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Food Safety Audit – A Tool to Improve Your Management System

“An audit is a systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining evidence, in order to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled”. (ISO 19011:2011)
The audit activity shall have specific criteria, objectives and a scope.
The OBJECTIVE AND THE SCOPE will be the work frame of the audit activities, without them, no results can be measured.
Ones the framework is established it starts the development of the audit activity, which consists of a planned and organized investigation process.
The information will be obtained in the process by:

  • observation,
  • research,
  • interviews and
  • confirmation.

The communication processes as well as the record keeping are quite important components. A clear, complete evidence based record keeping will be the key of a rich report.
Before a Company can improve its processes to be more efficient it first needs to identify the problem areas and what are their impacts to the company objectives.
The Internal Food Safety and Quality audit is an essential tool  specifically used for improving processes, products and results.
After conducting an internal audit, senior management will receive crucial information that will be the basis to make critical business decisions.
Key outcomes of an internal Food Safety & Quality Audit are to measure management performance and commitment to;

  • Food Safety & Quality
  • Customers
  • Company objectives and results.

Internal Auditing processes highlight areas to a company that need improvement and will also help to avoid surprises likely to surface at critical times, especially during external, second or third party audits.
The internal audit activities also provide valuable insight to employees to learn how;

  • to communicate with external auditors
  • the understanding of various processes of production and the management function
  • the dynamics and interactions of the processes affect production

 

IN-HOUSE AUDITS

In house-audits, do not always provide useful results due to;

  • the  skill level and experience of company auditors
  • the results are fragmented
  • only a partial view taken of the processes
  • probe and verification of management performance subject to bias.

The elements above will all impact on the audit’s validity and compromise the results affecting the implementation of the appropriate corrective action.

OUTSOURCING AUDITS

If in-house audits are failing , to deliver the steps for process improvements outsourcing your internal audits to a professional service that have the skill set and experience to;

  • see the entire processes,
  • point out the process strengths , weaknesses,
  • pinpoint the issues and non-conformity as well as the sources where those points appear.

The independent audit process can be enhanced if the activities are undertaken by trained, and experienced personnel, who have the necessary neutrality and knowledge of exactly what the standards/ regulations require.

  • The outsourced audit activity will add value to;
  • the company processes,
  • to all its internal methods and procedures
  • management performance
  • optimization of production costs.

A good outcome of the audit activity is a rich report;

  • impartial,
  • objective and
  • with conclusions based only on the evidence found.( numbers, data and facts).

The evidence-based approach is a rational method for reaching reliable and reproducible conclusions based on samples of available information.
Audit is a powerful tool when the company has a positive reaction towards the findings –
The findings could be seen as problems, as risks as non-conformity but also could be seen as a strength of internal audit activity, as opportunities to improve and to innovate.
All findings detected during the internal audit, if taken care, will avoid problems later, especially with clients, authorities, suppliers, etc.
Well combined, with the corrective actions the audit process, has the potential that a company needs to reach their strategic objectives.
Audits should not be a shallow activity of filling the blanks of a verification list, it should be used as a powerful tool for to the decision-making process.

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