Are You Prepared for Audits?
Food processing facilities are often subject to audits to ensure that they are following proper food safety practices. Preparation for these events is important, as they can be unannounced! That does not mean you cannot be prepared for the unexpected visit. Pest management innovations are being implemented in pest prevention areas through exclusion, sanitation strategies, and the use of pest management trends to make improvements in the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. Below are four tips to help ensure you are prepared for an audit at any time.
Establish a Proactive Integrated Pest Management Program
A sustainable IPM strategy should be developed with your pest management provider. It should encompass a comprehensive look at all factors that may contribute to pest issues and be designed to reduce pest pressure, address sanitation and exclusion issues, and actively monitor pests and trends. The goal of the IPM program is to proactively address pest risks and prevent issues, which is why communication, prevention, and food safety are key elements for a success. IPM programs are designed to meet the food safety program's specific needs based on a wide range of several factors, which can adapt as the pest pressures and risks change over time.
Implement an Employee Pest Sighting Log
The more eyes you have looking for pest activity and conducive conditions at your facility, the better. By providing sighting logs that are easily accessible to employees, you will have a better idea of potential pest risks and potential problem areas. Once the pest sighting log is implemented, you and your pest management provider will need to make it part of the routine of reviewing sighting logs and responding appropriately.
When it comes to an audit, documentation and having a well-established paper trail are key for food facilities. Keeping documentation will prove that you understand and have a handle on things. Your pest management provider should also review observations and the documentation at the end of each service visit with you, and outline any steps that may need to be taken.
Documents should be well-organized so that information is easy to find when needed. By doing this, it will help you answer auditor questions and demonstrate how well your IPM program is performing. Plus, it can help you identify ways to improve your overall food safety program.
Review the Food Safety Standards
One of the easiest ways to prepare for an audit is to understand the food safety standards. Everything that an auditor will review is laid out within the audit standards. By taking time to understand the requirements, you will be prepared to make necessary changes to ensure that your facility passes the audit.
Food safety audits can seem daunting, but working with a professional pest management team that supports your food safety program to exceed these standards and knows how to be prepared can make things easier for you. By taking the time to prepare, you can ensure that any questions or expectations from the auditors do not catch you off guard.