Marcatus QED And The OU: Sharing A Worldwide Emphasis On Quality Control

Marcatus QED is an essential service provider for businesses, as a source for high quality, safe and secured food products and raw materials from around the world. Our product focus is on preserved fruits and vegetables such as small cucumbers, onions, olives and peppers. As a global company, we work in several countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia sourcing large volumes of produce for consumer packaged food brands. Our team of quality assurance and sourcing experts works directly with supply partners to validate and continuously improve agriculture and factory conditions.

We believe that quality assurance is only possible through integration into every link of the supply chain. Our team members are strategically positioned in key sourcing countries and have knowledge of indigenous practices combined with a deep understanding of the processes specific to each supply partner. We work to monitor and validate compliance, which cannot be determined by a spot check, but must be monitored on a daily basis from A to Z. With our commitment to on-the-ground validation, we often see our team members living out of their suitcases and away from their families for weeks in order to monitor production around the world.

As much as this is a commitment to quality assurance, it is also a commitment to our supply base, heightening relationships and bringing awareness only achievable through human interaction and sharing. Through our efforts we are seeing our global rejections reduced and we are broadening our understanding of risk specific to regions and culture.

When Marcatus QED started almost ten years ago, we had the goal of integrating kosher certification into our business. In fact, just prior to opening the company our CEO travelled to the OU to meet with Rabbi Eliyahu Safran who not only provided encouragement but also blessed the company. The OU is an iconic organization of great interest to Marcatus QED because we share many of the same values. We share as well many of the same challenges of managing suppliers abroad in order to achieve specific guidelines on behalf of our member groups. We also recognized the importance of OU certification to the sustainability of our supply. In this regard we actively created an online library to track and monitor expiration dates of various supplier certifications so that we could take part in ensuring they were up to date. These roots have laid the foundation for our current relationship with the OU.

We recently travelled to New York to meet with OU team members in order to better understand how Marcatus QED could start to incorporate monitoring OU certification standards into our Quality Assurance and Food Safety model. Both OU and Marcatus QED validation processes share a requirement to be present at critical points throughout the agricultural and production cycles. Although incorporating OU certification standards into our current monitoring process does present an extra investment by our company and team, we see great potential in further developing our QA systems to capture critical elements of the OU certification process, as it will serve to protect the end client from unwanted surprises. Through this extension of our services we are able to detect early warning signs of non-compliance and work with our supply partners to design and implement correction plans.

Today we are working with certification bodies, such as the Orthodox Union, to design tools that gather information efficiently and effectively. We now plan and organize all OU certification applications and processes on behalf of our supply partner network. Our aim is to reduce the burden of the auditing process on suppliers, as well as on the OU, while increasing compliance across the supply chain. This relationship between Marcatus QED, certification bodies and suppliers increases dialogue and transparency across the supply chain and works to identify better practices to sustain global supply.

Rabbi Shaul Gold is Orthodox Union rabbinic coordinator for Marcatus QED.