Try our Corrective Action Challenge

Try our Corrective Action Challenge

Dear Food Safety Professional,

We hope life is good and if it’s not turning out to be the way you want it to be, perhaps it’s time to change course, try something new, or just soldier on!

Since we are working with a team of super-motivated facilitators, most of whom are also qualified food safety lead auditors, we constantly find ourselves surprised by the same issues that keep popping up during FSMS certification audits.  Over the past few months, the concept of verification has seemed to be a “theme” of sorts.  This week we’ve decided to focus on a tiny, yet very significant aspect of the FSMS; verification of effective implementation of corrective actions…

Although focussing on root cause analysis is crucial, this alone is not enough.  If you have gone through the effort of employing a cause analysis tool and spent countless hours deciding the most appropriate course of action, surely some effort should go into following through on the implementation and eventually the effectiveness of these actions?

The best way to do this is to ensure that clear responsibilities have been defined for the verification activities.  Very often the verification is a tick exercise without reviewing objective evidence that the actions (1) have been implemented and (2) are effective.  It’s time to move away from the paper exercise of signing and filing papers and start harnessing the benefits of your system to really drive improvement.

Start by making sure that you have evidence that every action has been implemented – don’t just sign off on word of mouth or the promise of a job card; insist on proof!  Allow enough time to verify if the implemented actions are in fact effectively addressing the problem.  Too often we sign-off prematurely and, despite the actions being implemented, the problem persists.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with re-opening an investigation and reviewing the cause analysis and action plans.  If your verification activities cannot confirm that the actions are effective and that the problem has been eliminated, it certainly makes sense to go back and re-investigate.

Don’t take our word for it though!  We are challenging you to take our advice and put it to the test in your own environment.  Select a corrective action investigation and insist on proof that the actions have been implemented.  Take time to review that the implemented actions are delivering the expected results and then only sign-off on the paperwork.  We would love to hear your success stories!

From all of us here at Food Bites