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Food Safety Audits During COVID19: Tips to Minimize Exposure During an SQF Audit Pt. 2

September 21, 2020

By Tammie Van Buren, SQFI Compliance Manager

Allowing visitors in 2020 has extra heightened concerns, but it is very possible. Whether or not your site will have 10, 25, or 50 percent of the audit conducted remotely using Information Communication Technology (ICT), it is always recommended to be prepared.

Below are some helpful tips to ensure that you’re ready to begin your food safety audit.

Communicate, communicate, and communicate!
Don’t wait until the auditor is at your door to inform them of entry requirements. Let your auditor know you need to take their temperature or that you’re providing them with pens and notepads. Make sure your auditor is aware of any new visitor procedures. This can protect your employees, the auditor, and save you time and resources.

Explore Creative Options and Alternatives
Determine when your auditor will be in contact with your employees. Then ask yourself what additional measures you can take to protect your staff and the auditor. For example, are these meetings possible outdoors or via ICT or other communications equipment such as radios, earbuds, or microphones? Is there a dedicated room the auditor can sit in to Zoom into an interview? Utilize items and places that can be sanitized between interviews.  Make sure to explore all options to maintain a socially safe distance to minimize the amount of contact between your auditor and your staff.

Prepare an Auditor Pandemic Tool Kit
Identify your “just-in-case” supplies to put into a pandemic tool kit. Items such as face masks, face shields, gloves, disposable smocks, sanitation wipes, and other PPE should be included in your kit.

Ready Your Sanitation Cart
Prepare a cart or basket full of frequent use disposable contact items such gloves and sanitation wipes to follow your auditor around the facility.

Identify Lessons Learned
Be prepared to identify what works and what doesn’t work. Update your processes and procedures to help prepare for the next extraordinary event.

Visit the SQF COVID-19 Resources page for additional pandemic tools.

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