This tool is suitable for vulnerability assessments of:
- Food ingredients
- Raw materials such as processing aids, additives
- Primary packaging materials
- Food products
- Dietary supplements
- Nutritional supplements, powders
- Herbal remedies (oral)
- Functional food additives and ‘boosters’
What type of businesses can use this tool?
This tool is designed for any business that is purchasing food, beverage or supplement ingredients, raw materials, intermediate products or finished products, including:
- Food service (restaurants, cafes, takeaway, quick service restaurants)
- Contract manufacturers
Can this tool be used for pre-filtering or pre-screening for food fraud?
Yes, this tool has an ‘Initial Screening’ option that allows for a quick assessment of risk. Pre-filter or pre-screening processes are recommended by some experts as a means to quickly prioritise at-risk materials without having to complete a full-vulnerability assessment one each one. Initial screening results may satisfy the requirements of some food safety regulations and standards, but will not be sufficient to meet the requirements of GFSI food safety management system standards. Learn more about initial screening in this 2016 paper by Dr John Spink, Dr Douglas Moyer and Dr Cheri Speier-Pero of Michigan State University’s Food Fraud Initiative: Spink, et al (2016). Introducing the Food Fraud Initial Screening model (FFIS). Food Control (69), pp306–314.
What happens if I can’t complete all the questions?
To obtain an accurate calculated result you should answer all the questions. However, if you are short on time you can override the calculated results with your own estimates of likelihood and consequences. This means that if you already have a good understanding of the vulnerability of a material you may choose to simply enter your best estimates instead of completing all the data fields. Note that if you do this the resulting vulnerability assessment reports are unlikely to be acceptable to an auditor because they will not contain a complete explanation of how the assessment was performed. To obtain a complete report, every question should be answered.
Can I change my answers?
Absolutely! You can change your answers at any time, then print or save a new report. It’s simple to review and update your assessments.
What if I disagree with the results?
It is easy to override the calculated results if they don’t seem right for your product or material. The Vulnerability Assessment Tool calculates likelihood and consequences using information entered by the user, however you can also enter your own estimates. The overall vulnerability is determined by the user’s estimates if they have been entered; if not, calculated results are used.
Why is the Vulnerability Assessment Tool an Excel spreadsheet instead of specialised software?
The tool was created with Microsoft Excel because most of its intended users are familiar with Excel and so can begin entering data as soon as they open the spreadsheet, with no special training. Data can be copied, pasted and searched just as you would in any spreadsheet and results can be easily extracted for use in other documents. The tool can and should be incorporated into a company’s controlled documents and record-keeping systems and Microsoft Excel files are better suited to this purpose than special software or apps.
The tabular format of the data entry pages allows users to have a ‘whole picture’ visual understanding of the data that has been entered and the gaps that need to be filled. Other types of software such as questionnaire-style assessments do not provide a visual overview and require information to be entered in a defined series of steps which can be frustrating. Within the tables of the Vulnerability Assessment Tool, colour-coding functions provide instant feedback about whether an answer affects vulnerability in a positive or negative way, which can be a valuable learning tool.
Can I copy the results into my own spreadsheet or other document?
Yes. The data can be copied, pasted, sorted and manipulated as in any spreadsheet. When copying from the tool use the Excel function ‘paste special – values’, which will prevent pasting formulas that might return error values in a different document.
Do I have to purchase a new spreadsheet for each material group?
No, you may make as many copies of this spreadsheet as you need for ONE food business in one manufacturing location. You may not share it with other locations, other food businesses or take it when you change jobs. You may not share it with your suppliers. For complete terms and conditions click here.
Is there a telephone number I can call for help and support with the tool?
Real-time support is coming soon. Until then, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your query, including your preferred contact details and geographical location (for time zone purposes). We will contact you by telephone or Skype or send an email, whichever you prefer.
Can I have access to the formulas that generate the results?
If you disagree with the results the tool allows you to override them; the reported results are based on the user’s estimates if they have been entered; if not, calculated results are used.
If you think the methodology, including the risk calculations should be amended or you think there is an error in any formula please contact us. We want the Vulnerability Assessment Tool to be the best that it can and value your feedback.
Want to buy an unlocked version that is fully customisable? Request a quote here.
My security settings will not allow me to run macros, is this a problem?
No problem; the Vulnerability Assessment Tool has been created without macros to keep things safe and secure and to prevent headaches with your IT department.
I only have Microsoft Excel 1997 – 2003, will this be a problem?
No problem; a Lite version of the Vulnerability Assessment Tool that is compatible with Excel 1997 – 2003 comes free with every purchase of the spreadsheet. The Lite version also works best for users with older versions of Excel for Mac. For more information about compatibility, click here.
Can I get a tax receipt?
All purchasers receive an itemised receipt in their confirmation email. There are no taxes included in the purchase price, with the exception of purchasers in Australia who have 10% GST included in the purchase price.
Australian purchasers receive a tax invoice for GST purposes in their confirmation email.
Need something else?
Just ask! We love to help.
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