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What steps do I take to become a food safety auditor and what certifications are most recognised around the world to get trained in?

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 10:50 PM

Hi all,  I am a Quality Assurance Manager working in the food industry for the last 5.5 years full time and about 7.5 years in total. I am looking to go out on my own as a food safety auditor.


As I am most experienced in BRC, I was aiming to go for BRC lead auditor training plus, BRC is recognised in Canada and other countries worldwide if I decided I wanted to travel?


I'm wondering what certification would be best to learn if I did want to travel to the Americas or Canada? Also, if I do the training, how do I go about doing my practise audits? Would I have to leave my current job to fit them in and do them through a certification body?


I'm just a bit unclear of the timeline and how it works out when you are going for qualification.


I understand I would need to do the training for example on the BRC website and then I need a number of audits to qualify myself?


Would a certification body take me on as an unqualified auditor and let me do the practise audits through them?


I'm looking to get into this as soon as possible or at least get the ball rolling on my first steps. I would appreciate advice from you guys who might already be in the industry doing this already! 



Edited by Charles.C, 07 January 2021 - 03:12 AM.


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Posted 07 January 2021 - 12:31 PM

Good luck. In the USA - SQF certification is very popular.


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Posted 13 January 2021 - 03:00 PM

Most of the GFSI benchmarked programs have very similar requirements, that makes the basics easier. in some cases, like the UK one program clearly dominates. It varies by country - go onto the program websites to get the comparable numbers if you want to see. 


First, make sure you have an accepted HACCP certificate. If you don't, you should have it for your exiting job...


Second, pull together your technical experience log, and your audit log. If you audit your suppliers against a program, build a log. it's up to the certification body who may eventually hire you to assess; make sure all potentially relevant experience is documented. All of the programs have to justify which product sector categories the auditor has justifiable competency in, the ore and wider the experience, the more valuable you are as an auditor. in reality it's easier to be a category specialist against multiple standards than it is to be a single standard auditor against a wide variety of categories. Note some of the programs have exams and formal assessments of category knowledge, others simply go on time spent. 


The good thing, is that all of the GFSI benchmarked programs recognize a common "lead auditor" qualification. All offer the (GFSI mandated) 5 day lead auditor, and a separate 3 day auditor course. If you take the lead auditor training in one, you only need the auditor training to qualify for the others. 


All of this can be completed prior to connecting with a certification body. It wouldn't hurt to contact some now, they know where auditor needs are, and could give you the best advice on what and where they would typically look to hire. 


As for audit experience, that has to come after training in the specific standard, and has to be formally performed under an accredited certification body's program. Definitely contact a number of them and see who might be willing to work with you in development. 


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Posted 13 January 2021 - 06:31 PM

I will suggest first, check if you meet the SQF Auditor criteria at


Clause 2.2.


I believe BRG may have similar document (?).


Good luck!



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Posted 14 January 2021 - 07:02 PM

As an Auditor, I started out with SQF and then added BRC and FSSC.


If you plan on your location + FRUSA I would go for BRC first and then add on SQF for FRUSA and bring in FSSC as well.


There is very little growth for IFS - some for Primus in the FRUSA and we are seeing  more and more Global Gap need for Auditors.


You will find SQF and BRC to be easily managed with no undo standard carryover to mess you up - this can be problem if  you have FSSC or another ISO based one in the mix.


You will need lead auditor training, HACCP and I would suggest looking at the various Food Sector Categories (FSC) and then going about learning HACCP for the ones that you want to pursue.


You want to be well rounded in as many FSC's as possible and to get the maximum number of assignments/$$$$. I have seen way too many Auditors start out with few FSC's only to not get consistant work - and that does not make a good paycheck.

All the Best,


All Rights Reserved,

Without Prejudice,

Glenn Oster.

Glenn Oster Consulting, LLC -

SQF System Development | Internal Auditor Training | eConsultant

Martha's Vineyard Island, MA - Restored Republic





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Posted 14 January 2021 - 07:50 PM

HI EJ2020,


Any more thoughts ?

Kind Regards,



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