If you receive our newsletter, chances are you’re very familiar with our GMP-based “member audits”. For over 60 years now DFA has provided facility inspections for its members as part of the membership benefits. These inspections are intended to help food processors verify that they not only meet, but exceed, current regulatory requirements put in place by the United States Food & Drug Administration; these audits also help to drive continual improvement in companies’ food safety programs.
Because they are unannounced, [our audits] provide an unrivaled tool to help processors ensure that they are always “audit ready”
The audits are based on the FDA’s food safety requirements in its 21 CFR 110 regulation, with some additional requirements based on best practices in the industry. Because they are unannounced, they provide an unrivaled tool to help processors ensure that they are always “audit ready,” and that they stand in a competitive field as having superior programs. As they are based on the FDA’s current regulation and are also unannounced, we hold a memorandum of understanding with the FDA which entails consideration of our audits when FDA schedules visits to facilities. We commonly receive reports of very favorable comments from our members’ customers who visit their facilities, and have on occasion received compliments from FDA and California Department of Public Health employees, as well as other recognized food safety experts, with regards to our members’ programs. As you can see we’re very proud of the services we provide and wholeheartedly believe that our members have programs worthy of recognition.
Next week on July 28th we will once again get together at our annual Pinnacle Club event to recognize those members who have achieved superior audit scores for their excellent food safety programs. Members with at least one audit above 1800 will receive a Pinnacle Club certificate; those will greater than 1800 for all three periods will also receive a Pinnacle Club plaque. Additionally, we will recognize those members who qualify as Red Seal facilities due to a combination of excellent DFA audit scores and having an approved HACCP or GFSI audit during the year. We will also announce our prestigious Plant of the Year award! If you are a DFA member and have not yet signed up for the 2016 Pinnacle Club, [permalink id=”1995″ text=”you can get more information and register here.”]
A final, but important, consideration with regard to our audits is the impact that the FDA’s new Food Safety Modernization Act regulations will have. Our audits have always been intended to be equivalent to FDA inspections, so that our members can be confident that they are prepared should a State or Federal inspector come to visit. As the regulations have now evolved into a much larger set of requirements, and the first compliance dates are set for this September, we are only two months away from the implementation of fundamental, historical changes to the regulatory requirements for food processors. As you might guess, our audit programs will need to evolve as well to help our customers meet these requirements. Although we don’t have final details to share yet, suffice it to say we will be updating our audits to help members customers meet the new requirements laid out by the FDA’s latest set of regulations. The impact of these changes will be broad in scope, and will influence both our unannounced member audits and the HACCP audits we offer through our Certification Body. Our intent is to offer audits which will allow us to help our customers identify necessary updates to their programs so that they are ready to meet these new regulations, and continue to set the standard for food safety excellence in the food industry. More information on our current audit platforms and food safety programs [permalink id=”1272″ text=”is available here”].