has his Bachelor of Business from Western Illinois University.

04 Dec
Food Sanitation
Food Sanitizer Efficacy and Validation Overview

The food safety industry has focused heavily on sanitation through the growth of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certifications and more recently the Food Safety Modernization act (FSMA). These efforts have intensified over the past 10+ years, resulting in the mandatory development of much more formalized programs, including programs for sanitation.  Even with this increased emphasis and more stringent sanitation requirements, food outbreaks continue.

Could the use of improper sanitizers be linked to foodborne illness outbreaks? Read Kestrel’s recent article, Food Sanitizer Efficacy and Validation Overviewas published in Food Safety Magazine.

20 Nov
MWFPA Annual Meeting Drone Presentation
Talk Drones with Kestrel at the MWFPA Convention

The Midwest Food Products Association’s Annual Convention brings together leaders in the food processing industry to discuss trends, view new technologies, share expertise, and network with professionals in different companies and disciplines.

MWFPA Annual Convention
November 27-29, 2018
Kalahari Resort | Wisconsin Dells, WI

Kestrel Presentation: Bringing Your Drone Program to Scale
Wednesday, November 28 at 9:30 a.m.
Jack Anderson, Kestrel Management Chief Engineer

This year, Kestrel Management will be talking about the growing applicability of drones and best practices from our experience managing industrial-scale drone programs. Kestrel’s presentation will discuss how unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) technology (a/k/a drones) can be applied across various industries. We will cover some of the risks and opportunities associated with building an industrial drone program and share lessons learned from our experiences. We’ll address common questions, including the following:

  • What does it take to build an industrial drone program?
  • How can UAS technology fit into your current business model?
  • What challenges can occur when you introduce drones to your business operations?
  • How do you ensure you operate in compliance with FAA regulations?

Join us at the MWFPA Annual Convention and get the information and resources you need to meet the ongoing challenges of customer demands.

08 Nov
Preventive controls human food
Still Have Questions About FSMA Preventive Controls?

In September 2015, the FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule was published, requiring affected companies to comply with all FDA timelines. The last of these deadlines required that all very small businesses (less than $1 million per year) be in compliance with the FSMA rule by September 17, 2018.

With most companies having implemented FSMA preventive controls at this point, what have we learned? What’s still not clear? What major challenges remain?

Read Kestrel Senior Consultant Melody Ge‘s latest article in Food Safety Tech, which shares some questions that could help more companies on their journey to FSMA compliance.


30 Oct
FSSC22000 Info Day
FSSC 22000 Info Day Is Back

Attending the Food Safety Consortium? Make plans to also join Kestrel at the FSSC 22000 Information Day on November 13, 2018. We will be joined by Cor Groenveld, Market Development Manager, and Jacqueline Southee, NA Representative, both with FSSC 22000, the GFSI-benchmarked certification program.

Learn about:

  • Implications and benefits of the recent updates to FSSC 22000
  • How the revised ISO 22000 standard will impact FSSC 22000
  • The future of food safety management
  • How the new FSSC 22000 certification can benefit your food safety program

FSSC 22000 Information Day
Hosted by Kestrel Management and FSSC 22000
November 13, 2018
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (includes networking lunch)
1821 Walden Office Square Suite 400
Schaumburg, IL

And stop by to visit Kestrel at the Food Safety Consortium – Booth #119. If you haven’t registered, yet, please be our guest and use our discount code (Cubs) at registration.

16 Oct
Be Our Guest at the Food Safety Consortium

On behalf of our team, Kestrel Management would like to invite you to attend the 6th Annual Food Safety Consortium Conference & Expo on Nov. 13-15 in Schaumburg, IL.

The Consortium is a premiere event for food safety education and networking—and we want to offer you the chance to visit us at the event (booth #119) for a discounted rate (see offer below).

You can accomplish more in two or three days at the Food Safety Consortium than you might otherwise achieve in weeks! Here are five ways the Food Safety Consortium will allow you to enhance your business:

  • Get expert advice on specific challenges faced by your business.
  • Listen to insights from thought leaders & innovators.
  • Stay up-to-date with emerging or changing trends.
  • Upgrade your skills, knowledge and on-the-job effectiveness.
  • Gain new ideas and insights to grow your business.

Come see Kestrel at booth #119. When you register, use our discount code Cubs and receive a 20% discount off registration.

Our team is proud to be part of the Food Safety Consortium and hope to see you there!register now

10 Oct
AirWorks 2018
Kestrel to Present at AirWorks 2018

The AirWorks 2018 Conference is focused on the growing commercial drone industry and how developers, partners, and operators can work to reshape the global economy with drones. This year, Kestrel Management will be teaming with Union Pacific Railroad to talk about our experience and lessons learned from managing industrial-scale drone programs.

AirWorks 2018
October 30 – November 1, 2018
Dallas, Texas
register now

Kestrel Presentation: Bringing Your Drone Program to Scale: Lessons Learned from Going Big

Thursday, November 1 at 11:00 a.m.
Rachel Mulholland, Kestrel Management Consultant, Industrial UAS Programs
Edward Adelman, Union Pacific Railroad, General Director of Safety

This presentation will discuss the risks and opportunities associated with building an industrial drone program and share some of the lessons learned from our experience. We’ll discuss common questions, including the following:

  • What does it take to build an industrial drone program?
  • How can UAS technology fit into your current business model?
  • What challenges can occur with fleets of certified remote pilots and unmanned vehicles?
  • How do you ensure you operate in compliance with FAA regulations?
  • What are some common pitfalls to avoid and best practices to incorporate into your program?

Why You Should Attend

If you currently have a drone program or are looking to implement one, this event is for you!

  • Attend sessions focused on the industry track most relevant to your business: construction, energy, agriculture, public safety, infrastructure
  • Network with companies that are on the forefront of enterprise drone adoption
  • Get a preview of the latest drone technologies
  • Receive hands-on training from experienced industry leaders and instructors

register now

04 Oct
Food Defense
The Four “A’s” of Food Defense

When looking at FSMA, it’s important to look at what we should be doing in industry under FSMA’s prevention scheme. FDA seeks for companies to assess risk and implement preventive controls on a broad basis. Thinking about risk-based strategies, whether in the supply chain, internal systems, or whether you are a grower or an importer, is key for any food company when planning for the future.

From Reactive to Proactive

With the FSMA rules, FDA has moved from reactive to proactive. Preventive strategies are the essence of FSMA. Proactively creating or updating a food defense and safety plan is the first step to ensure compliance.

The four “A’s” of food defense, as outlined below, provide a methodology for building a proactive and comprehensive food defense program.

Step 1: Assess
Assess the risks throughout the supply chain, including to the origin of raw materials. Conduct a vulnerability assessment of weaknesses and critical control points to identify where someone could attempt product adulteration. The focus must be both inside and outside of company walls and extend to the source of materials and services within the supply chain for producers and distributors of food to the public.

Step 2: Access
Who has access to critical control points and food material risk areas? Pay close attention to the four key activity types that FDA has identified as particularly vulnerable to adulteration:

  • Mixing and grinding activities that involve a high volume of food with a high potential for uniform mixing of a contaminant
  • Ingredient handling with open access to the product stream
  • Bulk liquid receiving and loading
  • Liquid storage and handling, which is typically located in remote, isolated areas

Restrict access to these areas from suppliers, contractors, visitors, and most employees—limiting access to critical employees only. This provides a higher level of protection, and supports video and/or physical monitoring.

Step 3: Alerts
Alerts of intentional and unintentional food adulteration must be sent to the appropriate individuals, according to the documented food safety and defense program. Response time is critical. Every passing minute is a minute when more health risks could develop, leading to a greater chance of negative impacts on public safety and the related businesses.

Step 4: Audit
Auditing operational and regulatory compliance helps to ensure and maintain best food defense practices and provide documentation of compliance to regulators. FSMA promotes the safety of the U.S. food supply by focusing on prevention, rather than reactive response. Prevention is only as effective as the actual compliance processes put in place. Regular and random auditing, including remote video monitoring, provides evidence confirming that the appropriate preventive measures are taken and effective.

Taking a proactive approach to food defense that follows these four “A’s” will help meet a key requirement by ensuring that the organization is working to avoid the risks associated with food adulteration and contamination.


19 Sep
USTR Finalizes China 301 List 3 Tariffs

On Monday, September 17, 2018, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released a list of approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, including hundreds of chemicals, that will be subject to additional tariffs. The additional tariffs will be effective starting September 24, 2018, and initially will be in the amount of 10 percent. Starting January 1, 2019, the level of the additional tariffs will increase to 25 percent.

In the final list, the administration also removed nearly 300 items, but the Administration did not provide a specific list of products excluded. Included among the products removed from the proposed list are certain consumer electronics products, such as smart watches and Bluetooth devices; certain chemical inputs for manufactured goods, textiles and agriculture; certain health and safety products such as bicycle helmets, and child safety furniture such as car seats and playpens.

Individual companies may want to review the list to determine the status of Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes of interest.

View the final tariff list here.

Read the USTR press release.

06 Sep
Food truck
Food Supply Chain Management 101

Supply chain management is becoming more and more relevant to small and entrepreneurial food businesses, particularly related to FSMA requirements that are required to be fully implemented by this September. To meet these requirements, it is important for small businesses to understand:

  • Applicable FSMA requirements
  • How to develop a supplier approval program
  • What challenges companies may encounter and tips to overcome them
  • How to find an appropriate starting point to develop a supply chain management program

Read Kestrel Senior Consultant Melody Ge‘s latest article in Food Safety Tech, written to help small and entrepreneurial companies understand the basics of food supply chain management to start formulating their own programs.