Should auditors be allowed to take photos during an audit?

In this episode, we ask the question “Should auditors be allowed to take photos during an audit?.

Watch the episode here


Welcome to episode 12 of HACCP Mentor Review. In this episode we will cover HACCP team responsibilities, taking photos during audits, metal detection programs and customer specifications. We also have a couple of outbreaks to report along with the release of a new customer food safety standard.

00:00 – Welcome to Episode 12

00:21 – HACCP Team Roles and Responsibilities

01:06 – Woolworths Quality Assurance V8

01:44 – Should auditors be allowed to take photos?

02:18 – Food Poisoning Outbreaks

03:10 – Customer Specifications

03:51 – Feedback and questions




Welcome to episode 12 of HACCP Mentor Review. In this ep we will cover HACCP team responsibilities, taking photos during audits, metal detection programs and customer specifications. We also have a couple of outbreaks to report along with the release of a new customer food safety standard.

Metal detection program

This week I had a question about what things should be included in your metal detector program. At a minimum you should cover the following things in addition to checking your certification standard requirements.

  • How to work the machine
  • How and when to test or verify the operation of the metal detector
  • What to do with rejected product
  • How and where to record the test results
  • How to clean the metal detector
  • Manufacturer validation as to what size and type metal the machine will pick up
  • How to maintain and calibrate the metal detector


HACCP Team Roles and Responsibilities

The key roles and responsibilities of the HACCP team is to develop and help implement the key principles of HACCP within the food business. This includes identifying and assessing everything that could wrong with your food products and coming up with a suitable strategy to stop those things from happening. The HACCP team should also be involved in developing policies and procedures around implementation, monitoring and review and have suitable input into food safety and quality decisions made by the food business.

Woolworths Quality Assurance Version 8

For those food businesses who supply to Woolworths (one of the major food retailers in Australia) they have finally released the new version of their food safety and quality assurance standard. This standard is also applicable for any food manufacturers who import finished food product or food ingredients into Australia, that are Woolworths branded or used in Woolworths branded product. You can download a copy of the new standard for food manufacturers at their website

Photos  by auditors HACCP Mentor - Photos in audits

This week a major retailer standard has advised their suppliers that it is a requirement for third party auditors to take photographic evidence during the audit. The purpose of this action is to demonstrate both compliance and non-compliance sighted during the audit process. I can hear the complaints already…but I want to hear from you. What do you think about auditors taking photos during the audit? I generally encourage auditees to take photos during the site inspection but that is for their use to show before and after scenarios for corrective action request or CAR closeout.

Food Poisoning Outbreaks

The Health Protection Agency in the UK has reported findings this week on a food poisoning outbreak involving Cryptosporidium infection and packaged ready-to-eat salad leaves. Around three hundred (300) cases were notified in May 2012.

In a more recent food poisoning outbreak, food safety officials in Denmark have reported a norovirus outbreak in one of their most famous restaurants. Close to 70 patrons were sickened with vomiting and diarrhoea after eating at the restaurant. Danish authorities reported that there has been illness among staff who handled the food products.

Action Item

For this episode, our action item is to do with customer finished product specifications. These are written product specifications that are provided or agreed upon by your key customers. This week please check that these customer product specifications are of the current issue, and that they are not out-of date.

Wrap up

Well, that wraps up episode 12. Don’t forget to let me know your views on auditors taking photos during audits by leaving a comment below this episode. Until next time, I am Amanda Evans from HACCP


8 thoughts on “Should auditors be allowed to take photos during an audit?”

  1. I disagree I feel its fine to take pictures and if it’s from a third party also since in the end of the day this report will be reported to the audit board and it is one to verify that we did our job and we have evidence it was verified and also 2 it gives the client piece of mind that we are reporting to what we see and verified it’s very hard to trust people and their work I use it proof that what we saw and was explained that we have support and that the company can’t turn around and tell me it’s a lie and yes if you sign a privacy and confidential act so we don’t use your pictures or info and anyone else’s is it private and yes there area or companies that we can’t use cameras and its fine you don’t have to take a picture always but I prefer it if it will help the audit and explain that the process is right or wrong I feel it is correct

  2. Sumit Saxena, India

    We take photos in all our audits. These pictures help the Training department. Also they prepare a ‘Before and After’ presentations for their continual improvement. Moreover, as an auditor, it becomes easy to explain the areas of deviations. For confidentiality, we sign a pact with the company.

  3. Mario Echandi-Bächtold

    I totally agree on G observations, and in the case the audit will be as long as 3 days and only to facilitate auditors report.
    I must confess that in a couple of audits I photograph situations and places (10 pictures) with all the permission from top managers and confidentiality agreement signed.
    At the end I did not use any of the photos for my report.
    From then on I only use my camera for the introduction meeting and in the rap up meeting, only to send pictures to my “auditees” and remember them.

  4. Weighing in on your topic of should auditors be allowed to take photographs, I would vote that is a big fat “NO!” There is no need for a third party auditor to photograph anything unless they are with a regulatory agnecy and it is a food safety issue. Most auditors are not left unattended so anything they see a representative from the company also sees so there is no need to take photographs. So my first question to an auditor would be “Why?” why do they think they need to photograph anything? Wha tis the necessity? If there is no sufficient answer for this, which I doubt there would be, I would tell tem to leave their camera in their vehicle.

    1. Hi G,
      I would agree… but imagine that the auditor replies to your question (Why?) with an innocent “to facilitate later my reporting”. My question is what 2-3 strong, final arguments would you use to convince auditors to leave their camera in their car.

    2. Absolutely not. Cameras and photographs are forbidden in our facility. No one including employees can photograph out facility. If a third party auditor asked to take photo’s they would be denied.

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