Each year, companies across the entire food industry undergo multiple audits to assess food safety and quality. As a result of many different audits against many different standards, the auditing process poses high costs and lost productivity for most food suppliers.
It has long been recognised that while each audit may be commissioned by a different company or enforcement agency as part of a supplier agreement or regulatory requirement, there is a great deal of overlap. For some time, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has been co-ordinating discussions around how the industry can work collectively to minimise the resource burden associated with auditing while upholding food safety, promoting consistency and maintaining confidence in audit outcomes.
With support from Food Innovation Australia Ltd. and AusIndustry, the AFGC has commenced a three month scoping study which will assist industry collaboration in addressing food safety auditing duplication. Some of the key tasks of the scoping project include: collecting and collating the many auditing standards which are currently being used across industry sectors with a view to streamlining their food safety provisions in future work; establishing the key attributes of effective food safety management within companies; and identifying the major stakeholder groups and establishing mechanisms for communicating with these groups for future consultations on food safety auditing issues.
The AFGC will be consulting as many organisations as possible to inform planning for further work on this topic. To receive updates and information about the project, please email Fiona Fleming (Project Manager): email@example.com or email FoodSafety@afgc.org.au