Auditing literally means Inspection, but it may involve inspection of the whole manufacturing process from raw material through preparation to dispatch and services and can be very detailed and thorough. An audit is “A systematic examination to determine whether what is actually happening complies with documented procedures” (FAO). A food safety audit means “A systematic and functionally independent examination of food safety measures, adopted by manufacturing units to determine whether such measures and related results meet with objectives of food safety and the claims made in that behalf” (FSSAI). Audits are a crucial component of maintaining food safety standards and certification, by providing transparency and assurance that standards are being maintained. This transparency increases the collaborative capacity of stakeholders across the supply chain and enhances safety, efficiency, and continual improvement within individual organizations.
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• In accordance with draft Food Safety and Standards (Food Safety Auditing) Regulation, 2017 FSSAI has now provisionally recognized fifteen food safety auditing agencies to create a pool of auditing agencies that could be used for audit of any food business. Following are the main purpose of an Audit :
• To identify areas of potential improvement in the company’s food safety processes and systems.
• To identify the areas of business that present deficiencies in order to implement measures for their correction.
TYPES OF AUDIT
1. First Party Audit: It is a self-assessment that offers internal verification about procedures and management.
2. Second Party Audit: It is also called a propriety audit. Its purpose is to assess the performance of suppliers or contractors.
3. Third-Party Audit: This type of audit is conducted by independent auditors. It is the external audit supposed to be conducted by FSSAI recognized auditing agencies.
Accreditation is the process of validation and verification by a globally accredited body like ISO. “Authoritative process by which a certification body is assessed in its skills and capacities by the accreditation body to carry out certification in compliance with the relevant guidelines” (UNCTAD). It is a process of certification of an organization manufacturing food.
• It state that the organization provides the food that meets the standards of quality and safety as per the accredited body.
• It also gives verification and validation of the food product from the consumer’s point of view.
• As a process it reflects the fact that in achieving recognition the company is committed to self-study and external review for meeting the standards.
THE EXPORT (QUALITY CONTROL AND INSPECTION) ACT
The Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963 was enacted by the Department of Commerce, Government of India and came into force on 1st January 1964. The Act came into existence for the sound development of the export trade of India through quality control and inspection and the matters connected therewith. The Act was framed to promote and regulate the export trade through Export Inspection Council (EIC) which in turn controls Export Inspection Agency (EIA) headquartered in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
Under this act, exportable commodities have to be notified for compulsory pre-shipment inspection, but in some circumstances, it is exempted from the inspection. The powers under the Act are as follows:
• Subject commodities to quality control or inspection or both, prior to export.
• Specify the type of quality control or inspection to be applied to the notified commodity.
• Establish, adopt or recognize standard specifications for a notified commodity.
• Prohibit export of notified commodity unless it satisfies the conditions relating to quality control or inspection.
Thus once a commodity is notified under the Act it cannot be exported unless it is accompanied by a certificate of export worthiness issued by an inspection agency recognized under the Act. Currently, the Agri-food products are under compulsory inspection and certification as follows:
• Marine products
• Mil products
• Egg products
• Poultry meat products
• Meat and meat products
• Gelatin, Ossein, and Crushed bones
• Animal casings
• Peanut and peanut products
• Feed Additives and pre-mixtures.
Trading partners rely on the Inspection and Certification system of EIC, which is recognized by importing countries like European Union, Russian Federation, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan. Preferential Certificates of origin are the important financial instrument to promote trade as they follow originating products to enter the market of importing country either by paying No Duty or paying Duty. Recently the government has exempted agriculture and food products, fruit products, and fish and fishery products from compulsory pre-shipment inspection; provided that the exporter has a firm letter from the overseas buyer stating that the overseas buyer does not require pre-shipment inspection from official Indian inspection agencies.
Read More Topics of the Same Course – ABT 5211 – Food Safety and Standards