Five Tips for Passing Third-Party Audits

Preparing for a third-party or FDA audit or inspection can be stressful for food processing plant managers. The stakes are higher now than ever for food processors to successfully pass these audit/inspections because failure means lost production time, financial penalties, brand damage and inability to sell product to key suppliers.

With expanded FDA inspection and enforcement powers coupled with the rise in customer-driven audits to meet BRC and similar standards, QA and plant managers are subject to scheduled and unscheduled audits at virtually anytime.

How does a QA or plant manager and their staff prepare? Sprague asked veteran pest management and food industry consultant Ole Dosland for his insights and he offered these five tips to successfully passing a third-party audit/inspection:

  1. Make sure you have the most recent standards and conduct a practice audit according to those standards.
  2. Review the physical condition of your plant to see if your pest exclusion protocols are up to speed and delivering the intended results.
  3. Conduct a thorough review of your records to make sure they are in order.
  4. Walk through your plant prior to the audit/inspection and see it through the eyes of the auditor – be prepared for last minute surprises.
  5. Have your pest management partner with you on the day of the audit/inspection to present the plant’s pest management records and answer auditor questions directly.

The new reality for QA and food plant managers is the need to be in a constant state of readiness for an audit/inspection. It is no longer a question of “Is the FDA coming but when will they be there?” 

Sprague can assist food processing facilities and managers prepare their operation for an audit/inspection by reviewing protocols on everything from sanitation and pest exclusion to documentation and ways to work cooperatively with FDA.

Food Processing & Manufacturing