Preliminary checks on ingredients and packing materials

During product development and subsequently, by experience, understanding is built up about the effects on product quality that will arise if there are variations in the qualities of ingredient materials.

Materials are purchased after agreements involving suppliers, the company's buying department and the technical department. In addition to costs, the contracts will detail the technical specifications of each material with an acceptance of what variations may occur. It is useful to let the supplier know, in detail, what the materials are to be used for and the likely consequences if the material falls out of specification. The supplier should communicate the meaning of codes, names and other information given on the labels of his products.

The suppliers will have their own quality control arrangements and it is in the buyer's (the biscuit manufacturing company's) interest to deal only with suppliers that are reliable and able to forewarn of any significant deviations from the agreed specifications. Such arrangements greatly reduce the need for tests on deliveries of materials at the biscuit factory.

Gone are the days when biscuit factories had extensive laboratories capable of making detailed analysis of each ingredient. We now rely on the supplier to give a certificate of quality so the range of analyses done at the biscuit factory is much more limited.

If the quality of an ingredient is to be queried it is important that the testing method used by the customer is the same as is used by the supplier. Details of test methods will be part of the supplier's specifications for each ingredient.

With reliance placed on the supplier for quality it is then more important for the biscuit factory quality control department to ensure that conditions and length of storage at the factory are suitable to prevent deterioration before use.

Check the labels and delivery note details of all consignments. Identify all consignments in store to ensure that they are used in date order.

Take reference samples of all bulk supplied materials and store in opaque plastic or metal containers at appropriate temperatures until well after the material has been used in the factory.

Release consignments for use in the factory only after all the quality checks have been completed.

Consignments that have been in store for more than 4 weeks should be visually inspected and tested again if necessary.