Record verification is an essential component of any robust HACCP or food safety program. Without it, food safety issues may go unnoticed which can lead to jeopardizing the health of your consumer and your food business. In this post, find out the what, why and how of record verification.
What is record verification?
Record verification is the process of checking the details of records. It includes reviewing and assessing any information that has been recorded for adequacy and accuracy. It also serves to check that records are complete, the activities reflected in the records occurred in accordance with your food safety management system, any CCPs or preventive controls are effective in controlling specified hazards and appropriate decisions were made about corrective actions.
Common types of verification can relate to CCP monitoring, corrective actions, verification activities, supply-chain control or any other record that is relevant to the effective implementation of your HACCP and food safety management system.
Why do we need to verify records?
It makes good business risk management to include record verification as part of daily operations. Depending on where you are located, verifying your records may be a legal requirement. For example, the FDA regulation on cGMP, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-based Preventive Controls for Human Food require certain records to be verified within 7 working days after the record was created.
If your food business has HACCP certification from a third-party certification program, you will also be required to verify HACCP and food safety records.
Evidencing Your Verification
I often get asked what the best way is to complete the record verification process. In a nutshell, it really depends on your food business and your record management system. If you are completing paper records, the person reviewing the record can evidence the review process by signing and dating the record. Make sure that you include a space for this on your form design.
If you run a full electronic record system, there should be a built-in mechanism that allows records to be verified by including reviewer details and the date and time of verification.
For a few of my clients, they have a paper-based system, but records are then scanned as PDF documents for electronic storage and archiving. To see a short video on how I verify these types of records please click here.
Whichever method you use, the key is consistency and routine. Set a time every day and every week to complete the review and verification of your records. This will avoid having a backlog or potential issues not being identified or appropriately actioned.
Any person who is charged with the responsibility of record verification needs to be adequately trained. Key knowledge competencies would include understanding:
- The record verification process, for example, how records are to be verified and when.
- Key legal requirements for record verification relevant to your industry and business.
- Your food safety plan or management system and when there has been a deviation recorded.
- The corrective action process and how it relates to your business.
If you are the nominated PCQI for your organisation, record verification is one of your legislated responsibilities.
Share your insights
What method do you use to verify records in your food business? Share your experiences with the HACCP Mentor community by leaving a comment below.