A food compliance audit can be undertaken for many reasons. Primarily, they are completed to assess the compliance aspects of a food safety management system. These audits can be preformed internally, on a second party, for example, by your customers or of your suppliers or finally, by an independent third party.
With increasing supply chain conditions, your business may be subjected to increasing food compliance audit requirements. To help with the success of your business, there are certain things that you must do after every single audit. Implementing these activities will not only help your learning process but it will enable you to be better prepared for any further audits.
Debrief and Recap
It is important to debrief and recap the audit outcomes and food compliance audit activities with all of those involved. This inlaces not only the management team, the HACCP team but also with your production line workers. Use the opportunity to discuss what went well and what areas can be improved. Overall performance and audit efficiencies should be discussed with everyone.
During the audit hopefully you took the opportunity to photograph any GMP issues that were identified. When GMP issues are rectified, also take a photo. Identify and organise these photos as a before and after scenario to support your corrective action process.
Education and Training
Even if there were no non-conformances identified during the food compliance audit, you should never pass up an opportunity to re-educate or retrain your food handlers. This training can be provided as part of the audit debrief and recap. Any GMP photos taken can be shared and also serve as a great education tool within your food business.
Food system documentation
There can be a tremendous amount of documentation generated during the food compliance audit process, especially when it has been for multiple days. There can be a tendency to just leave all record folders and paperwork in the meeting room and walk away. Make sure you return all documents and records back to their storage location. This will avoid information being misplaced, lost or not available for future audits.
Corrective action requests (CARs) will need to be completed for all non conformances identified. Actioning issues immediately after the audit will help to resolve them quickly and ensure you do not exceed the allowable CAR close out time frame. It is always better to deal with CARs whilst the issues are fresh in your head. If this is not possible, at least sketch out a framework for response and action.
Do you have a list of things you do after every food compliance audit? Share your knowledge and experience with the HACCP Mentor community by leaving a comment below this post.