Documenting the Top 10 Audit Infractions

Passing a third-party audit is the most important item on a food processing facility’s checklist. If the facility fails an audit it can mean production shut downs, possible product recalls, fines and citations, damage to the brand, and lost revenue.

What are the missteps that cause facilities to be written up or fail an audit? The British Retail Consortium (BRC), a food safety and quality certification program, audited more than 17,000 facilities and identified the most common failing as documentation.


Almost 20% of the sites audited in 2014 by BRC had nonconformities in documentation of cleaning procedures. The other top 10 infractions and the percentage of plants with deficiencies are as follows:


  1. Documentation of cleaning procedures (18%)
  2. Properly maintained doors & docks (14%)
  3. Processes for control of chemicals (12%)
  4. Proper design & placement of equipment (12%)
  5. Documented glass/brittle material handling (12%)
  6. Adequate raw-material identification (11%)
  7. Proper wall maintenance (10%)
  8. Up-to-date document control system (10%)
  9. Properly maintained ceilings & overheads (9%)
  10. Proper storage of finished goods (9%)

Agriculture, Food Processing & Manufacturing, Food Retail & Grocery