How to ace your food safety certification or re-certification audit

The 3 phases:

  1. Phase 1: Plan
  2. Phase 2: Prepare
  3. Phase 3: Poise

 

  1. Plan

No matter the size, every projects need to be planned accordingly and there is no exception to a certification audit. Planning is the most important phase and this phase can be divided into steps. Here is the trick:

  • Get a copy of the standard you will be audited on
  • For each requirement write the name of the person who will be responsible for the task
  • Add a due date for each equipment
  • Use a notification system to help you manage due dates (outlook, task reminder, app, etc.)
  • Ensure all tasks are completed 1 month before the audit

 

  1. Prepare

Preparation is a phase that must start at least 6 months before the audit. Preparation steps include:

  • Conducting a meeting among food safety team to officially assign responsibilities
  • Conduct a monthly staff meeting to raise awareness in the company

 

  1. Poise

This phase takes place during the onsite audit. Basically at this point you are being audited. Here are some basic rules to make the process smooth and enjoyable as much as possible:

  • Arrive at least 1h before the auditor in order to perform a warehouse tour
  • Have your food safety manual along with all records close by
  • Let the auditor lead the audit. Do not anticipate questions, do not provide documents the auditor did not ask, etc. Ask the auditor what he wants to see and bring him/her there. Remember, it is not a facility tour. It is an audit.
  • Respond only to the questions you are being asked and be honest

Also remember that one key aspect is to keep improving so please, do not argue. Take remarks on the positive side.

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