How to Enjoy a Food Safety Audit
“Many food and beverages manufacturers are poorly prepared to comply with the record keeping requirements mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act, according to a new survey”.
How can you enjoy a food safety audit when the majority of manufacturers are unprepared you ask yourself? Most people equate a food safety audit with a visit to the dentist, an audit by the IRS or something else equally tedious and potentially painful. But it does not have to be this way.
By implementing and leveraging modern data management approaches that are currently available and applicable, food-processing companies can significantly reduce the time and effort that goes into preparing for an audit, as well as increase the success rate. It’s easy to stay compliant with your HACCP and soon the more comprehensive HARPC and FSPs.
Think of it as the easy button for food safety audits.
FOOD SAFETY AUDIT
Imagine an audit where you can produce all of your relevant testing information from a centralized, cloud-accessible database. All your quantitative and qualitative testing data, all of your pathogenic and hygienic testing data, all of your indictor organisms, allergens, toxins, residue and any other data are always available in proper reporting format at your fingertips.
This is reality not a pipe dream.
This type of software and data has been made available to other industries over the past 10-20 years. Continuously improving software has translated into usability gains, making these kinds of tools even easier to set up and use, and allowing for a more natural and intuitive, visual interaction while dropping in total cost of ownership..
With FSMA requirements for documentation, implementation and validation upon us today, the time to act for everyone is clearly NOW. Only that way you can get ahead of the curve and put your company and plants in a position to be compliant with any audits whether you are a small, medium or large company.
PREPARE FOR AN AUDIT
How do you get started? The first step is to scope out what the basic requirements and expectations are with testing software.
- Do your research and find a software company that is dedicated to producing robust software that is specific to the needs of Food Processing industry. Find a company that understands the requirements demanded by FSMA.
- Ensure that the software is easy to use. Reducing complexity increases adoption speed, compliance and therefore also reduces risk.
- Ensure that software is designed and developed on a platform that is safe and secure yet will not require significant IT infrastructure. Cloud based software has clearly become the norm across all major industries.
- Ensure that the software is open to exchanging data across other critical systems in your infrastructure such as LIMS and ERP solutions. This eliminates duplication of effort and achieves productivity efficiencies unheard of years ago.
- Do your due diligence and make sure the software provider has a sound and tested deployment methodology that is compatible with the needs and unique requirements of food processing plants. Do they have a plant and an enterprise deployment methodology that works? Check references and find out what others are saying who have been through deployments.
- Ensure that your software has flexible scheduling, mapping, custom workflows for corrective action and reporting that has been specifically designed to comply with your FSP and HACCP/HARPC so you are in a position to provide the necessary data required in a food safety audit or certification.
- Ensure that you have software that was designed for collaboration, communications and visibility to all the required departments in a plant. Does the workflow allow for Quality and Sanitation to communicate on the same platform?
- Ensure that you have designated a point person at the plant to own the deployment such that the deployment process is streamlined and successful. Also, it is critical that the end-users have clear marching orders from Upper Management. This will result in buy-in and a smooth transition that is supported throughout the company.
FOOD SAFETY & SOFTWARE
Once you make your selection on testing software you’ll be able to see immediate benefits at all levels of the organization!
- Analyze your historical data for trending and predictive testing of control points
- Increased productivity by automating repetitive, manual processes like testing schedule setup
- Elimination of duplicate systems and documentation
- Integration of data with mission critical systems and third-party labs
- Standardized practices and optimization across all plants
- Email alerts on reports, actions and KPI’s
- Ability to shift key resources from one plant to another plant seamlessly
AN ENJOYABLE AUDIT WITH THE PROPER SOFTWARE
The next time your plant goes through a FDA audit or an SQF certification you should have your FSP, HACCP/HARPC, SOP’s, routine testing, investigative testing and corrective action all digitally stored and available in one centralized database. This allows the Teams to provide and verify that they are in full compliance with all Corporate and FSMA requirements. All this documentation and formatting can be prepared in less than 24 hours and in a stress-free manner.
Imagine taking an auditor through a virtual tour of your FSP online with visualization tools, corrective action reports and trending analysis. Imagine the pride that your Quality and Food Safety Team will feel when they can present in virtual reality the improvements and accomplishments that they have made to ensuring your plant is providing the safest food into the supply chain. Do you think this will impress your existing and prospective customers?
It is not only possible but it is becoming a requirement by FSMA and the train has left the station. If your company or plant is not on this train you are introducing unnecessary risk to your dedicated employees and senior management in your company.
Don’t take our word for it, talk with our customers and sign up for a free trial or live demo so you can become part of this new revolution in food safety!