Blog

25 May
DOT General Awareness Training: June 16 & 22, 2021

Department of Transportation (DOT) code (49CFR172.702) requires that any employee involved in the transportation (shipping or receiving) of hazardous materials must be trained and tested in general awareness, safety, site-specific job functions, and transportation security.

8-hour DOT General Awareness Training (ONLINE)
June 16 (part A) & June 22 (part B), 2021
8:30 am – 12:30 pm CT
REGISTER NOW!


KTL’s 8-hour DOT General Awareness Training (held as two 4-hour sessions online on June 16 and June 22) is applicable for all companies that ship hazardous materials, ship hazardous waste, or prepare shipments of hazardous materials/waste for transport. It teaches all topics required for DOT general awareness training and general security training and will meet the requirements for triennial training certification.

Topics covered include:

  • Code training requirements
  • Shipping papers
  • Hazardous materials table
  • Incident reporting
  • Hazard classes
  • Common violations and confusing specifics
  • Marking, labeling, and placarding

Cost: $198/participant. This online DOT training is held as two 4-hour sessions: June 16 (Part A) and June 22 (Part B) from 9 am – 1 pm. To receive CERTIFICATION, participants MUST complete Part A and Part B and pass both post-tests with 80%.

REGISTER NOW!


Training Details

  • Training sessions will be held via Zoom. Link will be provided prior to class.
  • Training is scheduled to begin at 8:30 am and end at 12:30 pm CT (or until material is complete).
  • Participants will receive a training manual, pre-/post-competency test, exercises, and a certificate of completion, provided they receive an 80% or above on the test.
  • Registration closes 72 hours prior to the scheduled training. KTL has the authority to cancel training with 72-hours notice if class size is not large enough.
21 May
Staff Spotlight April Greene
Staff Spotlight on April Greene

Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with KTL Consultant April Greene. April is an experienced EHS professional with a history of working in the environmental services industry. She has significant experience creating and managing corporate programs, plans, policies, and procedures to ensure compliance with EHS and food safety requirements. April recently moved to our Madison, Wisconsin office. 

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

I held various science-related positions working while getting my degrees. I have done everything from making and testing butter to testing sewage and wastewater. I obtained my Master of Science degree in Environmental Chemistry, with a concentration in Toxicology and Hydrology, while working as an Assistant Supervisor of an inorganic environmental laboratory. Most recently before joining KTL, I spent almost five years as an EHS Specialist in the electronics recycling industry. This is an industry that changes frequently with the technology produced, requiring me to stay current on a lot of different types of regulations.

My work background has taken me in and out of the foods industry, which I am still involved in at KTL. My passion, however, remains environmental work and finding sustainable solutions to progress toward a more circular economy, including reuse and recycling. Regardless of the work I’m doing, I enjoy coming up with creative solutions for industry that are outside the box but fit the client’s unique needs. As just one example, one of my favorite projects from my past work involved using glass from recycled electronics as a base for artesian Italian tiles.

What types of clients do you work with? What are the biggest issues you see them facing right now?

I am extremely lucky to not have a “type” of client that I work with. I shift back and forth between organizations of all kinds that have either EHS or food safety needs (or both), which keeps my creative brain fueled. The biggest issues I see them facing right now involve trying to find cost-effective ways to do the right thing. People want to do what is best for the environment and for their communities, but they don’t always know where to start. That is where I come in!

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

My favorite thing is the sigh of relief that comes when my clients realize that I am here to help. I am lucky that I have amazing colleagues at KTL to work with. We work as a team to bounce ideas off each other and to make sure we find the best solution available for our clients.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have 14-year-old and 4-year-old kids, so free time is not something get a lot of! I am a nerd at heart who loves reading. There is not a genre of book that I will not devour. When I am traveling, I listen to podcasts. When I am with my extended family, we really enjoy playing games together, especially Dungeons and Dragons.

Read April’s full bio.

21 Apr
Staff Spotlight on Jessica Dykun

Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with KTL Senior Consultant Jessica Dykun. Jessica has 15 of experience working in the food and beverage industry, with particular expertise in food safety and microbiology. She has a wealth of experience to support Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification and regulatory compliance efforts. Jessica is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

 My background is in food safety and microbiology. I have a master’s degree in food safety and defense and started my career working in analytical chemistry and microbiology labs conducting food analyses. I then advanced into a management role within the food industry and focused on Food Safety and Quality Assurance (FSQA) program development and implementation, including obtaining GFSI certification for multiple manufacturing facilities.

I joined the consulting world at KTL in January 2017. My areas of expertise include food safety, quality assurance, GFSI certification (i.e., FSSC22000, SQF, IFS, BRC), food microbiology and environmental monitoring, analytical methods, FDA and USDA labeling, USDA and Seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) development, and regulatory compliance. I have experience working with beverages, dairy products, seafood, raw and ready-to-eat (RTE) proteins, baking, food packaging, soups, sauces, condiments, and nutraceuticals.

What types of clients do you work with? What are the biggest issues you see them facing right now?

All my clients are in the food supply chain—from harvesting to food manufacturing, to food packaging manufacturing, to distributors and importers, to retail. We have recently started working with companies in the dietary supplement and food additives industry, as well, due to growing food safety requirements.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a big challenge for most of my clients this past year. We have had to develop some creative solution strategies to overcome the obstacles of social distancing and reduced workforce, including creating COVID response plans and using remote GFSI auditing platforms. We have worked with clients to develop data management solutions and remote training applications, as well, to help them navigate the remote COVID-19 world.

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

I enjoy consulting because it allows me to work with people from different sectors of the food industry across the globe. I enjoy the fast-paced environment of food manufacturing, and I get satisfaction knowing that our consulting expertise is helping to create a safer food supply chain. One of the biggest highlights is helping my clients develop a food safety culture and seeing them achieve GFSI certification after months of program development and implementation. 

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have three little boys—all age three and under—so free time is very limited. Due to the pandemic and staying at home, we have found great entertainment improving our backyard garden and expanding our green-thumb skills. I enjoy involving my boys in planting, harvesting, and cooking with our homegrown food. Some of our favorite homegrown recipes include salsa, pasta sauces, and fresh squeezed orange juice and lemonade.

Read Jessica’s full bio.

19 Apr
EHS Compliance Webinar Martin Mantz
Webinar: Challenges of EHS Compliance in the U.S.

Current Challenges of Technical Compliance in the U.S.:
Focus on Occupational Health & Safety and Environment
May 17, 2021 | 4 pm – 5 pm CT

Technical compliance regarding EHS has seen tremendous changes over the last couple of years and is likely to change even more in the foreseeable future. EHS regulatory enforcement will undoubtedly regain momentum in the next few years. Achieving and maintaining EHS compliance requires great management and expertise to ensure all aspects of a company’s technical compliance have been identified and are being actively managed.

KTL’s Sarah Burton will be joining Martin Mantz Compliance Solutions, our German alliance partner, to discuss the challenges of technical EHS compliance and to provide an up-to-date understanding of technical compliance in the U.S. today.

19 Apr
Demonstrating Compliance in a Socially Distanced World

Don’t miss this free American Bar Association event on April 22, 2021 — Demonstrating Compliance in a Socially Distanced World: Virtual Auditing.

In the time of COVID-19, virtual auditing has become increasingly necessary and valuable to organizations as they seek to achieve environmental compliance while facing worldwide travel restrictions and remote work policies that have disrupted routine in-person audits. With this shift, comes the need for both regulated entities and regulators to develop new approaches and procedures to ensure the effectiveness of audits conducted remotely. Practitioners, including auditors and legal counsel, must consider new dynamics related to security, data protection, and audit integrity-on top of the usual audit considerations. This session will highlight some of these new challenges and provide real-world solutions to aid attendees form new practice skills to apply in the (virtual) field.

Panelists–including KTL’s Sarah Burton–will explore the new world of remote auditing, focusing on real-world solutions to the challenges that virtual auditing presents.

Register online.

24 Mar
Staff Spotlight Will Brokaw
Staff Spotlight on Will Brokaw

Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with KTL Consultant and Data Science Specialist Will Brokaw. Will is an EHS Consultant with an extensive background in statistics and safety culture. He specializes in turning client data into usable information. Will is based in KTL’s Madison, WI headquarters. 

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

My degrees are in psychology, then I taught statistics and research methods for a few semesters before moving to Madison. Kestrel was engaged in Human Factors work at the time, which was a good match with my background. I’ve since become involved mainly in various EHS projects for clients, including EHS auditing, statistics/data analysis, and SharePoint work.

What types of clients do you work with? What are the biggest issues you see them facing right now?

I see them facing many issues—upheaval caused by the pandemic, structural changes to companies (including layoffs), more aggressive enforcement of regulations with new administration.

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

The many wonderful people that I work with.

What do you like to do in your free time?

This is a hard question since we’ve all been trapped in our homes for the last year. I guess reading (fantasy for fiction and history for non-fiction) and listening to podcasts (The Dollop, Behind the Bastards, Knowledge Fight) and music have filled my time lately.

Read Will’s full bio.

18 Mar
Now Hiring: Food Safety Specialist
Now Hiring: Food Safety Specialist

Location: Chicago, Illinois

KTL is seeking a Food Safety Specialist with 5-7 years of professional food safety consulting or relevant food industry experience to join our team. This individual will work under the direction of KTL Project Managers and Senior Consultants to manage and execute tasks for KTL’s food safety projects and meet client expectations. The Food Safety Specialist must have working knowledge of FDA, USDA, and GFSI requirements as they apply to food/food packaging manufacturing, processing, and distribution, and experience implementing/maintaining food safety documents and plans.  

Responsibilities and tasks include the following: 

  • Providing HACCP, SOPand SSOP development and implementation support 
  • Conducting gap assessments to FDA, USDA, and GFSI (i.e., IFS, BRC, FSSC22000, SQF) requirements 
  • Conducting relevant food safety training for clients  
  • Researching FDA, USDA, and GFSI regulatory requirements and maintaining standards updates 
  • Researching labeling regulatory review 
  • Interpreting thirdparty regulatory audits 
  • Reviewing, recommending, and coordinating efforts for environmental contaminants and pathogen testing program 
  • Working with clients and KTL senior staff to identify Food Safety Management System (FSMS) and program gaps and implement solutions for continuous improvement  
  • Maintaining and updating documents to ensure conformance and compliance consistency 
  • Participating in the development and management of KTL’s SharePoint® tools  
  • Assisting in growing clients and other business development efforts, as requested 

Requirements

  • B.S. degree in food science, biology, chemistry,  technology, microbiology, or other related life science  
  • 5-7 years of related food industry experience in Quality Assurance/Control; experience in cooking, processing, manufacturing dairy, low-acid canned food, meat, or seafood preferred 
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills  
  • Excellent research, analytical, writing, and organizational skills 

 Preferred

  • Microsoft SharePoint® and information management systems experience 
  • Highrisk food or ingredients experience  
  • Understanding of food safety in food packaging 

How to Apply

Forward a resume to recruiting@kestreltellevate.com.


Company Description

KTL is a management consulting firm providing EHS, sustainability, food safety, and quality consulting services to a wide range of industry, municipal, university, and government clients. Our focus is to build strong, long-term client partnerships and provide value-added solutions that simplify management systems, improve compliance, and establish more sustainable operations. KTL specializes in developing and implementing strategies, processes, and tools that complement our clients’ investments in existing programs and resources. Our highly qualified personnel have an in-depth knowledge of U.S. federal, state, and international EHS requirements; global food safety compliance; ISO management systems; and information management toolsOur consultants possess the education, work experience, and professional registrations necessary to provide value-adding consulting services to our clients. 

18 Feb
Staff Spotlight Emily Watt
Staff Spotlight on Emily Watt

Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with KTL Consultant Emily Watt. Emily works with multinational companies and government agencies to provide environmental, health, and safety (EHS) compliance and sustainability support. She is based in the Washington, DC metro area. 

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

I studied International Relations and focused on Global Environmental Politics at American University in Washington, DC. I continued with French courses and picked up Brazilian Portuguese while studying in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Professionally, I’ve worked in both multinational corporations and small non-profit settings that overlap with U.S. government work.

I enjoy the facilitation of government programs internationally the most! My previous experience taught me a lot about implementing government programs, the associated challenges, and the opportunities for impact. It can be truly fulfilling work. However, I wanted my work to focus on environmentalism, which is how I ended up at KTL. In my current role, I work on global health programs, but I am also involved on a wide variety of U.S. environmental projects.

What types of clients do you work with? What are the biggest issues you see them facing right now?

I primarily work with U.S. government staff who manage global health programs. A project may have a wide scope of environmental impact. It can be difficult to home in on those impacts and identify specific mitigation measures that are needed for an activity, country, or region. When implementing a project to be sustainable for years to come, it is important to start off on the right foot and to continually self-assess. We are always looking through that lens and offering resources and guidance to create continual opportunities for improvement.

No matter the type of project I work on, it seems there is always a need for automation and organization. Whether there are too many people to train or too many documents to track, I have found that a well-equipped team and a solid Environmental Management System (EMS) to keep things on track are invaluable.

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

Variety keeps me on my toes! I enjoy working with different projects and people each day. There is a lot of variability and flexibility in the work KTL does, which allows for creative problem solving. I am always learning something new from my colleagues and clients—or from forging my own path through a problem. It is awesome to work with so many subject matter experts and to be a part of helping our clients achieve their greater goals.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Free time has been reimagined during COVID-19! I work from home regardless, so it is nice to take a walk outside to avoid the feeling of being in the same spot all day. I’ve prioritized being social with my friends through FaceTime or picnics in the park. I am teaching myself to cook, and I can be found staring at my houseplants hoping for them to grow.

Read Emily’s full bio.

17 Feb
Validation vs verification
Validation vs. Verification: What’s the Difference?

To ensure a sound Hazard Analysis and Critical Controls Points (HACCP) Plan, companies must confirm the Plan is adequate for controlling food safety hazards through the process of validation and verification.

According to 9 CFR 417.4 a, “Every establishment shall validate the HACCP Plan’s adequacy in controlling the food safety hazards identified during the hazard analysis and shall verify that the Plan is being effectively implemented.” HACCP Principle 6—Establish Verification Procedures—further emphasizes the importance of establishing activities that determine the validity of the HACCP Plan and verify that the system is operating according to the Plan.

Based on these requirements, verification and validation seem quite similar. In practice, however, verification and validation are distinct functions that are both critical for compliance with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. In short, verification is focused on the implementation of the plan, while validation is focused on its accuracy. You cannot validate a process until you verify the process is consistently following the plan and operating as intended. 

Validation: Proof the Plan Is Effective

Validation demonstrates and documents that the HACCP system works to address significant hazards​. It provides proof that the Plan is effective. The purpose of validation is to demonstrate that the HACCP system, as designed, will adequately control identified hazards to produce a safe, unadulterated product. Following completion of the hazard analysis and development of the HACCP Plan, establishments enter the 90-day period of initial validation, where the validity of the HACCP system is checked. Is the Plan working to achieve its intended goal?

Validation involves gathering data over time to confirm something is operating as intended. It relies heavily on using scientific data from journals; in-plant observations, measurements, and evaluations; and expert advice. According to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF), “Validation is the element of verification that focuses on collecting and evaluating scientific and technical information to determine if the HACCP Plan, when properly implemented, will effectively control the identified hazards.”

For example, validation of Critical Control Points (CCPs) may involve reviewing trends over the year, customer complaints, equipment issues, etc. to determine whether the process is working. To validate a temperature selected for heating food to remove harmful bacteria, a facility may cite scientific journals and studies.

Both USDA and FDA require validation of the food safety system to document scientific support for CCP or process preventive control critical limits. USDA further requires internal validation of the CCPs and critical operational parameters used in key prerequisite programs (PRPs). It is important companies use scientific evidence (e.g., microbiological test results, validation studies) to the extent possible to demonstrate hazards are effectively controlled.

Verification: Proof the Plan Is Followed as Written

Verification establishes the accuracy or truth of something—in other words, proof that the HACCP Plan is being followed as written. ​It answers the question, “Are we actually doing what we say we are going to do?” For example, if the Plan says that a food will be heated to a certain temperature to kill harmful bacteria, verification will test that the food actually reaches that temperature.

The purpose of verification is to confirm that the HACCP system is continually functioning as intended. Following the 90-day period of initial validation, monitoring and verification activities are performed to ensure the HACCP system continues to be implemented properly. These activities should be scheduled as needed (i.e., daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually) and conducted by designated, trained employees.​

Regular audits of the HACCP Plan further ensure that it is being followed correctly. This is particularly important if any aspect of the company’s procedure, process, or ingredients has changed or a new product has been added to production.

HACCP Principle 6 outlines four elements for verification:

  1. CCP Verification
  2. Overall Food Safety System Verification
  3. Food Safety System Validation
  4. Regulatory Verification

In addition, both USDA and FDA require verification of the overall food safety system. USDA requires reassessments to be performed annually to verify the HACCP Plan. FDA requires reanalysis to be performed at least every three years to verify the Food Safety Plan.

There are some common verification activities to ensure food manufacturing facilities meet these requirements:

  • Document review, including HACCP Plan and related policies, plans, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), standard operating procedures (SOPs), equipment and product specifications, processing rates, inspection records, supplier information, etc.
  • Facility walk-through to review operations and observe specific processes and equipment, as needed
  • Evaluation of current Food Safety Management System (FSMS) elements
  • Food Safety Plan review
  • Review of PRPs (e.g., sanitation, allergen controls, traceability)
  • Environmental monitoring and product testing
  • Confirmation that the CCPs and other preventive controls are implemented and effective
  • Direct observations of CCP monitoring activities
  • Calibration of equipment

Validation and verification are important components of any food safety system. They provide proof that the HACCP Plan is not only effective, but also being followed and working as intended. Validation and verification ensure the Plan is a living, breathing document that is used daily to ensure the food safety system complies with both USDA and FDA regulations and, more importantly, works to prevents foodborne illness. 

28 Jan
Iowa EPA Inspections Webinar
2.24.21 Webinar: Preparing for EPA Inspections in Iowa

Is your facility prepared for an EPA inspection?

EPA-contracted inspectors have been visiting facilities in Iowa. To date, we are aware of four inspections–all of which have been very comprehensive multimedia inspections. This is a trend that appears to be gaining momentum. Facilities must take the time now to regularly evaluate environmental programs to ensure records are compliant, easily accessible, and comprehensive. 

Join KTL Senior Consultant and Iowa expert Becky Wehrman-Andersen and Senior Consultant Liz Hillgren, CHMM, CEA, for a one-hour webinar that will provide guidance on where to focus your attention to proactively prepare for an EPA inspection and reduce the likelihood for any findings and/or penalties.

Webinar: Preparing for EPA Inspections in Iowa

February 24, 2021 | 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT
Cost: $50*
Register Now!


Learning Objectives

During this webinar, we will focus on discussing, preparing for, and responding to the areas EPA tends to focus on in inspections: hazardous waste records, universal waste, used oil, training, hazardous waste containers, and reporting.

Our experts will address the following questions:

  • How do I prepare for an inspection?
  • What paperwork will be requested?
  • What happens during a walk-through?
  • What are my best options for fixing any problems?
  • What happens after the inspection?
  • What can I do now?

* Every facility registered for this webinar is eligible for a free 30-minute phone consultation with one of KTL’s EHS experts to help you understand current EHS regulatory requirements and inspection priorities. Offer valid until 3/31/21. 

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