Food Audits and Inspections
Commentators, regulators and consumer groups are agreed that transparency within food supply chains provides consumers with necessary assurance about the safety, quality and provenance of their food.
The recent Select Committee raised a concern at the lack of joined up intelligence and knowledge sharing across the food industry amongst manufacturers, regulators and retailers.
After reviewing the processes of our customers and our internal practices, we have decided to start this process and share all the Audit and Inspection outcomes from our customers, standard owners and regulatory bodies.
We will be the first in the industry to do this and we hope this bold step will allow us to work with regulators, standard owners and customers to develop a system for all to use.
How Audits and Inspections Work
Audits and Inspections are carried out by a number of organisations, they are all seeking to make sure that the way we operate meets the requirements of their organisation. Some of these are common, but there are differences and some instances they will be seeking to check on specifics unique to their organisation.
The FSA and Local Authorities provide regulation at the national and local level. Their focus is to make sure that we comply with the law. It is our legal responsibility to produce safe food. We are audited by standard bodies such as BRC Global Standards, Red Tractor and the Soil Association. They check that we meet the requirements of their schemes. In addition, our customers carry out audits and inspections to make sure that we are meeting their requirements which may in some cases go beyond those of the standard bodies. Each of these bodies will look at similar areas of activity and control within our operations, but from a different perspective and focus.
This means that the audits and inspections used to monitor our sites cover similar areas, but all focus on their own particular area of interest. Common to all are that the audits and inspections of our premises and operations are carried out by trained and competent 3rd party auditors.
These auditors all check how well our operations conform to both their own organisations specified operational standards and the requirements of the law. Any areas that need addressing are called non-conformances, which are graded. There is not one uniform grading system.
After an audit of our premises and discussion with the auditors we undertake remedial actions to address the non- conformances to ensure any areas of concern are addressed. This can result in: retraining people to implement systems correctly, reviewing and changing our systems to make them more robust or making repairs to buildings or fabric. As you will appreciate if building or other work is needed this make take several months to complete.
Most auditing bodies also grade their audits to give an overall understanding of the robustness of the site’s people, premises, process and procedures. These are based on the number and type of non-conformance, but there is no uniform way of doing this. The grades, audit score and consequences of those grades vary from organisation to organisation.
The auditing of the performance of our people, premises and processes; the raising of non-conformances and their close out is all part of the normal monitoring and continuous improvement process in the food industry.
2SFG produces safe food every day. We always seek to operate in a way that fully meets the expectations of our customers and regulators whilst continuously improving our operation. These audits/inspections, the insight they give us and the remedial action taken is an important part in the continuous improvement cycle.
We have modified our approach to giving this information following feedback we received.
We are keen to develop this part or our website to make sure that we are delivering information in a way that all stakeholders find useful, so we would welcome views on this approach. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will collate the views we receive to help inform our own reporting but also to help inform any wider initiative. We will continue to develop this site using our UK Poultry sites but it is our intention to provide this information for all the 2SFG sites once we have found a method that meets all our stakeholder needs.