Top 10 Food Audit Non-Conformances

This article comes from the 21st Australian HACCP Conference where I am delivering a keynote presentation on the top 10 non-conformances raised during GFSI and HACCP audits. In this post, I am going to share what these were and my take on what was found.

The data for my presentation came from reviewing over 9,500 non-conformances (or CARs) raised during GFSI (SQF, BRC) and HACCP audits (including WQA) completed between July 2013 – June 2014.  The certification body that I contract audit for, BSI were kind enough to provide me with this data, so I massive thank you to the food team.

What is a non-conformance?

Firstly, it is important to define what is a non-conformance, for the purpose of 3rd party auditing. In simple terms, a non-conformance is “the non-fulfilment of a specified audit criteria”.  These are based on the requirement of an audit standard (eg SQF, BRC, 22K) that states either “shall”, “will” or “must”.

Top 10 Non-Conformances  image

  1. Cleaning
  2. HACCP
  3. Foreign Matter
  4. Product Identification and Traceability
  5. Maintenance
  6. Training
  7. Premises and Facility
  8. Pest Control
  9. Verification
  10. Approved Suppliers

 My Take on the outcome

After completing the analysis, I was somewhat surprised to see that the majority of the top 10 non-conformances related to really basic requirements.  These are things that should be no brainers for the food industry but are consistently being raised as issues.

You can tie the majority of these top 10 non-conformances back to basic legislation.  So it seems that we have lost sight of complying with the basics.  Our food safety pre-requisite and support programs should cover these.  If you need help getting through your audit ‘stress-free’ check out this book I recently published.

But why?

I have had many discussions throughout the day with different delegates as to “why” are the food industry is missing the basics. Have we become complacent? Do we assume our staff knows what needs to be done?  Is it because management commitment is lacking?  Are the pressures of business causing shortcuts to be taken? Lots of questions but unfortunately cannot be answered without a further interview.

Your action

This week I would like you to have a good look at your food business from the angle of reviewing the basics.  Review your food business by asking some basic questions: Is your place clean?  Are there items lying around that could be a potential source of contamination?  Are there pests present? Can maintenance activities put our product at risk?  Are all of our products, raw materials and chemicals identifiable and labelled. Are there holes, gaps or damage to the construction of our building?

Get more information

My presentation went more into depth and also offered solutions around these top 10 non-conformances that you can implement within your food business. To view this presentation please click here.  It is available for FREE for a limited time only.

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