The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) expanded the FDA’s authority to regulate the conditions of food manufacturing facilities and how products are produced, manufactured, transported, imported and marketed in the United States. Food safety audits, whether conducted by an internal team or by an outside consultant, will ensure that your food processing plant is in full compliance with FDA regulations.
Establishing the proper programs, regular monitoring, and proper documentation are the first steps to a successful food safety audit. Those programs should address these five key areas:
- Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) Procedures – Carefully evaluate your current processes noting any changes in operational procedures on the production floor, new ingredients that have been introduced or new equipment added to your line. The FSMA now requires companies to implement written, facility-specific hazard analysis and control plans. So if your facility does not have HACCP Procedures, you will need to comply with the new rulings
- Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) – ensure that your plant has a GMP inspection checklist and perform an inspection monthly, noting all corrective actions taken
- Quality Assurance (QA) – your QA process should validate the effectiveness of your plant’s sanitation procedures and include documentation of all issues found and addressed
- Regulatory compliance – ensure that all applicable regulations governing your specific process and/or industry are incorporated into the HACCP Plan, GMP and QA procedures. Document all written procedures and inspections
- Sanitation procedures – document all cleaning procedures including training records of the sanitation personnel. Your report should also include detail on the disassembly of equipment, chemicals and cleaning utensils used, and actual cleaning methods. If your plant is using a clean-in-place (CIP) system, document the cycle times, water temperature and chemical levels.
If you’d like to learn more preventive steps your facility can take to ensure a successful food safety audit, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.