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Unannounced Audits

latest blog on new trend

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#1 George @ Safefood 360°

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 02:59 PM

Hi All,

 

This is my latest blog on a very interesting and emerging trend in 2nd and 3rd party certification of food safety systems.

 

George

 

http://safefood360.c...nounced-audits/



#2 jenky

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 09:15 PM

Very timely and interesting, especially considering the Proposed Rule on Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors/Certification Bodies and the requirement within the rule for "unannounced" audits.  Thanks for sharing, George.



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#3 cazyncymru

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 07:55 AM

We've just been discussing the stipulation by ASDA (Walmart) that if you supply a own brand product, then you will need to have an unannounced BRC audit.

 

ASDA label is <2% of our production, so we're in a position in that we can say if we want, that we stop packing for ASDA. We are packing a regional product, which would be difficult to get someone else to pack, so it could possibly disappear from the shelf. I bet there are hundreds of cottage industries out there who are in a similar position.

 

It's not because we're scared of slipping a grade or have something to hide, We are audited on practically a weekly basis. Our reluctance is due to the lack of guidance from CB's.

 

I had correspondence from my CB only yesterday. they state that the unannounced audit take place at any time between month 3 and month 12. So, potentially, and I do doubt that this would happen, you could end up with a BRC audit every 3 months! Worse case scenario is 20 audits in 5 years! Best case scenario is 6 audits in 5 years! Are we going to pay for these audits on a pro rata basis (ie if anniversary date is January, your audited in October, you ay 9/12 of the cost because you've already actually paid for a year? and does the new anniversary date become the audit date?)

 

Again, our CB could offer very little advice if the BRC clashed with a another audit. Who takes precedence? In my eyes, a customer, who has arranged to come on site for a trial or visit takes precedence, so I will turn the CB away. I submit my calendar to the CB with the blanked out days, but I'm over the 15, so tough! Mind you the CB did say they took precedence over a TESCO PIU! Holidays DO NOT qualify as a blocked out date, so I'll have to take all of my leave in the first 3 months after a BRC audit. Because I was over the 15 days, they wanted to know what the "customer visits" entailed. Some of this stuff is highly confidential and I'm not about to share it with anyone!

 

Don't forget, the unannounced BRC (for ASDA) is in addition to their CIP audit, Foreign Body Audit & a HACCP audit (if you're unlucky enough to have these too)

 

It would be interesting to see what other companies think. We are going to give serious consideration in what we do going forward. We might even drop BRC and just do ISO22K.

 

It's a pity that the consumer didn't realise that we could probably produce food cheaper if we didn't have to cost in the cost of audits when developing a new product.

 

Caz x



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#4 Charles Chew

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 11:02 AM

Caz - Thank you. You have certainly raised several pertinent issues. I believe there is indeed a visible migration from BRC to FSSC22000 over the last year or so.

 

George - it would be interesting to note where this apparent requirement will lead us to. I view this negatively from a Supplier's angle and I don't see this gaining traction.


Cheers,
Charles Chew
www.naturalmajor.com

#5 George @ Safefood 360°

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 11:49 AM

Caz & Charles

 

I think much of what you have highlighted is a very real account of the impact of this movement towards unannounced audits. I believe the question where it will take us is very open. However we know from recent history that retailers will enforce what is ultimately in their best interests, their brand value etc and they have the power to do so. I'm not being critical of them, I am merely pointing out the reality. 

 

Caz has hit on the practical impacts on suppliers and this has been my experience as an auditors also. Caz is also correct that this will force up the cost of compliance and certification for the supplier - something which most food companies do not clearly budget for in costing. Will the consumer ultimately pay? Difficult to say. Retailers generally will maintain downward price pressure at retail level, meaning the supplier will absorb the cost. This may well see the extinction of some smaller suppliers or specific products.

 

My own feeling is that unannounced is where it is going. The credibility of the schemes is also at stake. It is a growth market (3rd certification) and this market will be protected along with brands. Suppliers will have to adjust and react and this means reducing the cost of compliance through management process changes and investment in efficiency tools e.g. software.  






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