What Does a Food Safety Audit Entail?

Written by Assure Cloud - AssureCloud Team
10 Jun 2022

It is critical that establishments offering food services, from restaurants, supermarkets and hotels to
fast food outlets, corporate kitchens and catering services, adhere to a solid food safety practices.

A thorough food safety audit ensures that these establishments have the fundamentals in place for
an all-encompassing food safety strategy. It would require good food services to have proven they
have all their bases covered, from basic hygiene and food handling to pest control and sufficient
waste management.

Part and parcel of a food safety audit would include your food facilities being subjected to a detailed
inspection. Food samples will be taken to ensure there is no contamination. Samples of any contact
surfaces will also be taken and tested, to ensure that common food pathogens like Listeria and
Salmonella, aren’t present. Contact surfaces will also be tested for other bacteria that are related to
inadequate hand-washing protocols, such as E-coli.

You can also expect that your records will be scrutinised, with attention particularly paid to daily
hygiene, temperature checklists, and traceability, so that any contamination that does occur can be
tracked and, in the case of a supermarket, compromised food items swiftly recalled.

This can offer food services a sample of what a genuine food safety audit would feel like, while
revealing areas that need to be worked on ahead of time and showing where they are on track.

Depending on the food service, when food safety audits are done and how frequently will largely
depend on the risk level they pose to customers.

For example, a restaurant or large multinational food chain may be audited once every quarter. They
would be considered low risk, because they have good safety standards in place. Their food and
facilities would be audited against a set of safety standards with the results being provided to the
chain’s head office.

On the other end of the spectrum, a large abattoir could be subjected to a food safety audit once a
week as they would be considered high risk. Along with the standard inspection criteria, their
drainage system would be scrutinised, as would how they dispose of animal by-products, ensuring
that the right filtration is used so that their operations are not negatively affecting the water table.
Poultry farms would be inspected in a different way, considering the risks of avian influenza.

There are a couple of good reasons that necessitate the rigors of regular food safety audit. It is
foundational to other food safety management initiatives, including the Good Manufacturing
Practices and ISO 22000. Secondly, there is the regulatory requirements of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics
and Disinfectants Act which recommends that food providers are able to demonstrate they have
undergone a food safety audit as evidence of its commitment to implementing food safety practices.

Thirdly, as part of protecting a brand’s reputation, and for a food services company to protect
against litigation and protect customers from serious illness and even death.

The best preparation for a food safety audit is for business to become safety centric and adhere to
government guidelines, as well as international regulations and standards. These could include regulation 638, which outlines how you handle food at a retail environment, Hazardous Analysis
Critical Control Points (HACCP) and standards such as ISO 9000 or ISO 22000.

Ultimately, food providers could aim for the highest safety standard attainable, FSSC 22000 as their
business evolves and they want to take their food safety to the next level too.

Speak to AssureCloud about your food safety requirements.

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