Food Safety Programs are living documents and must be updated periodically or every time there is a need. The reasons for revising your current food safety procedures may vary and usually changes are identified based on Internal Audits.
Auditing your food safety system internally is not only required by 3rd party certification standards but also a must to keep up with current industry or legislative requirements. Without internal auditing you won’t know if there are any deficiencies in your Program that might result in food safety issues. Not having an Internal Auditing process may be risky and potentially cause product recalls.
Food Safety Standards such as HACCP, and FSMA require companies that manufacture, process, repack or hold foods to develop, implement and maintain food safety and food defense systems.
Maintenance of those systems requires constant internal auditing to assure implementation and that the system is current. Internal Auditing does not only focus on the documents and written procedures but also should include visual inspection of facility, equipment, structures, and employee practices.
Through Internal Audit companies assure their food safety programs were developed properly and are implemented throughout their operation. An internal audit may include assessment of compliance to several different standards such as regulatory requirements, customer expectations or 3rd party audit standards.
Personnel conducting Internal Audits must be qualified for this task. Internal Auditors auditing food safety systems must have extensive knowledge of food safety plans such as HACCP or Preventive Controls and must be familiar with regulations or other standards and customer requirements.
Qualification of internal auditors is gained through job experience, education, and training. Since internal auditors are responsible for auditing a food safety system, they must be trained in development, implementation and maintenance of such systems including HACCP or Preventive Controls food safety plans, Pre-requisite Programs and Good Manufacturing Practice regulations under FDA and USDA as appropriate. Additionally, internal auditors must be trained in auditing techniques according to a standardized curriculum. The standardized curriculum that’s widely accepted within the food industry is Internal Auditor training curriculum that is based on ISO 19011:2011 (An ISO standard for auditing of quality management systems).
Becoming an internal auditor requires extensive training and skills. Among others, the internal auditors must have a set of skills including communication, report writing, attention to details, etc.
Training courses that must be taken by an internal auditor include as appropriate HACCP Course (Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points, PCQI (Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals), Food Defense courses including IAVA (Intentional Adulteration Vulnerability Assessment), and courses on identification of mitigation strategies and development of a Food Safety Plan, and Internal Auditor Certificate training.
Not having trained personnel conducting your internal audits may have severe consequences to the overall performance of your food safety system and potentially to your organization. Ineffective food safety systems not only will result in customer complaints but also may cause regulatory inquiry and product recalls.
Senior management is overall responsible for food safety and must allocate resources including finance, tools, and training. This includes training of internal auditors that monitor the performance of your food safety plans and other system elements.
Carefully consider your training provider to ensure training courses are recognized by regulatory agencies and 3rd party audits. BD Food Safety Consultants LLC is a one stop shop for most of the food safety training that meets industry recognized and regulatory criteria. This includes HACCP, PCQI, IAVA, FSVP and Internal Auditor Certificate Course. Contact us today to register for food safety training!