Field To Fork Auditing – An Interview with Our Technical Manager Silvia Molena.

22nd April 2016

Field To Fork is an accreditation standard necessary to supply Marks and Spencers. It focuses in great detail on hygiene and cleanliness on farm sites. One of JW European’s Italian staff, Silvia, recently became a Field to Fork qualified auditor. Below we interview her about the Field to Fork course and about life in general as a Technical Manager and Lead Auditor!

Silvia is JWE’s Technical Manager and she has been working for JWE since October 2011 after finishing her BSc in Food Science and Technology. She started in the role of Technical Support and then began a succession of training courses including obtaining a Lead Auditor qualification.  Since then she has done numerous audits with the JWE growers in the South and North of Italy and also in Spain. She has also participated in many audits with clients for many different types of standards. All this contributed to the experience necessary to even start the training for a Field to Fork accreditation. She has acquired a high level of knowledge not only around auditing and technical standards but also on the technical management requirements and she can inspect and recognize when those requirements are not properly followed.

We were interested in her recent qualification and how she felt about it.

Is there something you studied at university which has come in handy during your time at JWE? At University I studied food safety, so the knowledge about food legislation, food microbiology, kinds of foods and different production processes, and mainly good practice and management of hygiene aspects are helping my job at JWE

How many audits do you think you’ve done during your time in JWE? I think I have done around 25-30 audits since I qualified as a Lead Auditor in 2012

Which is your favourite part of an audit? Visiting the sites gives me the chance to understand more about the production process; it gives me the possibility to meet people with different experiences and knowledge. Through the audit process I can work directly with the site to ensure the food safety.

Which is the hardest part of an audit? The management of a non-conformity, as the problem needs to be identified and understood by people to ensure it is addressed on the right way. Probably also the report to complete afterwards can sometimes be hard, as it requires time and attention to ensure all the details are included and are clear enough.

What did you have to do to become a field to fork auditor? I had to give details about my experience in food safety and auditing to be accepted for the training course. The course was made up of an online training course and an exam. The final assessment was reviewing 10 audit scenarios by identifying the reference points of the standard, the possible issues, and the corrective actions and giving additional comments and suggestions. I also did a specific training course in the UK to be able to audit category 0 crops (that includes baby leaf).

Was field to fork harder than a lead auditor qualification? Yes, it was as it requires more efforts during the training to understand in depth all the requirements and to do the final assessment. But it is necessary!

What does field to fork do that helps technical compliance in food be even better? The greater attention on food safety from the beginning to the end of the production process, considering all the possible risks for the production and requiring adequate control measures

What else can we achieve through auditing here at JWE? I think we can reach a higher knowledge on food safety and ensure we guarantee it from the field to the final product. We can also continue to improve and grow alongside supply chain

So what keeps you excited and motivated about technical compliance in food? The possibility to learn something new every day and the idea that, doing this job, it is possible to contribute to making food safer…so we can all enjoy food with no worries!

For Food Safety and Technology students … Would you suggest being an auditor as a job? Yes! It permits you to grow as person and you have the possibility to travel and meet new people and realities every time you do an audit!