Pro Tip: Here are five tips to help food manufacturers prepare for their next audit.

Wise company managers promote the idea that your facility should be inspected and ready for an audit every day. The reality, however, is that just like when company is coming to your house, there might be a few things to do just to make sure everything is “perfect.”

Let’s look at some data. The 2022 FDA 483 top cited issues for 21 CFR Part 117 were pest control, personnel practices, manufacturing controls, plant maintenance and plant sanitation. These are the same top five issues found worldwide during AIB International’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) inspections.

Prepare for your next inspection and/or audit by doing the following:

  • Integrated Pest Management: Periodically meet with your IPM service provider and review pest activity records. Make sure all pest issues have been corrected. Check all internal and external pest management devices to ensure they are clean, properly positioned and functional.
  • Training: Conduct refresher GMP training for all personnel on a routine basis. Be sure to explain why you are asking them to handle their personal hygiene and food according to defined procedures. Monitor employees to ensure they are following those procedures and make corrections as needed.
  • Operational Procedures: Make sure everyone understands the specifics of your operation to control allergen cross-contact and contamination risks. People work by habit, so make sure those habits are the right ones to protect the product for your customer. Review food safety plan records for completion and accuracy as stated in your plan.
  • Protect the Site: Maintain barrier controls to the outside to exclude pests from your plant. Inspect overheads, floors and walls, and implement needed repairs to protect the integrity of food produced in your plant.
  • Monitor Plant Sanitation for Effectiveness: Check to make sure schedules are completed as assigned. Review pre-start up inspections and environmental monitoring results to address any issues on a timely basis.

These tips will help ensure you are following GMPs and controlling food safety risks in your facility.

Peg Ray is a senior manager at AIB International.