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Food safety audits are organized activities that aim to evaluate the level of food safety management system of a food ...
All food businesses are committed to maintaining food safety throughout their operations. It almost goes without saying that any type of food business must follow food safety laws and regulations to protect public health. In the pursuit of highlighting the importance of food safety and its maintenance and as part of the role of government agencies in protecting public health, food safety audits are conducted.
Food safety audits are an essential part of the food industry but are sometimes considered a dreaded experience by food business owners. A report from the food safety effort will reflect the status of a food business and show its approach to food safety. Food safety auditors are directed to inspect all the essential parts of your operations. Preparing for these audits by knowing what happens in one and what purpose do they serve can significantly help your food business ace one and improve your services.
Learn all the basic yet essential information when it comes to a food safety audit and ace your next one without help.
WHAT WE'LL COVER:
A food safety audit is described as a highly structured activity that aims to document evaluations on a food business's food safety system to determine if all practices are according to appropriate food laws and regulations. A food safety audit creates a transparent report about the situation of and level of food safety systems in a food business and highlights its strengths and weaknesses. These reports can then be used to improve your food safety management strategy.
As consumers become more and more aware of food safety laws and regulations and the risk of food contamination, food safety audits are becoming more essential than ever. Food safety agencies have put heavy emphasis on hazard analysis and their prevention to protect public health. All the more reason for you to focus on strengthening your food control systems!
As mentioned, a food safety audit is mainly conducted to evaluate and verify the level of food safety management systems of food businesses for their continuous improvement. In addition to this objective, food safety audits can be observed to satisfy other reasons which include the following:
These food safety audits can be conducted by internal or external auditors and regulatory agencies depending on their objectives. In addition, laws, regulations, requirements, and food control system orientations would highly depend on your location. In some states of the United States, food laws are more stringent than others. As such, proper research about these specific food laws is required.
Food safety audits can be categorized as either internal or external audits. If an audit is conducted by experienced food safety professionals or managers employed within the food business, then it is considered an internal audit. On the other hand, external audits are performed by second- or third-party organizations. They can then be further subdivided into three categories based on the relationship between the auditor and the food business being audited.
To further understand these classifications, here is a list of the classification of the different types of audits for food safety:
Regardless of the type of food safety audit, all of them are directed towards the food safety management system of a food business. As such, this is the main area that you have to focus on. Make sure that your food safety management system is comprehensive enough to address all potential risks and hazards and continuously monitor their critical control. Establish a system that does not need much micromanagement and can be easily understood by everyone in your team. You can get all of these features with our digital food safety management system at FoodDocs!
Whether a food safety audit is conducted by your in-house committee or a third-party organization, a food safety audit follows a specific structure and a set of key areas to evaluate. As a part of your preparation for a food safety audit, you need to learn what happens when an audit is conducted. Below are some steps that describe how a food safety audit is planned and executed. You can also use this structure for internal audits.
Food safety audits are mostly composed of standard key areas and involve routine inspections. Your team can easily identify and address any concern areas if you regularly conduct inspections. To help you with routine evaluations, use a health inspection checklist that covers the majority of the food safety areas to improve your focus on achieving a great score.
We will admit it, food safety audits can be very nerve-wracking. Because some food safety auditors, especially those from your local authority, have the discretion to make unannounced inspections, you must always be prepared. While we mention that this is a way of becoming prepared, being compliant with food safety regulations and food industry standards is a necessity to keep operating. Preparing for a food safety audit is a win-win activity for your food business.
So, how exactly do you prepare for a food safety audit? Food safety audits are not blind examinations. What we mean by this, is that all areas that a food safety audit passes through are well established in food safety guidelines. This fact gives you the advantage to review them and make sure that you cover all possible areas.
Here are a few steps that you can follow to help you achieve a successful audit:
When your team is prepared, there is no need to worry about any surprise inspections. Being confident that your team is well-equipped with the proper knowledge and food safety skills ensures a great evaluation report of your food safety audit. You can easily achieve all of these preparation steps when you have a comprehensive food safety management system that allows you to monitor everything remotely and properly document your operations. Get to know more about what we offer in FoodDocs as you read into this article.
In general, a food safety audit will observe and evaluate your operations and then identify areas for improvement. These key areas have been well-established over the years and are recognized to be very important in keeping food operations safe. Food laws and regulations are set for these key areas and a food safety audit will most likely revolve around them.
Any food safety audit will cover the following food safety areas:
During an audit, your food safety auditor will make remarks about these key areas. Should any points need improvement, you are required to address them and comply with a reinspection. These points for improvement may either be urgent that need immediate action or points which can be done without haste. During your actual audit, take important notes that the auditor emphasizes as you can use these for further improving your operations and maintaining a competitive position in the whole supply chain.
The entire process of third-party audits is conducted by independent firms that specialize in food safety regulations about evaluating food business operations. This type of audit is usually conducted for certification purposes or in preparation for a mandated food safety audit by government agencies. They help identify the key areas of your operations that need improvement and the strengths of your team.
Audit reports can serve as your golden ticket to many different types of certifications. Several audit processes are recognized by international organizations such as the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). This makes any report by an accredited food processor recognizable in different locations.
Here is a list of some of the third-party food safety audit companies that are known in the food manufacturing industry:
Contrary to food audits mandated by government regulatory agencies, a third-party certification body does not have the jurisdiction to order temporary closure of your food business if ever it unravels any severe violations. At most, failing a third-party audit will merit you an unsatisfactory mark and you will not be awarded the target certificate.
A food safety audit will not be complete without a food safety and quality auditor. These individuals, otherwise known as food safety inspectors, are experienced food safety professionals who inspect and evaluate food businesses based on their compliance with any food safety law. Food safety auditors carry out food safety programs and regulations to ensure that food businesses offer safer food to consumers and protect public health from foodborne illnesses.
Food safety auditors have a deep and wide range of understanding of basic and advanced food safety principles. They are also required to undergo certification processes to obtain proof of their qualification. Some auditors have already spent several years in the food industry and are very familiar with common mistakes. This makes them very hard to please at times.
A food safety auditor is required to achieve the following objectives when conducting an audit:
Food safety auditors are trained to become impartial with all their decisions. You would never have to worry if one is playing favorites. They are also mandated to exercise extreme professionalism when it comes to disclosing sensitive information about your food business and the results of your food safety audit. For a food business owner, this only means that you have to bring your A-game when the food safety auditor steps at your front door.
Any individual affiliated in the food industry can try out for a food safety auditor certification. The program aims to test your knowledge and skills when it comes to food safety practices, laws, and regulations. If you are curious regarding what benefits do food auditors gain apart from getting to maintain food safety throughout the industry, let's have a look at how much do they make annually.
The salary of a food safety auditor is based on their level of competencies and job experience. Their average pay in the United States ranges from $16,500.00 to $85,600 per year. Some very seasoned food safety auditors can reach up to $437,000 per year. With that much salary, you can be assured that your food business's food safety management system is in good hands.
Based on reports, a food safety auditor position from the UK gets paid about an average of £27,870 a year at a minimum and £78,000 per year at best. The average entry-level food safety auditor position can gain as much as £26,000 per year, whereas an experienced auditor can get £55,000 per year. Similar to the scheme of other countries, food safety auditors in the UK are expected to earn £22,000 to £35,000 per year for the first one to three years of job experience, whereas newcomers are expected to receive less.
Complying with food safety regulations means tons and tons of documents. Reports and documentation of your food production operations must be properly archived in an organized and clean manner. These documents must be complete and always be accessible for review and audit.
Food safety auditing tools can be applications, programs, or managing routines that can help you achieve a working food safety management system. Some auditing tools which can be very helpful in conducting food safety audits include checklists, protocols, manuals, pre-audit questionnaires, and copies of any applicable food safety law.
Nowadays, all of these auditing tools can be found in software that can help you store, manage, and verify all documents for your food safety management system. Some tools can even help you summarize your report in an instant and present it to third-party auditing bodies for evaluation for a faster audit experience.
Food safety audits are essential parts of the whole food supply chain. They promote focus on improving your food safety practices and protecting public health from foodborne illnesses and related injuries. With that much responsibility in the hands of a food safety auditor, you would not be shocked how nervous other food business owners can be at the sight or sound of a food safety audit. Despite this, being prepared is the best way to face food safety audits.
The key to a successful food safety audit is to do your food safety operations, monitoring, and documentation correctly every day. To help you achieve this, our team of food safety experts has come up with software designed for food businesses. At FoodDocs, our Food Safety Management System features programs to help you ace a food safety audit any time of the day. Our system creates an FSMS fully tailored to the nature of your food business. Depending on your answer to the basic questions we have provided, our system automatically generates an FSMS for you.
In terms of auditing features, our system can provide you with the following benefits:
All of these benefits can be accessible to your team at the palm of your hands. Our system is compatible with any mobile device such as cellular phones and tablets. Access all of your well-organized information for a food safety audit review and become ready for an onsite inspection by regularly conducting your internal verification programs with our help using your mobile phone. Every detail of a good food safety audit tool is present in our Food Safety Management System.
With an average of 15 minutes, you can easily switch all of your food safety management system tasks into our digital platform and start becoming more efficient. Let us help you maintain your compliance with food safety laws and regulations so you can focus your attention on other important tasks. Easily tailor your food safety audit checklist by customizing your template to a standard food safety audit checklist. Maintain the highest standards of food safety audit throughout the year with our help.
Start your digital Food Safety Management System journey with our free, 14-day free trial. Hurry and sign-up before your next food safety audit!
Nadjeźda Kaarma, who is a living legend, now shows, how easy is to start with your food business with help of FoodDocs.
You do not need to hire a food safety specialist to open a food business. Save your time and use FoodDocs.
Read, how the implementation of the FoodDocs food safety management system was done in no time and free of any hassle.