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More to come on audit changes

SAMW comment on audit changes announced by the Food Standards Agency:

“There are some worthwhile audit changes in the new system; changes which we’ve been lobbying for over a considerable period of time,” said Executive Manager, Ian Anderson.  “The weighting of some sections, for example, based on their food safety significance, is an important advance. It’s still disappointing, however, that it has taken FSA so long to reach this point in their audit reform.

“Further improvements are still needed, of course. As such, the on-going ‘more strategic’ review of longer term audit arrangements is of greater interest to SAMW member companies, particularly in relation to ‘earned audit recognition’ and the need to place plant performance ahead of considerations of size and complexity.

“Many companies already face searching audits from a number of organisations such as the British Retail Consortium, various quality assurance bodies and individual customers. Proper recognition needs to be given by FSA to such audits, allowing the total audit burden on businesses to be reduced, without any risk whatsoever to food safety.

“In addition, the fact that a plant may be large and complex should not influence the auditing process in the form of ‘add-on’ requirements which are not demanded of smaller operations. What is important is that a plant is well run and has a good track record. Scale and complexity is not the issue in this context.”

To access FSA’s latest audit statement click here