Food safety, traceability and sustainability blog

virtual-audits

COVID-19

Conducting and Responding to Virtual Audits for Safe, Sanitary Operations


Keep your locations and supply chain partners compliant with health and safety practices by deploying virtual audits. Learn how FoodLogiQ customers are employing digital inspections in our E-Book on coronavirus risk mitigation and response.

As the New Normal begins to unfurl and businesses start to re-open on a national and international basis, tensions, paired with levels of attention, are high. The literal and metaphorical opening of doors has inspired some hope within the industry, simultaneously fostering concern for what the future holds. Undoubtedly, recent events have underlined the significance of risk mitigation strategies and their role as key components of strong overarching food safety plans.

The strategies that food brands have created, re-evaluated and strengthened during this time are being actively employed, tested and revised to ensure business continuity, and employee and consumer health. Much emphasis is placed on the strength and efficacy of sanitization plans, measures and transparency, in particular.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen regulatory guidance grow and evolve, as evidenced by the FDA’s recent release of their food safety checklist and accompanying infographic, Best Practices for Re-Opening Retail Food Establishments During the COVID-19 Pandemic. This is coupled with additional information provided by OSHA in its recent publication, Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.

To help curtail the spread of the coronavirus and uphold consumer trust, brands throughout the food industry have reviewed, reassessed and significantly increased their cleaning and sanitization measures. Upholding thorough food and facility safety measures has, and continues to be, crucial, and businesses are employing a variety of methods to ensure that their staff and customers are safe. Much of this is being done through the documentation and tracking of heightened cleaning procedures, standards and inspections.

Within FoodLogiQ Connect, our customers have used the platform to create, deploy and review environmental checks and checklists to maintain clean, sanitary facilities, healthy employees and safe products. Many have used the Incidents feature, specifically, while others have opted to deploy audit and assessment functionality to track sanitization measures on a location- and supplier-specific basis.

Through the FoodLogiQ Connect platform, users can track, share and review inspection and checklist results to ensure that protocol is consistently being followed. The same applies to additional use cases, such as performing employee screenings, and tracking and responding to COVID-19 cases within an organization. 

In parallel, as a result of the coronavirus and associated travel restrictions, on-site audits have largely ceased, instead shifting to a virtual process. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) shared that it would consider and grant some certificate extensions for organizations lacking the option for on-site audits based on risk assessments. Even the FDA recently announced its request for importers to send records required under the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals (FSVP) rule electronically, or through other swift means, as the agency moves to conducting inspections remotely. 

In response to these adjustments, as well as to issue their own audits to their facilities and supply chain partners, FoodLogiQ customers have also leveraged Connect to complete, distribute and perform virtual audits. Brands are able to quickly, easily provide third party auditors and regulatory agencies with relevant documentation on their products, locations and suppliers, as well as detail the preventive and reactive measures they have taken to safeguard against COVID-19-induced disruption.

 


As mentioned above, businesses can issue supplier audits and self-assessments to review safety measures and ensure compliance during this time, issuing corrective actions when necessary. This is in addition to inspecting facilities and store locations to guarantee that guidance surrounding proper sanitation and social distancing measures is being followed. And finally, this virtual audit and assessment functionality is also useful for key internal processes, such as monitoring employee health, tracking coronavirus cases and logging PPE usage. 

The ability to conduct virtual audits from anywhere, as well as to share documentation digitally, is a powerful way to maintain and demonstrate compliance, and as we adapt to the New Normal, the likelihood of a continued increase in virtual audits is high.Learn more about how FoodLogiQ customers are building operational resilience and prioritizing risk mitigation in the face of supply chain disruption in our latest E-Book. In addition, register for our upcoming live demo, Strengthening Your Supplier Relationships in the New Normal, to gain an understanding of how to fortify these critical relationships to ensure your business is ready for what’s to come.

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Posted by Kirstin Meyerhoeffer on May 21, 2020 5:24:41 PM