The nonsense of unannounced audits for BRCGS, FSSC 22000 and IFS – International Featured Standards.
Now that all GFSI (un)recognized schemes have included unnanounced audits in their scheme, the impact of this is starting to become clear.
For a longer period of time, companies with a small QA department expect their QA manager to be available and unable to go on vacation. Once I spent 2 holiday days on the ingredient declaration for the gingerbread torondo, a reason to develop our real-time food safety platform. Now history repeats for today's QA managers with unannounced audits.
Scaricity of QA Managers
Due to the limited number of QA managers in the entire Food industry, many companies are partly dependent on external QA managers / consultants to validate the system and for example, converting it to the requirements of BRC9, and it is nice if these external parties can also explain this during an audit. By performing a complete audit unnannouced, an unworkable situation is created for these external parties. When an unannounced audit takes place at 10 companies in a year, 30 days of advice are simply removed from your planning, because the Food company still expects you to be present at the audit. With QAssurance we can provide direct online support with the iMIS Food Helpdesk, but I notice that customers prefer our presence at the audit.
History of certification
Certification has existed since 1760. The world looked different then. The purpose of certification was to validate and verify that a ship was good enough to cross the ocean. Due to the increase in requirements from legislation, standards, customers and consumers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to properly perform this verification step within a Food company.
Conclusion Unannounced Audits for GFSI certification
As a Food industry, let's accept that certification has become validation. And that during the audit it is tested whether the company has properly incorporated the required schedule in the management system. Then the entire current way of auditing can also be changed. An auditor can work much more online with the experts regarding system validation and can also do so for example, starting an unannounced online session one morning to verify some topics as a schedule that would like to see happen in the context of Food Safety Culture.
The current way of certification and unannounced audits demands too much from the people who keep the QA system up and running. Just let QA managers and external consultants work on the Food Safety Culture and a continuously well-functioning QA system, instead of spending all energy on the preparation of an unannounced audit.
It's time for the Food Industry to say this far and no further. The current GFSI suspension of IFS and the resulting issues show that the scheme managers have lost touch with reality.
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