What is a system?

Sabal Food Safety Consulting's blog

May 25th, 2014

1. A system is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole or a set of elements (often called 'components') and relationships. Source: Wikipedia
2. An organized, purposeful structure that consists of interrelated and interdependent elements (components, entities, factors, members, parts etc.). These elements continually influence one another (directly or indirectly) to maintain their activity and the existence of the system, in order to achieve the goal of the system. Source: Business Dictionary
Characteristics of a System
1. A system has structure, it contains parts (or components) that are directly or indirectly related to each other
2. A system has behavior, it exhibits processes that fulfill its function or purpose
3. A system has interconnectivity: the parts and processes are connected by structural and/or behavioral relationships
4. A system's structure and behavior may be decomposed via subsystems and sub-processes to elementary parts and process steps
Facts about a System
  • The System belongs to the company! Not to the individuals that develop it…
  • A system is based on documentation! If it is not documented,
    • How can it be used for training? Because, If training depends on the trainer’s knowledge, trainings will always be different…
    • How it can be audited?
    • How it can be verified?
    • How it can be validated?
Developing a System
Start by assembling a “development team”. The team should have a team leader or coordinator responsible for the overall progress
1. Identify the guidance document (standard) with the criteria to follow
2. Read and understand the guidance
3. Start developing documentation to support the requirements of the guidance
Implementation of a System
1. Once the System is documented and evidence of the effectiveness of is procedures (components) is obtained…
2. Written documentation (policies, procedures, work instructions, forms or records) will be used for training or for developing the training content.
This is how the knowledge (Information) in the documentation is transferred to people.
So, what is a Food Safety System?
1. A Food Safety System is based on a Food Safety Standard (SQF, BRC, FSSC 22000, IFS, etc)
2. Food Safety Systems are developed to control food safety hazards from different sources
This is a graphical representation of a Food Safety System


What is a Food Safety System?
  • Food Safety Systems use the ISO structure of a quality system (Management commitment, management reviews, corrective actions, internal audits, etc), plus:
    • Main component: a HACCP Program
      • Which is why having HACCP training is a pre-requisite for anyone developing a Food Safety System
      • Hazards controlled by the HACCP Program:
        • Related to the process
        • Inherent to the ingredients and finished products
    • Supporting components: pre-requisite programs based on GMP’s
      • Hazards controlled by the pre-requisite programs:
      • Related to the internal and external environment (Outside grounds, plant construction and design, lighting, sanitary operations, pest control, etc).
      • Related to the equipment, tools and utensils.
      • Related to the personnel (clothing, jewelry, disease control, visitors, personal cleanliness, etc).
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