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What You Need to Know About Food Quality Audit

As the food market continues to grow internationally, more and more is being done by governments and companies in the industry to ensure the utmost product quality and safety. Consumers today are highly concerned about the quality of the foods in the market because everything we eat affects our health. Governments have developed a variety of compulsory food quality certification guidelines, while companies and independent bodies also do their part in ensuring that all marketed food products adhere to defined quality standards.

To ensure that all these guidelines and standards have the necessary effect, it is important to have a process that checks the level of compliance by organizations marketing food products. This is exactly what a food quality audit aims to fulfill.

What is a Food Quality Audit?
Food quality audit refers to the process of verifying whether the various standard and quality specifications made on different food products by producers and manufacturers are accurately backed by operational procedures and other relevant systems. During the audit process, the auditors are interested in finding out whether all the safety and quality standards food products are supposed to adhere to have been fulfilled. As such, they evaluate the food quality systems put in place by management as well as the physical systems meant to ensure food quality at all times.

International Food Quality Standards
There are different standards used to ensure the quality and safety of food products is achieved by producers and manufacturers. Some of the commonly adhered to international food quality structures here include GAP (Good Agricultural Practices), HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), and GMP (Good Manufacturing Standards) among others. The framework developed under these structures is meant to ensure various aspects of food quality, including environmental, composition, taste, effects, cost, texture, etc. are conformed with.

How Food Quality Audit Works
A food quality audit is conducted by an internal or external team of auditors depending on the size of the operation being audited. During the process, the auditor will review documents and undertake onsite verification relevant to food quality. It is up to the auditor to verify whether the systems in place are suited to the operations of the organization under consideration, and are in line with the requirements to ensure food quality. 

During the food quality audit, the verification of relevant documents may be conducted on or offsite. Once this is completed, the onsite verification of physical systems and procedures may commence. 

It is upon the organization being audited to ensure that the auditor has access to everything they need for the food quality audit exercise. Management should direct all relevant employees to provide all necessary documentation and facilitate access during the onsite verification before the commencement of the exercise. 
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