Food is the building block of life. Each life is dependent on it for survival and to thrive. Yet, the crucial aspect of the food industry and its supply chain is the quality of food available to the public. From exercising control through guidelines on produce to imports of food items, robust auditing and safety procedures must be placed to ensure a safe and secure supply of eatables across the nation. These regulations are exercised through a definitive system of food auditing bodies like the FDA or their accredited institutions.
Purpose of audits
Audits are an essential tool for ensuring that correct food safety procedures are followed. Food inspection and control systems are being examined and restructured worldwide to enhance efficiency, rationalize human resources, and implement risk analysis–based techniques.
Organizations perform food safety audits for a variety of reasons. Auditing is an essential component of the certification process, and other reasons might include
- Evaluation of the management system or prioritizing of management tasks.
- The commercial distribution of food items.
- Supplier evaluation or customer requirements fulfillment
- Investigation of events that have occurred at other institutions or organizations.
- Contractual or regulatory requirements
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of ensuring the safety of most human and animal foods consumed in the United States. One of the main goals of the agency’s food safety policy is to reassure the public that food imported from other countries meets the same food safety standards as food produced in the United States. Regardless of the location of the food source, the FDA applies the same food safety regulations to all food consumed in the United States.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) intends to safeguard the safety of the United States’ food supply by directing federal regulators’ attention away from responding to contamination and toward preventing it. This includes giving the EPA the ability to impose extra preventative measures to ensure the safety of the US food supply.
Process of food audits
The essential food safety checklists and quality assurance documentation must be kept up-to-date, which necessitates handling vast volumes of data. Furthermore, having access to these documents and their analysis is critical for a successful audit and may be used to demonstrate a high level of food safety.
Many companies divide their auditing program into two types, namely, external and internal audits. External audits are performed by a third-party organization, whereas internal auditors conduct internal audits within the company. There are three types of auditing committees.
First-Party Audits: Internal verification procedures and management strategies that fulfill the standards and represent the company objectives are provided through first-party audits.
Second-Party Audits: These audits, often known as proprietary audits, evaluate the performance of vendors or contractors.
Third-Party Audits: These audits are conducted by independent auditors who are not hired by the auditee and are frequently certificated.
Certifications are proof of compliance with regulations and guidelines that a company adheres to laid by the FDA. These are especially important for firms that operate as importers of food items into the United States and forming a part of the supply chain.
Food auditing is often done in the following phases, regardless of their type:
- Correction and prevention
- Audit evaluation
Types of food audits
Third-party food audits are essential for any company seeking to operate in the US food industry. The third-party auditors conduct audits to offer an impartial review of current policies and processes to guarantee that the company fulfills client needs consistently and remains ahead of the competition. The audits provided by third-party auditors are as follows.
- BRC Global Standard for Food Safety
- BRC Storage and Distribution
- IFS Logistics
- GMP, Food Safety
- Risk Assessment
- PAACO Certification
- N = 60 Verification
- BSE/SRM Removal
- CCP Addendum
- Warehouse and Packaging
- Customer Specific Addendums
FDA’s imported food safety goals aim to work for-
- Prevention of food safety issues in the foreign supply chain before entry into the United States,
- Detecting and refusing entry of unsafe foods at the border, and
- Responding quickly when FDA learns of dangerous imported foods.
These goals ensure a safe and secure food industry exists and thrive with the highest-grade quality and negligible health risks.