Streamline your food safety and other audit processes

Streamline your food safety and other audit processes

Streamline your food safety and other audit processes

Regular audits of operational processes are mandatory to comply with a host of regulatory requirements in most industries.

In food service operations, regulatory food safety and sanitation audits, among others, safeguard the health and safety of customers and protect you against loss of licensure, fines, or even criminal penalties.

In addition to mandatory audits, assessing your inhouse processes ensures effective management of your organization. These internal audits help you to monitor whether your staff is following procedures and identify deficits, in addition to providing other valuable insights into your processes. This ensures that staff are always on top of their game; standards are being maintained; and problems or shortfalls are dealt with timeously. (Sample food safety audit)

Organizations need to establish formal systems and procedures to perform and document their audit processes and results. They also need to be prepared for audits and inspections from external federal, state and local agencies. Youngleson & Leitner, “Food service audit standards and best practices”, 20 February 2023

Research shows that many organizations still use paper-based processes to conduct their audits. They are very inefficient and cumbersome methods of undertaking audits. This is considering that:

  • The results of paper-based audits are not available in real-time.
  • Errors are made when transcribing the results of paper-based audits.
  • It is difficult to share paper-based audit results across the organization.
  • Paper-based audits need to be stored.
  • It is difficult to access the results of paper-based audits on demand.
  • You cannot trend data over time or across units without duplicating data capture with paper-based audits.

Best practice guidelines recommend the use of electronic audit tools.

In today’s mobile-centric environment, it is possible to streamline any audit process using tablets and smartphones. Auditors can access the specified checklist for any audit via an app on their mobile device or unique weblinks.

An audit can be performed by walking through a facility and, thereby, capturing quantitative data and recording comments and photos/videos when an issue is detected. It can be short in duration, consisting of less than 10 questions, or more detailed, depending on requirements. For example, a comprehensive food safety audit could comprise more than 50 questions on multiple topics, such as:

  • Personal hygiene,
  • Time and temperature controls,
  • Cross- contamination,
  • Training and certification and
  • Purchasing and receiving.

Once an audit is completed and submitted, it is available in real-time for distribution to assigned personnel, such as maintenance staff, as well for review in a back-end portal.

Major benefits of an electronic audit tool include:

  • Audit results are available in real-time in digital format.
  • Photos/videos can be included to highlight deficiencies.
  • Audits can be scored based on predefined criteria.
  • Specified staff can receive results immediately by email for action or review.
  • Audit results are accessible in a secure web portal.
  • Issues can be assigned to staff for follow-up action.
  • Issue status can be tracked to ensure accountability.
  • All audit results are stored digitally and can, thus, be accessed quickly and efficiently.
  • Extensive analytics facilitate the monitoring of trends and comparison of unit performance, among other applications.
  • Management reports can be easily managed and shared.

Touchwork’s CheckIT solutions provides all the capabilities that are needed to implement an effective digital audit process. Built on Touchwork’s powerful and flexible cloud based Kinetica CX platform, it provides results in real-time with advanced drill-down reporting and analysis capabilities. CheckIT is quick to deploy; requires no on-site IT support; and is optimized for use with mobile devices.

Touchwork’s Kinetica platform is an automated survey and audit data collection platform that provides maximum flexibility to craft and implement data driven workflows; integration with third party systems; and logic to manage complex audit implementations.

Further reading:

Food service audit standards and best practices

Food safety regulations

 

Other relevant resources

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