Preparing Testing and Sanitation Data for Food Safety Audits… We Need a New Way

July 09, 2023

Recent conversations with several food and beverage producers have revealed an increase in audit frequency — some reporting that they are either preparing for or hosting multiple customer and certification audits each month. The disruption and resource drain are significant, as the traditional audit experience is heavily weighted toward document management, retrieval, and manual spreadsheet preparation.

We’ve all been there, digging through binders and searching through spreadsheets while the auditor impatiently drafts their report in the conference room.

The “new way” of doing things promises a vastly different approach — a digital one — where a portion of your audit prep is always on.

The Old Way

To understand the impact that digitalization can bring, it’s important to first understand the detriment of the “old way” of doing things:

  • Organizations manually collect and process diagnostic testing — Environmental Monitoring Program and Product Sampling data — to verify their sanitation effectiveness.
  • The test results are collected manually — often via a PDF attached to an email, or worse, a printout of a Certificate of Analysis.
  • The data from these documents is then stored for future use — including retrieval during an audit.
  • Sometimes, the printouts are stored in three-ring binders in a “records room.”
  • Sometimes, the data is entered into a spreadsheet for manual creation of reports.
  • The spreadsheet data is then, sometimes, built into pivot tables.
  • From there, reports are created weekly or monthly and used by upper management to make decisions.

Does this process sound familiar?

Breaking down the old way into its component steps reveals that there are many points of human touch required to collect, combine, archive, and retrieve records required for audits. This is not only laborious, but it also injects several opportunities for human error to enter the equation. Ultimately, preparing for audits should not add risk to your operations.

The New Way

In a digitally transformed world, the process looks more like this:

  • Testing and sanitation workflows are scheduled and conducted via a pre-programmed, policy-driven digital engine.
  • Information about testing data flows back and forth to and from the lab(s) via digital connection, ensuring accuracy and timeliness.
  • Lab diagnostic results are ingested into a digital platform that automatically conducts pre-programmed analysis of the data.
  • Sanitation workflows, incidents, and outcomes are recorded in the same digital platform, enabling ease-of-access and reporting.
  • Management and audit reports are updated and available in an “always-on” environment that can be accessed anywhere via cloud-based interface.

Streamline your audits with Neogen Analytics. To learn how we can prepare you for your next audit, sign up for a specialized demo today.


Category: Food Safety, Consumer Goods, Dietary Supplements, Food & Beverage, Pharmaceutical & Biotech, Microbiology, Pathogens, Environmental Monitoring