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Can SQF auditors ask to look inside locked rooms and cupboards?

locked doors sqf audit

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#1 crabcake5

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 02:41 PM

During our last SQF audit we had our chemical shed locked and the auditor said that they cannot open anything that is locked or ask us to open it. is that accurate? 



#2 QAGB

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 02:54 PM

That doesn't sound right. Our auditors always made us open our locked chemical areas so they could inspect. How else can an auditor tell whether or not you have food-grade chemicals stored away from non-food grade chemicals inside an area that is supposed to be locked?

 

If that is the case, they shouldn't even be able to get into your production area...since that should be locked to visitors. Since they can't ask you to open the door, they should just stay outside.  :giggle:



#3 The Food Scientist

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 03:02 PM

I guess the auditor is testing you here.. It means that only authorized employees can open it. They just wanted to see what your answer was! (My assumption).


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#4 Setanta

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 03:02 PM

That doesn't sound---complete. Auditors need to have access, whether you are the one to let them in or not.


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#5 QAGB

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 03:35 PM

I guess the auditor is testing you here.. It means that only authorized employees can open it. They just wanted to see what your answer was! (My assumption).

 

 

If the auditor was just testing, why would they say that they can't ask the auditees to open the door? The expectation here would be that an auditor or person accompanying the authorized person could request to have the door unlocked to view the contents of the chemical area. It's up to the authorized person to grant or deny entry to that area. Maybe it is the wording that is throwing me off here, but I don't understand why the auditor would say that.



#6 The Food Scientist

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 04:01 PM

If the auditor was just testing, why would they say that they can't ask the auditees to open the door? The expectation here would be that an auditor or person accompanying the authorized person could request to have the door unlocked to view the contents of the chemical area. It's up to the authorized person to grant or deny entry to that area. Maybe it is the wording that is throwing me off here, but I don't understand why the auditor would say that.

 

That sounds very odd to me! Perhaps you should've ask the auditor during the closing meeting? I've assumed because they always say these odd things to test us. I had auditors tell me similar things (can't remember from the top of my head), then at the closing meeting they would go like, you shouldn't have done that, because according to your procedure this this that.


Edited by The Food Scientist, 11 December 2019 - 04:03 PM.

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#7 SQFconsultant

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 06:44 PM

No it is not accurate.

 

As a former SQF Auditor I always told staff just before we began the tour to make sure they had all the keys, because anything locked was going to be opened and INSPECTED and that is what an Auditor does.

 

You need to inform the CB so they can correct the behavior.


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#8 Parkz58

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 03:13 PM

This begs a divergent question, if the OP doesn't mind me tagging along here...

 

What if you have an industry trade secret that you want to keep secret, so you have it in a locked room that NO ONE is allowed to access except the owner of the company?

 

I realize this sounds far-fetched, but it's actually a true story my boss told me.  There was a guy in a very competitive industry who had developed a groundbreaking advancement to a specific production machine, and didn't want anyone else to be able to copy it (patent laws don't stop copycats, FYI).  So, while the rest of his production facility was open to view (assuming you had access to the plant, of course), this one specific machine was locked in a separate room.  No employees allowed - not even maintenance, QA, etc. He apparently even refused access to auditors, because he was worried that they might leak his secrets (or even be undercover spies for his competitors - this was apparently quite the breakthrough machine).

 

What then?  I'm curious what those of you who are auditors would do in a situation like that.



#9 SQFconsultant

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 08:46 PM

As a former Auditor I had this situation a number of times.

 

The best way to handle it was to note right on the audit ACCESS DENIED and then state where the access was denied and by whom.

 

Normally and depending on who the audit was for I'd also contact either the customer directly or the CB.

 

If I remember correctly, there might have been 70 or so of these things come up and the ACCESS could also be to certain guarded documentation, like a chocolate company that would not allow me to review their Food Defense Plan.

 

I found that most times as soon as I wrote access denied on the report that the facility would relent and let me inspect.  In one case the room that was initially denied to me had the "secret recipe" for a certain type of cola. The recipe mix was in a small container with seals and and a lock on it... sitting in the middle of a room with a cracked floor with critters coming up out of the cracks and the foundation walls were cracked and leaking.

 

Once the statement was written on the report and called in I'd just go about completing the audit like I normally would and let the customer or the CB handle the denial - and many times that meant that the facility was told that an inspection of that part of the building would need to be undertaken in order for the company to supply a customer or a CB to grant certification.

 

Years prior I inspected hotels for a franchise company and the franchise had it written into their rules for franchisees that if any area, room, closet, etc was made off-limits during a QA inspection the report automatically got red-lined (this was before we inputted reports on a computer) and the inspector would stop the inspection and walk out the door.  The report was noted as an automatic failure and the hotel was locked out of the reservation system -- boy, those were fun! not.


Warm regards,

 

 

Glenn Oster

Glenn Oster Consulting, LLC

 

 

 

SQF System Development & Implementation Consultants

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What if the Corona Virus is a cover for something else...

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#10 Parkz58

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 09:00 PM

Thanks for your response, SQFconsultant...sounds like the guy in my story isn't the only one out there like that, by a long shot!!

 

The one that floors me the most out of your accounts is the chocolate company that wouldn't let you see their FOOD DEFENSE PLAN???  Seriously??  That is an integral part of the exact reason why you are there in the first place...right???  :roflmao:



#11 Parkz58

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 09:17 PM

FYI, SQFconsultant...I shared your response with my boss, and he wanted me to pose the scenario to you - an auditor comes in, sees whatever "secret" you have, then two months later quits auditing to work for a company that is in competition with you.  Do you think that auditor is just going to forget what he/she saw at your facility?  Once that cat it out of the bag, so to say, you can't undo (or unsee, in this case) what's been done and seen...and legal recourse (if, for example, the auditor signed a non-disclosure statement with the CB he/she worked for) doesn't change that, either.

 

Thoughts?



#12 SQFconsultant

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 10:11 PM

Thanks for your response, SQFconsultant...sounds like the guy in my story isn't the only one out there like that, by a long shot!!

 

The one that floors me the most out of your accounts is the chocolate company that wouldn't let you see their FOOD DEFENSE PLAN???  Seriously??  That is an integral part of the exact reason why you are there in the first place...right???  :roflmao:

 

Well, I did lifetime about 3000 audits of various forms with 70 or so access denies, thus your boss might be in the 1% club, it really is the rarity.

 

I remember the standouts, like the chocolate company, they were funny, knowing that I was coming in to do an audit and that document binder was included on the list of what would be audited they never said anything ahead of time. And then I ask for the Food Defense plan and they tell me I can't see it because their lawyers (in-house - it was rather a large company) said no on that item.  So I pushed a little bit and they told me I could see the binder.. not the contents, just the binder itself - I was almost laughing, but these guys were serious.

 

Then out walks one of the lawyers, a safety supervisor in an orange vest and the red "binder" was in the lawyers hands and he says - you can touch it but you can't open it and I said, look I'm just going to write access denied - no food defense plan.

 

They had no problem with that until the end of the audit when a phone call came in from our client - a big retailer with 5000 stores.

 

The call was from the VP of Quality and came in while we were going over the results of the audit.

 

You should have seen the look on their faces in the room when the VPQ informed them the audit is an automatic failure.

 

They still would not relent until about a month later when I had to go back to the company with the VP of Quality and they let us look at the food defense plan.

 

What a hoot.


Warm regards,

 

 

Glenn Oster

Glenn Oster Consulting, LLC

 

 

 

SQF System Development & Implementation Consultants

Food - Food Packaging - Food Storage/Logistics

SQF, BRC, IFS, FSSC, GlobalGAP, Primus, VACCP, HACCP, TACCP & SEDEX/SMETA Consulting Network

http://glennosterconsulting.wixsite.com/ogfc

+1-800-793-7042 (Earth Wide)

 

Millsboro, DE - Lexington, SC - Star, ID - Wichita, KS - Monroe, NC - Westminster, CA -  Flushing, NY - Manti, UT - Vineyad Haven, MA 

 

 

Keto Foods & Products...

https://bit.ly/31ycMLA

 

 

What if the Corona Virus is a cover for something else...

www.StopCoronaVirus.us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


#13 SQFconsultant

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 10:14 PM

FYI, SQFconsultant...I shared your response with my boss, and he wanted me to pose the scenario to you - an auditor comes in, sees whatever "secret" you have, then two months later quits auditing to work for a company that is in competition with you.  Do you think that auditor is just going to forget what he/she saw at your facility?  Once that cat it out of the bag, so to say, you can't undo (or unsee, in this case) what's been done and seen...and legal recourse (if, for example, the auditor signed a non-disclosure statement with the CB he/she worked for) doesn't change that, either.

 

Thoughts?

 

My thoughts are your boss is paranoid - tell him to take his trade secret and store it in a vault someplace else.  

 

Generally while I remember the standouts, mostly doing 5-7 audits every week week in and week out I forgot everything from one day to another.


Warm regards,

 

 

Glenn Oster

Glenn Oster Consulting, LLC

 

 

 

SQF System Development & Implementation Consultants

Food - Food Packaging - Food Storage/Logistics

SQF, BRC, IFS, FSSC, GlobalGAP, Primus, VACCP, HACCP, TACCP & SEDEX/SMETA Consulting Network

http://glennosterconsulting.wixsite.com/ogfc

+1-800-793-7042 (Earth Wide)

 

Millsboro, DE - Lexington, SC - Star, ID - Wichita, KS - Monroe, NC - Westminster, CA -  Flushing, NY - Manti, UT - Vineyad Haven, MA 

 

 

Keto Foods & Products...

https://bit.ly/31ycMLA

 

 

What if the Corona Virus is a cover for something else...

www.StopCoronaVirus.us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






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