Pro Tip: Remote audits require bakers to invest in fundamentals, organize documents, make personnel available to the auditor and ask questions.
Traditionally, an audit is held on site and consists of review of documentation and records, inspection of facilities, and an observation of processes and staff performing tasks. Even during the pandemic, with travel restrictions and limited access to sites, it is important for audits and GMP inspections to continue.
Remote audits provide the opportunity for facility management to demonstrate that they are in control of their processes, despite those limitations. While this approach may be new for some, you can get the most from it by following four simple steps.
- Make sure your fundamentals are in place. Through the development, implementation and training to support a food safety management system, your audit process will be more efficient and probably more effective at supporting your facility’s food safety efforts.
- Organize your documentation and records to demonstrate that all food safety issues have been addressed and that you comply with regulatory and customer requirements. This should include any electronic files, ensuring that they are accessible and easily found. Under pressure during the audit, it may be difficult to remember a specific document, so preparing that information is beneficial.
- Though the quality or food safety manager is often the host of the audit, the entire team is responsible. Ensure that key staff and top management are available to participate and answer questions. Their involvement will help demonstrate how they support the implementation of standards and food safety culture.
- It can be easy to take audit findings or an audit score personally. Instead, remember that an audit is for the benefit of the organization, so asking questions and engaging the auditor to ensure understanding is key. By fully understanding the findings or how you were scored, you will be able to successfully address any nonconformities.
By following these steps, you can get the most from a remote audit of your facility, helping to ensure food safety.
Gwenda Jarrett is certification manager at AIB International.