The Importance of Quality Control

June 23, 2014 — Joining us today on DairyLine Radio is Tim Costigan, Vice President of Manufacturing Quality and Regulatory Affairs for Prince Agri Products, a leading provider of animal mineral and nutrition specialty products based in Quincy, Ill.  Tim explains Prince’s manufacturing facilities, the products they produce, and the importance of Dynamic Quality Assurance (DQA).

Below is the text of the podcast:

DairyLine: Tim, thanks for joining us, first, please give our listeners an overview of Prince’s manufacturing facilities and the products they produce.

Tim Costigan: Prince has a long history. You know, we were founded in 1858. A lot has changed over the 156 years. Today our company has really grow into specialty nutrients,

Tim Costigan, Prince Agri Products

Tim Costigan, Prince Agri Products

from the mineral side to a special nutrients company, and that has spurred growth both in the U.S. and abroad. Today we have manufacturing facilities in Quincy, Illinois and Omaha, Nebraska, that support both the manufacturing of the mineral and nutritional products and also the specialty nutrient products. Our Omaha facility built in 1997 is one of the most modern high volume trace mineral pre-mix facilities in the U.S. The Quincy facility built in 2010 was designed to meet both our customers increasing needs and requirements that are tied to the Food Safety Modernization Act.

The first production line to go into Quincy, a 150,000 square foot facility, was one for our flagship product, OmniGen. A year later we completed a specifically designed trace mineral production line in the same facility and then last year we added a new plant in Quincy to make another one of our nutritional specialty products, Animate.

DairyLine: Prince places a great deal of importance on its quality control process – known as DQA.  Tell us about that process and the benefits it brings to your customers.

Tim Costigan:  You know, everybody in our company understands that our reputation for providing quality products and services of great value to us and our customers. Dynamic Quality Assurance was a program that we’ve been working on over the last 20 years and it’s more than just a product quality program. DQA influences all parts of our business, including our business practices, our IT infrastructure, manufacturing systems and our entire supply chain. So from a product perspective, quality starts with good ingredients. DQA influences who we purchase products from and we know that we have a unique role in the food chain.

We’re constantly working to understand our customers’ requirements to insure they are met. At the same time we’re working with suppliers to help them understand the customers’ expectations, and to help them figure out how to produce safe products that meet and exceed the expectations coming from the regulatory bodies. So, Prince is in a unique position to bridge a gap between the companies that manufacture these ingredients and the companies that use those ingredients to keep their animals healthy.

DairyLine: Further supporting DQA is Prince’s extensive lab and testing facilities. Give us an overview of your capabilities in this area.

Tim Costigan: We built a new laboratory as part of the Quincy manufacturing complex. Right now we have ten chemists and lab technicians that work in conjunction with five quality personnel. They’re integral in the analysis in the approval of any new suppliers. Looking at known hazards but also looking for unexpected hazards. So it’s a complete documentation on the materials that we are receiving. They also have daily interaction with our plant floor employees helping them improve quality and understand production issues that take place during the production process.

DairyLine: Tim, food safety is of course an important issue today. We understand that with the systems you have in place, and with recent enhancements to manufacturing infrastructure and processes, Prince not only meets but actually exceeds the proposed regulations from the Food Safety Modernization Act.  Please elaborate on that.

Tim Costigan: I think we all recognize that the feed industry continues to evolve. So in the last six years we have put into place all new IT infrastructure, so all the computer systems are new. New manufacturing facilities and new qu   lity programs to assist in compliance with those systems. Every movement of material within our facilities is done through bar code transactions to insure that we can accurately track and trace those materials, but also to confirm that they are used correctly.

From a program perspective we are currently certified to FAMI-QS, Safe Feed/Safe Food, GMP and GMP+. So a number of certifications are in place to insure that those things are acting correctly.

DairyLine: Comment on the investment (time/$) for Prince in quality and regulatory today compared to 10 years ago and what you envision in the future for the Prince and the feed/food industry.

Tim Costigan: Well, we chose to be very proactive in developing the systems to support our customers’ requirements and the pending regulations. We’ve been working closely with our suppliers to understand their progress toward incorporating a risk based approach to food safety, which is the basis of the FSMA regulations, but we’ve also had  a great deal of interaction with our customers.

I know how much effort we have put into this over the last ten years and clearly see the steep hill in front of those who haven’t started down that path yet.  Part of our job at Prince is to help make sure that the entire supply chain is secure. That our customers understand what needs to be done from a regulatory perspective and from a quality perspective.  And to really help our suppliers be effective in supplying those materials.

DairyLine: Thank you for the time today Tim, that’s Tim Costigan, Vice President of Manufacturing Quality and Regulatory Affairs for Prince Agri Products

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