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Avoid Crafting an Ineffective Food Safety Audit Checklist

using zip checklist to avoid crafting an ineffective food safety audit checklist
Daphne Blake

By Daphne Blake

Food Safety Audit Checklist

How Auditors and Auditing Can Improve with Modern Food Safety Audit Checklist Software

With a successful food safety audit checklist, no stone is left unturned, and every process is accounted for. Rather than using outdated printed paper on a clipboard, use a tool that effortlessly keeps everyone up-to-date on your audits.

Food Safety and beverage processing audits are a vital part of making sure your business is up to standards and can operate safely, both for customers and the business. Whether you’re a business concerned with your food safety and using this guide to set up an internal audit properly, or a third-party audit company using this guide to improve and streamline your key processes, Zip Checklist can ensure that you have the tools necessary to accurately assess the quality and standards of any food organization. Whether you are carrying out the audits to help choose suppliers, improving current systems, or ensuring consistent company quality, Zip Checklist is the correct choice to guarantee that your checklists have the proper components for success.

The Difference A Checklist Can Make

food safety audit

Any food safety audit, is, in its barest form, a checklist. Examples of these checklists are plentiful online, but you shouldn’t just copy and paste an example checklist. Instead, work through standards, such as the FSSC 22000, SQF, and BRC, to find the essential, detailed facts of what makes a food business safe for customers and investors. General categories you will likely end up having include document control, water systems, pest management, corrective and preventative actions, vendors, sanitation, employee training, and chemical handling to name a few. Another important thing to keep in mind is that there are steps that need to be completed before an auditor even gets to the scene of the inspection. There should also be, included in your food safety audit, a section to review the documentation and records of the organization’s program.

While designing and performing these food safety audits, it is important for your examiner to have a concept of both the big picture and the details. The details are what matter, the specifications of the exact technicalities that make your business safe. However, it is important to keep the big picture in mind to see how systems work together and what your examiner still has yet to audit. Zip Checklist allows your examiner to stay focused on using their trained eye and brain to focus on details, while the checklist software keeps track of what has been and what has yet to be completed. A checklist can also help keep track of product inventory, as discussed here


food safety audit 2

The Zip Checklist app also allows you to use nested checklists. These sub-lists help keep your food safety audit checklist organized. The main page can be cleaned with only large categories, while the checklist inside the category goes into the specifics of what needs to be checked and assured for quality operation. With this feature, you can keep your tasks as precise as possible to allow as little room for error or lack of diligence. Giving your examiners specific instructions on what needs to be checked and working, takes forgetfulness out of the equation and makes sure there is a consistently upheld standard for your audits. Outlining a consistent, detailed food safety audit checklist promises the best quality among the systems you check.

Given that your food safety audit is, at heart, a checklist, the management, assignment, and automation are of utmost importance in this matter. Through the Zip Checklist app, you can easily transfer and automate your checklist to recur. This means that, through any device, your examiners can have the full checklist they need for a food safety audit and check them off as they go, keeping track of progress. Additionally, with the management features in Zip Checklist, you can remotely monitor and assess your examiners’ performance through the food safety audit checklist. If need be, you can use the comments section of any task to make suggestions or inquiries, while they can also use the comments section to get your attention on issues or clarifications they require. This keeps lines of communication open and understandings clear.


A food safety audit is a large exercise in accountability for your system, which means your auditing system must show similar accountability to be genuine. This can be done easily through Zip Checklist, as you are able to check what your auditors in training do against your already trained, trusted auditors. Have your auditor in training shadow your trusted auditor, making notes and asking questions the same way your trained auditor does, and marking those down on separate versions of your food safety audit checklist in the Zip Checklist app. From there, as a manager, you can compare the speeds of the progress of your auditor in training against your trusted auditor through the progress percentages in the dashboard of the Zip Checklist app. You can also contrast the notes and assessment they made for a debriefing when you get back.

Of course, the most important quality in your food safety auditors is the ability to handle things when they are not up to standard, and how they decide their corrective actions. The Zip Checklist app has specific features for these processes that save your auditors’ descriptions of the problem needing follow-up, and their corrective action for a full year. This ensures that, if something goes wrong, there is an audit trail to lead to the source and what was done by your employees to fix it. This rigorous training and accountability are necessary, as you need to make sure your auditors are confident in the specifics of their job, as mistakes can be costly. In 2016, ConAgra had their facility audited by a fresh produce expert but later had to recall bacteria-infested peanut butter due to the auditor not knowing the types of bacteria the peanut butter would support. This recall cost ConAgra more than $100 million. Examples like this underline why it is so important to make sure these food safety audits, whether internally or externally motivated, are done correctly.

Food safety audits are serious, intensive processes that need to go through every detail thoroughly. The Zip Checklist app enables this through its comprehensive management and checklist capabilities. With Zip Checklist, you can keep track of each audit’s progress remotely, communicate with your auditors quickly and easily, follow records of corrective actions, and keep your auditors accountable and rigorously trained.

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