The probationary list was recently added to disclose information on any licensee that is found in non-conformance, including the company name and the specific type and model of equipment. According to 3-A SSI Executive Director Tim Rugh, “The probationary list is not intended to penalize the licensee, but to help inform all concerned parties that the licensee is addressing specific issues it has acknowledged require correction.” The licensee remains in this status until a plan for corrective action is completed and verified by third-party inspection.
The value of the 3-A Symbol in the marketplace was enhanced by the Third Party Verification (TPV) inspection requirement instituted in 2003 as a requirement for 3-A Symbol authorization. The TPV requirement moved 3-A Symbol authorization away from an era of self-certification. Between 2003 and the end of 2007, approximately 520 TPV inspections were completed for equipment fabricated in the US and 22 other countries around the world, according to 3-A SSI. The inspections must be renewed every five years to maintain 3-A Symbol authorization, whenever equipment non-conformance is found, or if there is a significant change in materials or manufacturing processes.The public information on 3-A Symbol licensees is important because it shows all equipment that conforms to 3-A Sanitary Standards for dairy and food processing equipment and meets provisions of the 3-A Symbol program. Maintained on the 3-A SSI Web site at www.3-a.org/symbol/holders_list.html, the lists include current and discontinued licensees and the new probationary list. The discontinued symbol holders list shows the reason for discontinuation, such as the equipment is no longer in production, the equipment was consolidated in another 3-A Symbol authorization resulting from a change in company ownership, or the failure of the holder to maintain the authorization in accordance with the terms and conditions for use of the 3-A Symbol.