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How to prepare for a food safety audit?

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Food safety audits and EHO inspections can be scary. So how best to prepare for a food safety audit? This is what we will take you through today. Follow these steps to be prepared for your next food safety audit and pass it with flying colours! 🌟

What is a food safety audit?

First, let’s find out what a food safety audit is. EHO inspections are compulsory for any foodservice business. Their purpose is to assess whether your business complies with all the food safety requirements set out by your local authority. So having an external food safety audit can help you be ready for your next EHO inspection! After review, your food safety audit report will highlight any areas of concern and potential food safety hazards so that you can act on it quickly. 

Concretely, food safety audits are here to ensure you are doing everything to keep your staff and customers safe. While they can be scary, food safety audits are all about being prepared at all times. But don’t worry, we will share some tips with you so that you can have a flawless food safety management system and impress your Environmental Health Officer. 

How to prepare for a food safety audit:
Here are our top tips!

1. Boost your team’s confidence

With food safety, there’s nothing worse than panic! Whether your team members are new or have been in the team for years, take care of them. Having a positive food safety culture is key. By making sure everyone is comfortable with all the food safety processes, this is already 80% of the preparation done! Think about it the other way round. Imagine a team where panic, stress and pressure reign. Then this is an invitation to stress-fuelled human errors and inattention. And with it, a bad audit score. Grim, right? 

How to have confident teams? Clear communication, a positive leadership mindset and regular food safety training to ensure everyone is up-to-date. It’s about reminding your people that we’re all in this together and that everyone’s end goal is to keep it all safe. The more, the merrier! Food hygiene training doesn’t have to be an inconvenience for your staff. Especially when made fun, interactive and 100% online. It also shows you care about their self-development. 

Did you know we offer FREE Level 2 Food Hygiene courses? Head here to find out more!

In addition, we’d recommend that all your staff qualifies at least Level 2 Food Safety. Even for your front- and back-of-house teams so that everyone gets a confidence boost. With the implementation of Natasha’s Law in October, an Allergen Awareness course would also be a plus!

2. Create some accountability

Build your food safety management system with clear distribution of food safety tasks (and checks!). Your HACCP should include who’s in charge of what, when and how. Let’s take the example of food delivery from suppliers. It should have a clear hazard control point process: 

  • Who will be receiving the food from suppliers, checking labels, use-by dates and any sign of pest;
  • What checks will be done (e.g. any tears/marks that could be a sign of pest, temperatures checks);
  • How will these checks be carried (which equipment, at which frequency, recording and evidence capture).

In addition, ensure clear approval workflows with further accountability (who gets to approve which checks).

Actually, the idea behind this is to have a reliable food safety management system in place. And accountability is a key element for your food safety audit to go smoothly. On top of that, it creates a positive culture as everyone is contributing to the overall mission (and success!) of keeping the business safe. Everyone likes to be part of something big! 😊

Not sure how to build a strong food safety management system? Fear not, we have a guide for you, just here.

3. Flawless record keeping

Another good tip on how to prepare for a food safety audit is impeccable record keeping. Don’t think your EHO will stick around, waiting for you to find your latest monthly cleaning checklist or your staff training records. Your inspector needs to feel reassured and confident that you can keep all things safe. So it’s all about showing how in control you are. Conclusion? Be specifically careful with all your paperwork: 

  • Cleaning checklists
  • Maintenance records
  • Training certificates
  • Previous audit documents… Have them all ready and quickly available.

Feeling under the weather and constantly stressed about finding records? Then take the plunge and opt for digital food safety processes! Indeed, it can truly and positively impact your food safety audit preparation.

Having all documents and records in one digital, cloud-based safe place saves you countless hours of manual effort. In addition, both your EHO and Auditor will be blown away by the speed and accuracy of your record-keeping available within seconds from your tablet, mobile or desktop.

4. Digital checklists

This leads us to digital checklists! First, this will help your business embrace a more sustainable path to food safety.

Second, it’s a real life-saver. Is it really a great way to prepare for a food safety audit? Absolutely. Bin all paperwork. Stop sighting with despair and grab your tablet to quickly complete all your food hygiene checklists. Your staff will know exactly what to do, when and how with digital checklists. All opening/closing, cleaning, temperature, maintenance and food delivery checks can be completed within seconds from a mobile or tablet. 

What’s more? It’s all automatically saved into one online platform you can quickly access and visualise. That’s no more panic when the EHO arrives unexpectedly on that dreadful busy Friday night. Even that flock of after-work moody food goers impatiently waiting won’t raise your stress levels. Only the adrenaline to serve the best dish ever and WOW your customers.

So, fancy a quick pre-inspection checklist to be ready 24/7? We have a FREE audit inspection checklist just here:

5. Learn and improve

Finally, let’s have a heart-to-heart about food safety audits. Sometimes it just doesn’t go the way you’d wish. But it’s okay! Accepting first the way things have gone is essential. Then, it’s time to evaluate and improve. Besides, this is another key step on how to prepare for a food safety audit: practice makes perfect! There are a few ways you can learn and improve:

  • First, put yourself in the shoes of a food safety auditor. See it for yourself and pretend to be your auditor. You might pick up little things you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. 
  • Second, regularly review your HACCP and policy. If you’re a bit confused, get help from a friendly expert who can share best practices as well as keeping you updated with the latest food safety regulations. That way, no compliance faux-pas.
  • Finally, sign up for post-audit training, called Supercharged Audits. Our team can design a training program specifically designed to improve the red flags of your last audit.

Fancy hassle-free food safety audits?

We hope this guide on how to prepare for a food safety audit was useful. We can do much more for you if you need further support. Our super friendly food safety auditors here at Navitas Safety always put you at the heart of everything they do. They will share best practices to give you an edge as well and work hand-in-hand with you to create simple and hassle-free food audit processes.

Curious? Tempted? More info? It’s all here, on our dedicated food audit page ⬇️

Here’s a mini-quiz. If you answer “Yes” to more than one question, click the ‘Get in touch’ button below and we will help you create magic in your food safety audit processes! Destination? Hassle-free food safety audits! 🚀

  • Are you regularly stressed by food safety audits and EHO inspections?
  • Do you feel like you haven’t got quick access to all your records?
  • You still fear your team doesn’t always know what to do?
  • You’d like a bespoke audit template, specifically made for your business?
  • You’re tired of that ‘suspense’ waiting for your result and would like instant results?
  • You either feel 😒, 😱, 🤢 or all of them everytime you hear the word ‘audit’ or ‘inspection’?

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