How to manage FSSAI Audits
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In this blog, we will have a detailed discussion on how to handle FSSAI audits for continuous improvement of your business. This will also enable you to be confident to face an upcoming FSSAI audit.
There are broadly three types of FSSAI audits. These are:
- Scheduled Audits: The food business operator (FBO) has to go through monthly, quarterly or annual audits from the officers of FSSAI. These audits are part of the process and an FBO is informed in advance about the schedule of the audit. The FBO has the time to prepare his books and other aspects of his licensing requirements.
- Unscheduled Audits: As the name suggests, these audits are thrust upon the FBO out of procedural requirements. The FBO does not have any prior information about this and he is caught off guard as he was not given the time to prepare his books or improve the business premises for licensing inspections.
- Raids: If a customer files a complaint regarding any discrepancy in any the service delivery or the food itself, it may give reason to the FSSAI officials to raid your business premises. The maximum number of complaints before a raid is conducted varies from category to category but this gives a major jolt to the reputation of your business concern.
Preparation for FSSAI Audits
- Infrastructure: Infrastructure forms the physical aspect of your business. The factory, warehouse, cold storage area has to be kept in a very hygienic conditions. This is necessary to make sure that the food articles produced in the premises are free for leakages, pests etc. Any food article has to have a standard hygiene and safe to be consumed.
- License - FSSAI issues various kind of licenses to regulate various kind of food businesses. The food business operator should be aware of the right type of license for his business operations. The license copy should be kept at factory and office premises for immediate retrieval in case FSSAI officials ask for it. It should also be ensured that the license is regularly updated and renewed.
- Necessary Documents – Food Safety Management System (FSMS) is the main document of every FBO. It comprises food safety plans as to how you are going to proceed. The auditor is authorized to study and analyze the statements of annual turnover and other related documents that contain records of various activities undertaken by your business over the course of a financial year
- Process - The raw materials for the food articles have to go through many stages of production and transportation to achieve their final shape. These stages are inventory management, production process, storage, logistics and quality checks. FBO should continuously focus on these processes to extract maximum business improvement
- Employees - Management is all about managing men, money and materials for a business objective. Employees should be acquainted with the food safety norms as they are the ones who regularly come in contact with food articles during manufacturing, storage and transportation.
Process of Audit from FSSAI
All food Business operators (FBOs) must know how to handle an audit process from FSSAI/FDA as food audit is an essential part of the food manufacturing industry.
- when a person comes for an audit from FSSAI/FDA, request him to show his FSSAI/FDI ID card before disclosing your documents.
- if an auditor raises any Non-Compliance issues related to quality, process, safety etc, make note of it. Be smart and come up with the strategy to remove non-compliance issues. Don’t argue, keep calm.
- Be specific with documentation work. Show him only those documents which are relevant to his questions. Don’t build a pile of documents around him.
- Commonly, Non-compliances are raised during audit process. Request him against which clause that particular noncompliance has been raised. This will make the officials from FSSAI/FDA to ensure that they raise right questions.
Now be ready to handle audit from FSSAI with confidence after formulating above-mentioned points. Comprehend the nature of the audit. Act maturely and be patient throughout the audit process. Try to improve on all Non-compliances issues raised, otherwise they can levy heavy penalties.