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Our Foreign Supplier Verification Program in a few words

One on One Interview with Beatriz Uruena, Director of Compliance and QA – TVT Trade Brands Inc.

In today’s global economy and permanent changing scenarios, having solid procedures to manage sensitive processes is paramount for any company. We know that importing food items, particularly specialty ingredients as the ones we offer, requires special processes to guarantee trustable and reliable sources and suppliers, to meet the highest quality standards and requirements in the industry.

Today our Director of Compliance & Quality Assurance, Ms. Beatriz Uruena will give us a quick and professional recap of our efforts in this area.

What kind of activities are required to have control and validation of suppliers at TVT?

TVT is an importer, and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requires companies as TVT to perform risk-based verification activities. To comply with our duty, we developed the Foreign Supplier Verification Program. Additionally, as an importer of record, we are required by the federal regulatory agencies, FDA, USDA, and CBP, to ensure traceability and record-keeping of all international transactions.

Which are the reasons behind the FSVP?

The program results from our efforts to comply with FSMA effective since 2017. Developing this program required a considerable amount of work and commitment to make it a reality during all these years. Today, we have activities in place to verify that the product is produced with the same health level as one in the United States. At TVT, we do everything in our power to minimize the risks of misbranding and adulteration.

What is the main goal of implementing a FSVP?

FSMA rule appointed us as the responsible party for ensuring that the food items we bring are not adulterated or misbranded before or after the importing process. The goal of the FSVP is to ensure that the products that we import come from validated sources and suppliers and that they comply with the strictest food safety standards required by the regulatory food agencies in the United States.

Which are the steps of TVT’s Supplier Validation Process?

Our FSVP program consists in five validation activities:

1. Sourcing /Pre-Selection of Suppliers

2. Document Evaluation

3. Hazard Analysis

4. Risk Assessment and Rating

5. Corrective Actions

Which are the minimum requirements for a supplier to be considered as an initial source for TVT’s needs?

Our procurement team identifies possible suppliers based on four requirements:

a). The supplier must have third-party certification recognized as part of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) – The most accepted certifications are ISO 22000, BRC, and some SQF’s at certain levels.

b). The supplier must have No recall records in the last five years.

c). The supplier must count with FDA registration number.

d). The potential supplier must submit an item control sample in order to analyze initial organoleptic, microbiological, and technical specifications, that have to be in compliance with our internal requirements.

Once a supplier has been pre-validated which are the next steps?

Once the initial step is in compliance, we proceed to the following next steps:

2. Document Evaluation

3. Hazard Analysis

4. Risk Assessment and Rating

5. Corrective Actions.

During these stages, we collect questionnaires, programs, plans, and audit reports. Confirm supplier's processes, procedures, and preventive measures are in place to avoid food contamination and/or any other type of hazardous conditions. We also collect information and documents about the product to guarantee that the item meets our customers' needs and expectations. Finally, the quality tea can analyze hazards, measure risks, categorize/rate suppliers by the level of risk, and initiate the necessary actions to help bring the supplier up to our high-quality standards.

Finally, would you consider TVT’s verification program highly reliable for customers?

Our FSVP program, through its five steps, allows us to fulfill the heavy burden of compliance placed upon the importer's shoulders, and satisfy our most detailed client's policies by proactively managing the quality and safety of the food items, while responsibly sourcing goods from just qualified suppliers. We work hand to hand with our suppliers during the validation process, so that they can also improve their own process, and meet our standards.

Thanks again to our Director of Compliance & Quality Assurance for her magnificent efforts, vast knowledge, and experience. And for her hard work applied every day in the growing process of the company. We also appreciate such a detailed and complete explanation of TVT’s new suppliers’ validation process and the clear guideline to the well-known Foreign Supplier Verification Program.

Beatriz Uruena

Director of Compliance & Quality Assurance

TVT Trade Brands Inc.

Beatriz has been with TVT for 6 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineer and Supply Chain Management with a Master’s in Science in Quality Assurance. In 2018 she earned a Six Sigma Green Belt Certification and has finalized her training in Black Belt Six Sigma Methodology. Beatriz coordinates, validates, and approves the documentation for all suppliers at TVT. She is also responsible for import documentation and general coordination.

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