Food Safety and Protection

How to complete a GMP audit

Completing a GMP audit is an excellent verification activity to confirm the successful implementation of the policies and procedures that contribute to good manufacturing practices. It is also a mandatory component of the internal audit process for any food business seeking 3rd party HACCP certification. In this session, find out the key areas that I recommend all of my clients to review during their own GMP audits.

What is a GMP Audit?

Firstly, for those who are new to this industry, GMP stands for (or is short for) Good Manufacturing Practices. A GMP audit is a check to see if your food business and food handlers are complying with the required good manufacturing practices.

GMP’s and your food business

A common question I get asked by newbies is ‘Who decides what GMP’s apply to our business?”. The base-level answer to this is the food safety and food premises construction legislation that is applicable in your country of manufacture. For example, if you’re located in the USA, the cGMP, Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventive Controls for Human Food Regulation (Subpart B) outline required GMP’s.

You can then build on regulatory foundations with additional GMP requirements required by customer expectations, third-party certification standards and your policy and procedures.

Preparing for a GMP Audit

Before you launch out and start doing your GMP audit, it is advisable to develop a type of audit tool. The most common audit tool is to use a ‘checklist’. This checklist needs to include all of the areas that you are going to look at visually. It should also include a section to record your evidence or comments and a method tying to your corrective action process. As a minimum, you should be including the following areas in your GMP audit:

  • Cleanliness – Is the item, area or person, you are looking at clean? For my definition of clean click here.
  • Pest Activity – Is the item and area you are looking at free from any live/dead pests or signs of pest activity?
  • Food Handler Hygiene – Is the food handler a hazard? Look for incorrect procedures of hair and jewellery control, personal hygiene habits like spitting, coughing and sneezing on or near food and food surfaces. Are they washing their hands?
  • Foreign Matter Control – Are there any sources of potential foreign matter including uncontrolled or unsecured items, e.g. Glass, bolts, plastic, broken utensils, splinted wood. Also, look for coffee cups or other drinking vessels.
  • Storage Practices – Are food, utensils and equipment stored correctly, so they do not become contaminated? Check for things like correct storage temperatures, cross-contamination, stock rotation, items protected and not stored directly on the floor. Don’t forget to include cleaning equipment in this check.
  • Premises Construction – Is the food premises, equipment and utensils constructed to not promote contamination from foreign matter pests, bacteria or chemical? Are materials used in the construction process smooth, impervious and easily cleaned? Look for damaged walls, floor and ceilings. Check for any rusting or flaking paint on food equipment and food contact surfaces.
  • Traceability – Do items contain labels that allow them to be identified? Are traceability codes present and readable?
  • Allergen Management – Are items that contain food allergens labelled and stored correctly? Is there any potential for cross-contact with non-allergenic food materials or food contact surfaces?
  • Chemical Control – Are chemicals stored separately to food items? Are chemicals secured? Are chemicals identifiable with the correct labelling?

One of the tools that I use to record my GMP audits is HACCP Records. If you are ready to go paperless in your food business, click here for more information.

What do you look for during your GMP audits?

These are only a few of the areas that you should be reviewed during your GMP Audit. Share with the HACCP Mentor community the key things that you look at during your GMP audit.

Are you performing internal audits in your food business? Click here to check out our accredited online training.

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