How do I stack up?

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So, you’ve received the results of your SQF audit.  Pleased or disappointed with the results you’re probably wondering how you compare to others in your industry.  SQFI does an outstanding job of presenting common non-conformitieis and offers the following for the 2012 audit year:

Safe Quality Foods Top Ten Non Conformities

  •       Records                                         53.64%
  •       Business Continuity Plan              52.53%
  •     Premise & Equipment                    50.79%
  •   Cleaning & Sanitation                   50.45%
  •       Food Safety Plan                           49.55%
  •     Dust, Fly & Vermin Proofing         49.42%
  •   Equipment, Utensils                      47.69%
  •     Walls, Partitions, Doors                45.74%
  •     Control of Foreign Matter            44.06%
  •     Floors, Drains and Waste Traps    41.99%

Simply put – 53.64% of the facilities undergoing an SQF audit in 2012 were cited for a records deviation.  Wow – more than half.  That reflects two things:

1.  the amount of records being generated by the facility and reviewed by the auditor.  For a 2 1/2 day facility audit you can expect at least 50% of that time will be on records review.

2.  it’s easy to make a mistake on records.  With the amount of data we are generating, relying on people to correctly measure and document the facts, then another whole new set of people reviewing the documentation to make sure no mistakes were made you can imagine that something at some point will be missed.

The good news is that most of these findings aren’t trends but merely single data points.  If you’ve identified a trend in your documentation failures then you have an issue that needs to be addressed immediately.  Your documentation is your lifeline to compliance.  The only method you have to prove long after the fact that your took appropriate correction action and how you reached your conclusions.

I remain surprised that Business Continuity Plans continue to rank so high on the list.  When first introduced that industry as a whole struggled with how, when and why but over time it’s become clearer and more common.  Challenge your system!  What are you going to do when that storm every 100 years hits?  What if an irate employee gained access to your facility?  How would you handle it?  Where would you meet?  Who would be in charge?  What about the press? your employees?   their families?  your customers?  Taking the time now to seriously walk through the steps could help you make the right decisions in the event of a disaster.  Count me as one who feels the time spent now will be worth it.

Need help with any of these findings or preparation for your next audit?  Please contact us!  We’d love to help.