How to prepare for a Food Safety Audit
There is no need to panic when a Food Safety Audit or a Council Inspection are due to take place. Preparation is the key to avoid those sleepless nights. Follow these simple steps for a hassle-free food safety audit and it will be a breeze.
What is a Food Safety Audit?
Food safety audits are conducted to ensure you are doing everything to keep you, your staff and customers safe. For Class 1 Food Safety Programs there are several compulsory audits that take place during the year
Monthly/quarterly internal audits
3rd Party Audit
The purpose of having audits is to ensure your business complies with all the Food Safety Legislation set out by Food Safety Australia and New Zealand and your local authority. After the review, your food safety audit report will highlight any areas of concern and potential food safety hazards and enable you to act quickly to ensure they are rectified in a timely manner.
Being prepared is the key to a seamless food safety management system, say goodbye to the stress, anxiety and running around like a headless chooks.
4 steps for a hassle-free food safety audit
1. Boost your team’s confidence
Create a positive food safety culture, give clear communication, positive leadership and take time to have regular Food Safety Training making sure everyone involved in Food Handling are up to date and comfortable with the Food Safety Processes and documentation, make it fun and interactive and inclusive.
Ensure all Food Handlers complete Basic Food Handling Level 1, Annual Refreshers, IDDSI and an allergen awareness courses would be a plus. Believe it or not, this has completed 80% of your work. Having a knowledgeable team will make your life a lot easier plus they feel empowered and part of the success of the business.
Not sure where to book in food safety training? We can help click here for all courses OSCAR Care Group can offer you on site or virtually.
2. Create accountability
Create your Food Safety Management System with clear instruction of Food Safety tasks/checks. HACCP within your Food Safety Program will set out who’s in charge of what, when and how. Here is an example, a food delivery from suppliers. It should have a clear hazard control process;
Who will be receiving the food from suppliers, checking labels, use-by dates and any sign of pest
What compliance checks are to be completed (e.g. any evidence that could be a sign of pest, temperatures checks)
How will these inspections be carried (which equipment, at which frequency, recording and evidence capture)
It is important to ensure that there is a defined workflow approval process and who gets to approve which inspections.
Accountability is a crucial element for your food safety audit to go smoothly. It creates a positive/ proactive culture as everyone is contributing to the overall mission of keeping the people safe. Everyone likes to be part of the success and makes for a cohesive environment - you are only as good as your team!!
Not sure where to get a Food Safety Program from? We can help! We specialise in Food Safety Programs for Class 1 & Class 2 food businesses. Click here for more information on our practical approach to food safety.
3. Accurate Record Keeping
Some other good advice on how to prepare for a food safety audit is precise record keeping and logical administration. Make the auditors job enjoyable, the last thing they want is to have time wasted while you are trying to find cleaning, temperature & staff training records. Be organised!!
Your auditor needs to feel reassured and confident that you are keeping all things safe including your paperwork. Create an easy to manage filing system which is ready and quickly available. Not only will this make it easy for the auditor to obtain the information they require, but it will also be easy for your team to manage, mitigating unnecessary gaps in documentation.
If administration is something you are not good at, let us help. As part of our food Safety Programs, we have workbooks & Technology (Temperature Monitoring & TempCheck) available which bind all our monthly administration all together and catting your admin in half! Simplifying your daily admin tasks audit process. Click here to view monthly workbooks, and Technology (Temperature Monitoring & TempCheck) which can be designed for you.
4. Continuous Improvement
Sometimes audits don’t go the way you wanted and that is ok. Stay calm and accept the outcome, review, evaluate and change or improve the current Food Safety Processes. Remember, the purpose of the Food Safety Audit to keep you, your staff and customers safe.
There are a few ways you can learn and improve:
Firstly, put yourself in the shoes of a food safety auditor. See it for yourself and pretend to be your auditor. You might pick up little things you wouldn’t have seen otherwise
Be present with the auditor, it will help you understand what maybe wrong and how to make it right
Regularly review your Food Safety Program, HACCP and policies. If you’re a bit confused, get help from food safety and operational experts
Finally, sign up for regular pre GAP Audit and Internal Audits with our auditing team to set you on the right track and highlight red flags and assist with the preparation of your formal audit
Practice makes perfect
Our Operational team are food safety experts with years of experience within the hospitality, aged care and childcare industries. We are here to help you serve food safely. We can share best practices as well as keeping you updated with the latest food safety regulations.
Get in touch with our Food Safety experts today!
Jane Carpenter, Operations Coordinator & Trainer for OSCAR Care Group