Once a food safety program has been implemented the business should verify that the practices and procedures contained in the food safety program are actually happening.
The person conducting the annual review and verification activities should have a good understanding of the food safety program and food safety requirements.
Verification can be conducted in a number of ways including:
- Conducting a review of the plan to ensure that all the food handling procedures and processes are covered, hazards identified and control measures appropriate.
- Examining the monitoring records to ensure that they are being completed correctly. If issues are identified then you must demonstrate that you have taken effective and appropriate corrective action to address the problem. This may be in the way of training; training attendance forms should be completed and signed off by the relevant staff. The records should continue to be monitored to ensure the training has been effective. If the issue continues then the corrective action has not been effective. The business would then implement other measures to address and rectify the problem. Remember a temporary solution does not deal with the cause of a problem.
- Observation is a great way of determining whether staff are complying with the procedures of the food safety program. Are they wearing the appropriate PPE, conducting hand washing when required, cleaning and sanitising work areas, taking and recording temperatures as required?
- Checking your support programs, are your external service providers performing work as scheduled? Are the reports available, have they been read and any corrective action implemented? Are the pest control reports available (and legible)? Do they state which chemicals have been applied to the food processing areas? If so do you have documentation stating they are safe for use in a food preparation/processing area? Do you have SDS forms available for all chemicals currently in use? Are baits in place? if so is there a bait map that has been signed off as current? Have all staff completed the necessary training as stated in the training section of the plan? Do you have documentation that demonstrates this?
A full review of the food safety program should be conducted at least annually however, it is good practice to verify parts of the program throughout the year and as required (when there has been a change in processes or procedures).
Documentation should be kept to demonstrate when the program has been reviewed, what was reviewed, the outcome and what action if any was taken as a result.
If the business has conducted an annual review and internal audits have been thoroughly conducted throughout the year the documentation should be readily available for your auditor.