Inspections can be stressful, especially if you, your team, and facility are unprepared. Here are five tips you can use in preparation for your next food safety inspection.
- Know the Standard – Start by knowing which food safety standard is best for your unique facility. By understanding its clauses and applicable regulatory requirements, your team can prepare accordingly. Each of our Consolidated Standards are available for download on our website. This includes standards for Prerequisite and Food Safety, Beverage Facilities, and Food Distribution Centers, among others.
If you’d like to learn more, register to join our Allie Sequera-Denyko on Feb. 9 for her “Five Tips to Prepare for Your 2022 Inspection” webinar.
- Develop an Audit Team – A group with diverse backgrounds and roles will help best prepare and see opportunities for improvement that an individual may otherwise miss. This should include members from Food Safety, QA, leadership, and the frontline. You can also rely on your team by having each member focus on specific sections of the standard to ensure compliance.
If you happen to be the only one with capacity to take on this role, don’t despair. We can assist, with support from Assign an Expert, our Inspection Only unscored inspection, and How to Guide: Self Inspections for Beverage Plants training.
- Audit Internally – This team should audit your facility together, one department or section of the standard at a time. Use your chosen standard as guidance during the audit to help assess your facility and team’s progress. Be curious about what you might find and don’t be afraid to get dirty, using the standard scoring system to objectively assess your facility and team. Doing so will provide insight into your facility’s risks, while directing opportunities for improvement.
When auditing, take the necessities such as a good strong flashlight, along with a small notepad and a pen or two. All of this should easily fit in your back pocket, freeing up your hands to conduct a more thorough inspection. If your facility allows it, utilizing a camera during your inspection can be a huge value and used for tip 4, which is training personnel. Nothing speaks to an opportunity for improvement like a real picture from your facility. As a starting point, you might benefit from our International Auditing Techniques Instructor-Led Training course.
- Train Personnel – The more personnel who understand the importance of the inspection and its basic requirements, the more you can share its responsibilities and eventual successes. Including inspection preparedness in routine employee training will prove to be beneficial. Demonstrate the importance of preparedness by using pictures and stories from your own facility. Their understanding of risk will help drive their involvement in applying successful corrective actions.
- Be Inspection Ready All the Time – With broad participation, your facility should be ready all the time, as preparedness will be a part of your facility’s food safety culture. This will also prepare you for an unannounced inspection, whether third-party or regulatory. To further support the development of your team’s culture and its commitment to food safety, our Food Safety Culture Online will provide you the management techniques that will leave a lasting impact.
Following this guidance will support your preparedness for a future inspection, while building your team’s buy-in, commitment, and support for inspection success.