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Hand-written incident reports vs electronic

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 10:37 PM

Just a quick question – we currently hand-write our incident reports.  We would like to move to just typing them into word documents instead.  Is that acceptable or is the best/standard practice to use hand-written or some type of app that provides a full audit trail?


We are audited to a Whole Foods GMP standard only, but may work toward SQF in coming years.



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Posted 07 December 2021 - 10:42 PM

It depends on the application of reporting, sometimes if electronic can turn into a tick the box exercise and a lazy copy and paste job which doesn't benefit anyone. However, there are a lot of benefits of electronic systems and some which are relatively inexpensive. 


There's a one I've used before and you can create templates which make it less tick the box, as evidence has to be provided before moving to anther section. They did used to offer a free month trial.  


I-Auditor if you search for it


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Posted 07 December 2021 - 10:45 PM

either hand written or electronic should be acceptable for sqf.   


im not sure what you mean by incident.   I like having a non-conformity log that everyone has access to on sharepoint.   



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Posted 08 December 2021 - 11:18 AM

I don't think it matters - agree with above as long as you aren't loosing the authenticity if you move to typing. I have non-conformances electronic on a log for both production and internal audits for ease of overview / trending / sharing but things like a recall are handwritten, not necessarily for any particular reason. 


Also agree I-Auditor is handy - I trialled it before and personally it didn't work for the site I was at but I believe it could be a really useful tool.

Edited by FoodSafetyAPP, 08 December 2021 - 11:19 AM.


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Posted 08 December 2021 - 03:07 PM

I have used a variety over the years, all under SQF Certification. Some were hand written, that I then scanned and saved as PDF. Some were completed using word documents and now currently using electronic forms. At some point we were using all three different styles as we were transitioning. An auditor has never questioned any of the methods that we used. 



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Posted 06 January 2022 - 03:07 PM

Either way is fine.

Kind regards,
Glenn Oster

GOC GROUP | SQF Consultant & EES/MedBed Operator - 772.646.4115



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Posted 07 January 2022 - 01:31 PM

I think hand-written reports and electronic records are basically equivalent for recording the occurrence of an incident, but after that point electronic systems are superior. 


If you use a digital system, corrective/preventative actions can be monitored more effectively and it's easier for management to have visibility over implementation of responsive actions.

Also, an electronic system can do a good an d efficient job of categorising and trending incidents - whereas a more manual process is likely to result in a lot of administration by comparison.


Just from a compliance point of view, you can use any approach you choose - provided you satisfy all of the obligations of the standard you're working to.

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