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Inspectle Food Safety Inspection Software

What Does a Food Quality Auditor Do?


A food quality auditor doing their job

A food auditor is a professional who inspects food processing facilities and restaurants to ensure they are following safety and hygiene regulations.  They help keep the public safe by confirming food production and food establishments are clean and follow the rules.


The Role of a Food Quality Auditor

Food quality auditors check food production, processing facilities, and restaurants to ensure they follow safety and hygiene regulations. They help keep the public safe by verifying food producers and establishments are clean and follow the rules.


Conducting an Audit

When conducting an audit, food quality auditors check many aspects of how you run your business:


  • Cleanliness of Food Preparation Areas: They check for regular cleaning and sanitizing to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and other pathogens. They ensure that surfaces are clean and sanitized and that the food preparation areas are free of clutter and debris.

  • Proper Food Storage: They verify that food is stored at the correct temperatures to prevent bacterial growth. For example, refrigerated foods should be kept below 40°F, and frozen foods should be below 0°F.

  • Staff Training in Food Safety Practices: Auditors review the training programs for staff to ensure they understand and follow food safety protocols, such as proper handwashing techniques and avoiding cross-contamination.

  • Implementation of Food Safety Plans: They assess whether your business has a comprehensive food safety plan and if you are correctly implementing it. Their checks include checking for hazard analysis and compliance with critical control points (HACCP).


Food Auditor Training and Qualifications

Food quality auditors usually have a background in food science or a related field. They go through extensive training in food safety and hygiene practices, including learning about the regulations that govern food safety and how to conduct thorough audits. Essential skills for food quality auditors include:


  • Observational Skills: Ability to identify potential safety hazards and compliance issues.

  • Communication Skills: Effectively communicate findings to the establishment's management.

  • Technical Knowledge: Auditors understand food safety regulations, HACCP, and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).


Training in Food Safety and Hygiene

The food auditor's training in safety and hygiene contains knowledge about various practices designed to prevent foodborne illnesses, including:


  • Proper Food Handling: They confirm that you prevent the spread of harmful bacteria by correctly handling food, such as by keeping raw and cooked foods separate.

  • Proper Food Storage: Storing food at the correct temperatures inhibits bacterial growth.

  • Food Hygiene: Maintain cleanliness in food preparation areas and ensure food is hygienic.

  • Environmental conditions: The surroundings of the production line are clean, and the machinery is intact.


What a Food Auditor Looks For


Food Hygiene

Food hygiene revolves around maintaining cleanliness in food preparation areas. Auditors inspect for regular cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces and equipment and ensure that personal hygiene practices, such as handwashing, are followed.


Food hygiene regulations are designed to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and other pathogens in food establishments. These regulations set standards for cleanliness in food production and storage areas and personal hygiene practices. They also require quality managers to implement a food hygiene plan and to train their staff in food hygiene practices.


Food Handling

Proper food handling is necessary for preventing foodborne illnesses. Food quality auditors look for:


  • Cross-Contamination Prevention: Ensuring that raw and cooked foods are kept separate and that utensils and surfaces are cleaned between uses.

  • Clean Hands and Equipment: Verifying that food handlers wash their hands properly and use clean utensils.


Food auditors will inspect food production and preparation areas to ensure they are clean and sanitary. They will look for signs of dirt, pests, or debris and check if surfaces are regularly cleaned and sanitized. Food preparation and production areas should be free of clutter, toxicity, and debris, and surfaces should be regularly cleaned and sanitized.


Finally, food auditors will check if your business follows its food hygiene plan.


Food Storage

Proper food storage is another part of food safety auditors pay attention to. They look into details such as:


  • In the warehouse, ingredients must be stored in dedicated places at determined conditions according to the raw material supplier.

  • Are allergens distinguished from non-allergens, and have allergens distinctively labeled?

  • Bags of raw materials must not be damaged, which might quickly happen due to warehouse logistics when transporting bulk raw materials with forklifts.

  • Have you and your team paid attention to raw materials labels to check that raw materials that require chill temperatures (butter, milk, eggs, yeast) are not accidentally stored at ambient temperatures?

  • It’s important to visually register any raw materials whose shelf life has expired – using expired raw materials in the product recipes by mistake causes a situation where a whole batch of ready products must be discarded to waste.

  • Besides the conditions and storage of raw materials, you must keep an eye on environmental conditions and be ready to take preventative measures, e.g., keeping raw material pallets 15 cm from the walls to reduce the risk of pest infestation. 


Based on the incidents that happen in patterns, the whole quality system can be strengthened by applying new procedures to prevent issues stemming from raw materials and product storage. 


Personal Hygiene Practices

Personal hygiene starts with the simplest of practices, such as your employees washing hands, wearing clean clothing, and avoiding certain behaviors that can spread harmful bacteria, such as touching one's face or hair while preparing food.


Food auditors will check a production facility's or establishment's personnel's hygiene practices to ensure they comply with food hygiene regulations. They will look for signs of poor personal hygiene, such as food handlers who do not wash their hands or not wearing protective clothing properly. They will also check if the establishment follows its food hygiene plan.


Three food auditing statistics and facts

  • NSF International conducts over 40,000 food safety audits annually worldwide, which includes a significant number in the U.S.

  • Many food quality auditors in the U.S. obtain certifications from organizations like the American Society for Quality (ASQ). ASQ offers the Certified Food Safety and Quality Auditor (CFSQA) certification, which requires auditors to have significant on-the-job experience and pass an exam.

  • Experts predict that after the COVID period, real-life audits will return, and the number of virtual audits will continue to decrease.


Conclusion

Food quality auditors play a big role in maintaining food safety and hygiene in production and processing facilities. They conduct detailed audits to ensure compliance with safety regulations, help prevent foodborne illnesses, and maintain public health standards.


Improve Your Food Safety and Hygiene with Inspectle Food

Knowing about food safety and hygiene is the first step. Now, take action to make your inspections easier with Inspectle Food. You can use many practical tools on our platform to save time, reduce paperwork, and help you track issues in real-time.



With Inspectle Food, you can save up to 70% of the time spent on hygiene checks and solve problems four times faster. Many top companies use our platform because it is flexible, has automatic reporting, and is easy to use. Want to improve your food safety processes?  Book a demo today and see the difference.




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