What Is Food Safety Auditing?

Food safety audits are some of the most valuable tasks in the industry. They must be performed regularly to keep a facility from developing bad habits that could lose certification or, worse yet, affect public health. What does a food audit look for, and how can food auditing help your business succeed?

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    What Is Food Safety Auditing?

    A food safety audit is a comprehensive, independent review of facility operations, most often performed annually, to verify that it is compliant with Canada's food safety legislation and regulation. The auditor will carefully look at a food processing or handling facility to see where the managers can make improvements that minimize food safety risks to consumers.

    Being a competent auditor means giving fair, impartial, consistent assessments. They are very diligent in their recordkeeping and prioritize observation, questioning, and careful listening.

    What Does A Food Safety Auditor Look For?

    Many food safety audits follow necessary safety checklists and quality assurance documentation, and a company must make any information accessible for analysis. A successful audit looks at training and certification records, statistics, data collection and analysis, all of which can be streamlined and made more accessible through a tablet.

    On top of documentation and verification, a general food safety audit will look at the following areas:

    • Hazard analysis process
    • Critical control points
    • Critical limits
    • Monitoring the planning process
    • Advising on corrective actions

    How Is Food Safety Auditing Related To HACCP?

    HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, and it is mandatory in Canada for federally registered meat, poultry, dairy, fish and seafood facilities, among others. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recommends that all businesses that are a part of our food supply chain adopt HACCP processing standards. These days, earning a certification in HACCP compliance is good business practice!

    Working towards gaining HACCP certification for your facility can include auditing. Other companies you do business with may require an official audit to ensure HACCP compliance as part of your arrangement. Either way, a business must review their HACCP plans for continued improvements to retain their certification.

    Why Is Food Safety Auditing Necessary?

    Food safety auditing is a necessary step towards gaining certification or recognition, monitoring internal conformance with policies and procedures, and identifying areas of improvement. A successful audit will find ways to improve existing food safety systems, identify trends that harm business performance, and uncover underlying issues that are affecting employee performance.

    Any member of the supply chain can use food safety audits to select suppliers, and many companies use audits to verify that their suppliers follow strict food hygiene standards. An audit can reduce the risks posed by incoming raw materials, which, as external variables outside of a food processor's control, can be the greatest uncertainty in any operation.

    For these reasons, food safety auditing can prevent foodborne illnesses, which still pose a persistent problem for our food production. Health Canada estimates that roughly 11 to 13 million Canadians contact illnesses caused by bacteria on food every year. Companies must work hard to ensure that their systems do not contribute to this problem; otherwise, they could face costly legal action, fines, and a hit to their reputation.

    What Do You Get From Quantum Solutions Food Safety Auditing?

    Audits can be either internal or external, depending on the needs of the parties involved. Any audit conducted within an organization is an internal audit; bringing in Quantum Food Solutions to audit your foods safety program would be an internal audit, or reassessment in CFIA inspected plants.

    We will use the auditing process to examine how your business can improve its profitability through safe, on-site inspections, as well as looking for risks that other traditional methods overlook. Our auditors are trained to audit various GFSI schemes including the British Retail Consortium Global Standards (BRCGS) and Safe Quality Food (SQF). These food safety programs ensure that the food safety management of a facility is credible and legitimate.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Food Safety Auditing?

    There are a number of different ways to conduct food safety audits. It all depends on the type of business, and the size. Small businesses might only need to audit themselves based on what they cook and how often they prepare their food. Large operations, with multiple cooks in various stations may have more complicated processes that require extensive auditing from third parties. Starting from HACCP principles and contacting a consultant you will be on your way in now time!

    Becoming an auditor isn’t a job for the light-hearted. There are many requirements to this position including education and experience, but these vary depending on what country you intend to work in as well as who your employer is. General things that food safety organizations look for include: formal training or certification (depending on which organization), continual involvement with professional development opportunities, and sufficient levels of knowledge about local regulations—all before they hire someone like yourself!

    A food safety system is a set of guidelines and processes put in place to make sure the foods we eat are safe for consumption. This includes everything from how the food is grown, processed, packaged, stored, transported and served. For example: if you're eating out at a restaurant or grocery store deli counter, do they have a good understanding of what causes bacteria growth? Do they take steps to prevent it? Is their kitchen clean? These are all questions that can be answered by looking at an establishment's food safety system.

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