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Audits are not just about ticking boxes, says LRQA

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Management

LRQA champions management system approach
LRQA champions management system approach
Audits are not just about ticking boxes and companies need to show a systematic and preventive approach to ensure food safety, according to LRQA.

Lloyds Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) said they work with top management downwards and help to reduce business risks in areas such as food safety, environment and social responsibility.

LRQA is a subsidiary of Lloyd’s Register Group, and provides business assurance services including certification, validation, verification and training.

Anders Nilsson, lead assessor in food for LRQA, told us that the firm bring knowledge and experience to the different companies they visit, whether it is on the subject of allergen management or microbiological hazards or other aspects.

Avoid home-blindness

He added that LRQA challenges firms to demonstrate a systematic and preventive approach.

“In this challenge, of course we bring with us our knowledge and experience, so that we could ask good questions about things that may be weak in that type of company we visit, it could be about allergen management, it could be about microbial hazards, it could be about other aspects but it’s always up to the company to have a logic approach.

“You could say, having someone come from the outside, you avoid home-blindness.”

Nilsson added that management have to be the leader of quality and take the forefront and show it is an important aspect of food safety.

“To get it to happen of course this has to be communicated in the chain, it has to be allocated time, it has to be allocated resources, you have to have competence so the internal communication within the company to put the system in place and help it develop is very important.”

Any assessment is based on which window the company chooses, such as FSSC 22000, to see if the processes match up with the necessary requirements. 

A way of doing business

Vel Pillay, manager food safety program – Americas, told this publication that a management system is a way of doing business and the whole objective is to bring about continuous improvement.

Pillay explained when a firm wants a management system in place, one of the services LRQA provides is a gap analysis.

“What a gap analysis is, is to identify were the weaknesses are in the system and provide a report to the company in order for them to be able to address and correct those deficiencies that we find in the system.”

He said they identify the firm’s requirements and point out were the deficiencies are but don’t provide the solutions.

“Like for example what we have done with a couple of multinationals is we work in a partnership approach but our function is to assess the process.”

Core competency

He described auditing as the core competency to provide the necessary objective recommendations to the organisation about what needs to be done to improve their process. 

“So the initial phase is, for example, we do gap analysis, let them correct their issues, find out where are the most important issues and sometime provide training for them to be able to ensure their people understand what needs to be done.

“And then we also work in a partnership in terms of assessing their operation and letting them correct and improve their processes as we go along."

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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