Food Safety Inspections and audits

HACCP inspections and audits

Before the food safety inspection or audit

Do the words food safety inspection or audit fill you with a feeling of panic and /or dread?

Or turn you into a sleepless mess at 3am

Maybe bring you out in a sweat?

Or make you snappy and a generally unpleasant person to be around?


I used to be like you. The idea of my site being audited or inspected gave me more sleepless nights than I care to remember. Yet, there were usually no massive failures or non-conformance reports (NCR) that were brought up. The auditors or inspectors were polite and business like and we got along just fine, after the initial nerves had disappeared.

At the end of the day, I was wondering why I was so wound up 5 minutes before the person had arrived. One day it struck me that the reason I was so nervous was because I knew where the faults were. In one audit the only non-conformance was for out-of-date bandages in the first aid kit. (I didn’t even know that bandages had a shelf life!). If this was the worst NCR to be found, I was not going to be too concerned in the future. The systems I had written and managed were clearly working. Anyone interviewed had been confident in their answers, and the auditor was happy.


What can you do before a food safety inspection or audit?

What checks can you do to make sure that your inspector/ auditor is happy?  This is not an exhaustive list, but some suggestions based upon my own experience.

What steps can you take to ensure a smooth audit or inspection?

Make sure your production and other paperwork is completed in a timely manner and is complete.

Ensure that your HACCP is reviewed and up to date.

Ensure that you can trace your product from “Goods In” to Despatch.

Do you have adequate handwashing facilities and PPE available?

Do you have hot water to wash your hands? It is an easy check for inspectors and auditors to make. Don’t get an early black mark, by neglecting this.

Check the labelling that you have is accurate and legal.

Check your supplier assessments have been completed and documented. Prove that you have done these in a timely manner as well as reviewed them on a regular basis.

Have you actioned all of your pest control visit recommendations? This is a service that you are paying for. Make sure that you are getting the best value from your contractor.

Check your specifications for your suppliers and customers. Are they up to date and signed off as agreed?

Do you have COSHH & risk assessments completed?

Are your cleaning records up to date?

For these and more suggestions in a checklist format, get in touch and I will send one to you free of charge.

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