Not Making Room for the Human Element in Food Safety Auditing

Roy Costa has written in Making Room for the Human Element in Food Safety Auditing  regarding audits of the US food industry,

To expect a firm operated by a husband and wife, for example, to document every conversation about food safety or have detailed job descriptions is an unrealistic expectation and adds nothing to the safety of the products produced.

In our zeal to perfect our auditing methods, we can lose sight of reality.

A tiered system is probably not possible given the way our third-party standards are developed, but placing small operations — a major portion of the food industry — in an unfair situation is not acceptable.

The inability of an auditor to deal with human elements in the audit process makes a fair determination of conformance with the standard impossible. Rigid, inflexible rules, when they exist just for the sake of rules, are distasteful to everyone concerned and cheapen the value of our service to the industry.

Readers have added,


This is important. Small farms have always been safe when customers show enough trust. Reading and writing never made anything safe. Only good people can do that and the best way is to trust good people. We do not want any one size fits all regulations placed on small farms, even if it is for writing and reading. Small farms do not poison people – they make them HEALTHY! You always can trust to us small farmers to do what’s best for you as long as we are making profit.

It doesn’t have to be like this. I run a small auditing company that audits other small companies. I do simple HACCP audits with high standards. The presence of a management control system is nice but not necessary. Simple, straightforward audits can be done and done well. Not everyone needs GFSI level audits.

But the ISO system prevents the flexibility to be proportionate.

What matters to the quality cartel is the continued use of unnecessary records to provide audit fodder that supports the misconceived inspection system.  Much of it is not useful.  Which makes it waste.

This entry was posted in Bureaucracy, Cartel, Science and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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