Regular food hygiene audits can provide huge benefits to businesses when executed effectively and appropriately scheduled. This allows businesses to identify whether the systems, processes and procedures in place are working and meet their required objectives. Whether you have an auditing process in place at the moment or you are considering implementing one, here are some practical tips for carrying out an effective audit.
Select your Team
For businesses looking to bring their internal auditing in house, it is important to take into account the competence of the auditor and that the scope of the audit is clear before the audit takes place. If you do not have the technical knowledge in house, it is important to bring in an external consultant who can conduct the audit process with up to date knowledge of food safety requirements. Competent and experienced auditors can quickly identify weaknesses and non compliance and are therefore make better use of the time they spend on site and spot things less experienced auditors may miss.
One way you can improve the efficiency of your food hygiene audits is to ensure that they you employ a proactive approach rather than simply reactive. A proactive approach allows businesses to identify potential risks that could likely occur in future, not just existing non-conformities. Trending of results can really help you refocus on
Establish clear aims and objectives of the audit whilst considering the size and complexity of the business, the amount of travelling involved, site restrictions (such as opening times etc.), level of in-house expertise and any language barriers of staff. Before designing your audit plan consider what and where the biggest risks to your business are. Have you had a number of complaints relating to a similar issue? or have a particular site that has a history of poor adherence to safety management systems. This can help you better focus auditing resources and make the most of your budget.
It is important that the communication between the auditor and staff is clear and concise. The auditor will aim to watch, listen, and ask questions about the systems that are in place and how the staff operate. Is just as important to make sure any non conformities that are highlighted during audits are properly communicated to staff so that they understand the problem and how to prevent it from reoccurring in the future.
The audit should be carried out in methodical and systematic manner. The audit is more than just a checklist. The auditing process can be far more beneficial if the auditor looks at the bigger picture, linking things together and checking the process meets the procedure, as well as the corresponding documentation.
If you are in need of assistance with your food safety auditing process, please submit an enquiry below or contact us on 08450 267 745 for a free telephone consultation.