Third-party audits provide an invaluable component to the safety of the U.S. food supply system. Multiple independent companies like Food4Thought (F4T LLC Services) and audit programs provide literally thousands of independent checks and balances to the food supply system with no direct cost to taxpayers.
They are best described as professional service; a consultation activity that the facility can take advantage of the recommendations in full, in part, or not at all. The deficiencies observed in the audit report can be resolved to the satisfaction of the facility or the buyer of product from the facility through pre-arranged agreements or program enhancements. Examples would include announced or unannounced visits; reports to all interested parties; and follow up to resolve deficiencies through a variety of reporting methods.
These audits are voluntary tools of the food manufacturer and are not meant to replace regulatory inspections. Usually, audits do not include microbiological sampling; however, a representative review of microbiological test records is part of the program evaluation. As a voluntary activity with no legal status, the audits depend on openness and disclosure to accomplish their full function. They are not meant to uncover deceit or fraud.
The food industry utilizes audits in a number of ways to supplement food safety programs as a manufacturer of food, the distribution of input or output, or a purchase of an ingredient, packaging suppliers or finished products.
The standards and the experience of the entire organization is part of the transmission of best practices to each and every facility involved. Third party audits can provide a new set of eyes to view the operation, without the natural familiarity that occurs over time with regular staff in the day-to-day routine. Additionally, third party audits also provide an opportunity to recalibrate a facility’s own self-inspection, part of a standard food safety program requirement. The over-all message is amplified in the saying ” an ounce of prevention is worth avoiding a pound of pain”… i.e. to your business, to your establishment and most certainly to your customer.
Live happier… live healthier… and live safer.
Food4Thought, LLC ~ http://www.f4tllc.com
Anthony H. Jackson III