Food Safety and Quality Management

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Food Safety and Quality Management

Top Quality. Every Time.

As a contract manufacturer for some of the world’s largest beverage companies, each with their own stringent quality standards, all our customers benefit from our management team’s commitment to quality, continual improvement and customer satisfaction. Our facilities strictly adhere to Food Safety, Quality Management System, Organic requirements, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and comply with state, federal and local regulations. We have developed management systems that operate at the company, team, and individual level providing food safety and quality goals within the framework of an international recognized standards.

Test, Check, Analyze, Verify and Document

Quality Assurance is a constant process that begins with raw ingredient receipt. Following verification that each ingredient meets customer standards, we verify that blending process meets each customer specification. Following blending, each batch is sampled and tested in our Quality Assurance Lab, throughout the process up to finished goods. Onsite micro testing is done by our staff microbiologist. Advanced manufacturing systems monitor each aspect of the process, alerting us to any deviation from the established process.

Our company has invested in new processes and equipment lines that give us a flexible approach to meet and exceed existing or potential new customers, which extends to the ability to vary process parameters, incorporate homogenization in chilled, aseptic, hot fill and cold fill.

Cleaning, Calibration, Maintenance

To maintain our Management Systems Standards in a complex production environment and high-speed equipment, we follow strict cleaning and sanitation routines. Our clean-in-place (CIP) and clean-out of-place (COP) sanitation process and procedures meet and exceed customer requirements and fulfill the requirements for kosher and organic certifications. In addition, we check, calibrate and maintain equipment on an ongoing basis and conduct preventive maintenance according to manufacturer specifications and customer requirements.  

Reliable, consistent, verified quality

Our FSSC 22000: Version 5.1 Food Safety Certification as well as ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems ensure that we meet or exceed customer requirements for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Preventive Controls for Human Food Regulation (FSMA). In addition, each facility has a Preventive Control Qualified Individual (PCQI) that is part of the Food Safety Team. Product traceability and mock recall programs have been developed and implemented.

Nor-Cal Beverage Co., Inc. has developed and implemented HACCP/Food Safety Plans for each facility that covers all aspects of our production lines and processes.

Our HACCP/Food Safety Teams are composed of members with multidisciplinary knowledge and experience and have successfully incorporated all FSPCA requirements. Our HACCP Plans are reviewed and validated on an annual basis including all associated flow diagrams.

Management Leadership Commitment

Management Leadership of the Nor-Cal Beverage demonstrates its support and commitment to the development, implementation and continual improvement of the Management Systems and Programs by:

  • Implement and maintain the Management Systems and continually improve its effectiveness through the following processes:
  • Establishing a Management Systems Policy Statement and ensuring that the business plans includes objectives and metrics to support Management Systems.
  • Management Leadership promotes the process approach to ensure the effectiveness of interaction between processes using risk-based thinking throughout the organization  
  • Management Leadership reviews and determines the resources needed for each department 
  • Communicating to all employees their role and responsibilities to effectively meet customer, statutory and regulatory requirements
  • Management Leadership reviews the quality and food safety systems at planned intervals to ensure it continuing, implementation, suitability, adequacy, efficiency and effectiveness.

Continual Improvement

  • To continually improve the effectiveness of the Management Systems, Nor-Cal Beverage use business plan, food safety and quality statement, objectives and metrics, audit results, analysis of data, corrective actions and annual Management Systems review.
  • The Continual improvement process is monitored and analyzed through our Key Process Indicators as well as with Management Leadership meetings.

Food Defense

The Nor-Cal Beverage Co. developed and implemented the Food Defense Plan for Anaheim and West Sacramento facility in order to meet FSSC 22000 version 5.1 and FDA requirements.

Food defense is the protection of food products from intentional contamination or adulteration by biological, chemical, physical, or radiological agents introduced for the purpose of causing harm. It addresses additional concerns including physical, personnel and operational security.

Food defense is one of the four categories of the food protection risk matrix which include: food safety, which is based on unintentional or environmental contamination that can cause harm; food fraud, which is based on intentional deception for economic gain; and food quality, which may also be affected by profit-driven behavior but without intention to cause harm.

Overarching these four categories is food security, which deals with individuals having access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food protection is the umbrella term encompassing both food defense and food safety. These six terms are often conflated.

Along with protecting the food system, food defense also deals with prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery from intentional acts of adulteration. 

Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment is done at least annually and (based on circumstance), the Management Leadership Team will meet and assess the risks associated with established business goals for the year. This includes:

  • Product Realization risks related to design and implementation of products and processes including customer satisfaction, product failure or product inefficiencies.
  • Operational risks related to operations including supply chain, logistics or loss of key personnel.
  • Strategic risks related with the organization’s long-term goals and management including partnerships, mergers and acquisitions.
  • Management Team review and analyze the risks and opportunities that could impact food safety requirements, the conformity of food products and potential requirements of interest parties at least on an annually basis.

Process Systems

Management ensures through Management Systems Review that new and existing processes are planned, implemented, controlled, monitored, and measured. The established processes manufacture products that meet Customer and Company specifications, applicable statutory and regulatory requirements as well as the Management Systems.

Quality Systems

The Nor-Cal Beverage Co. Management Systems is defined by the procedures and documentation within EtQ Reliance Database. Collectively these documents provide a mechanism for understanding the systems, communicating its processes and requirements within the organization and determining the effectiveness of implementation. All documents are required to meet the intent of Food Safety System FSSC 22000 (version 5.1) and ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System.

Personnel Training & Competency 

  • The Nor-Cal Beverage ensures that only qualified people are hired and trained to successfully perform assigned tasks 
  • Skill certifications are developed that identify the requirements for each position/work activity and the competency levels necessary for each employee. 
  • Documented procedures and work instructions address compliance with applicable local laws, regulations, (including Occupational Safety and Health, Environmental and Food Safety and Quality Management Systems) and company requirements.
  • Appropriate training is scheduled and conducted based on gaps identified in competency levels according to the Training procedure.
  • Training is conducted on the relevance and importance of activities and how they contribute to objectives and metrics.
  • Orientation training takes place for each new employee. 



  • FSSC 22000, version 5.1
  • ISO 9001:2015 
  • QAI Organic
  • OTCO Organic

West Sacramento

  • FSSC 22000, version 5.1
  • ISO 9001:2015
  • QAI Organic

CIP (5 Step Process)

After a production run, the blending, processing and filling systems need to be cleaned with a 5 step CIP (Clean in Place).  The CIP process cleans the tanks, pumps, valves, filters, heat exchange units as well as the process piping. 

The 5 steps are:

  1. Rinse – This step rinses the product from the system.
  2. Caustic – This step cleans the system with a hot solution of caustic which removes product that remains after the rinse including any which was burned on.
  3. Rinse – This step removes the caustic from the system.
  4. Acid – This step cleans any mineralization buildup and ensures no residual caustic remains.
  5. Final rinse – This step removes the acid from the system.

During a CIP the temperature, chemical concentration, flow rate and time are monitored and recorded.  Through monitoring the CIP system, every effort is made to optimize heat, cleaning agents and water consumption and savings.  An overview of the CIP chemical and reclaim system is shown below.