Food Safety And Quality Assurance Manager – Cheshta Sehgal

Cheshta Sehgal is the Food Safety And Quality Assurance Manager for the Missouri Northern Pecan Growers. Skilled in food safety, quality assurance, team building and time management. HACCP, FSMA, And PCQI certified.

Her career started with the study of food science at Case State. Before she started with the company, there was one employee that was the Plant Manager while also managing food safety. The company really wanted to invest in someone whom had the background. She became the single person to deal with the health inspectors and the government. Also, to be the person that follows changes to the recent rules, new policies, and regulations so that the Missouri Northern Pecan Growers can stay ahead of it.

The HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and The FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act)

HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) was the main focus of hazard analysis for Missouri Northern Pecan Growers. Compliance was the main focus. Having a HACCP plan was the main thing for our company. But since 2016, the Food Safety Modernization Act has taken up much more of her time and focus. It was 2011 when it was passed into law. Then companies had to start implementing it. That’s shifted the entire industry. First, it was the recalls. Now, the law has encompassed each step of the way for our pecans.

Recently, there has been a shift in the nutrition panel. Packages were okay if they just had calories. Now they require different things on those labels. Packages need to include labeling for added sugars. What is the added sugar in a raw pecan? The Missouri Northern Pecan Growers need to post any other additional sources of where that product is coming from. Announcing ‘Product of USA’ is now a requirement. Missouri Northern Pecan Growers are required to say that on the label.

Another thing that is happening on labels is listing your calories. They have to be bolded so the consumers can actually see, “Oh, I’m going to be consuming these many calories. So I better be careful.”Cheshta Sehgal believes that this trend has been good. Customers have started looking at the labels with more consideration. Another thing that’s been happening is the transparency of the bulk pecans that are processed. For a small company, obviously, it can be hard to implement those changes. It has been good that the FDA has provided most small companies with a two year extension to get their labeling right.

Safe Product Transportation Laws

The work of a Food Safety And Quality Assurance Manager includes a law just recently passed about the safe transportation of food product. Specifically, making sure your truck and your trailers don’t have any odors or any pests. Making sure that the temperature is controlled inside. Especially, during summer. Missouri Northern Pecan Growers were already doing those things so it is not an issue for them under current laws. The last rule that passed was Food Defense. Basically, every company needs to have a food defense plan in order to protect your product from being unintentional contamination. Salmonella and Listeria are examples of unintentional things that happen. You don’t intentionally plan on that, you know.

Where Can We Find You?

There are some tradeshows that I will be attending this year. The Natural Products Expo West and the Natural Products Expo East. The entire company will go to the Missouri Grocers MGA. That event happens in July. Missouri Northern Pecan Growers are planning on going this year to the PMA (Produce Marketing Association). That is a fresh summit in Florida where the company will be exhibiting as well.

Like this post? Read our Interview with The President Of The Lamar Pecan Company.