Quality Progress - September 2017 - 19

and within each three-year period thereafter.
Besides that, there is no "window" definition
for the unannounced audit to take place, and
the certification body may choose which of
the surveillance audits will be unannounced.
Although there is no timeframe defined for the
unannounced audit, it is mostly expected to be
close to the due date (like the other schemes).
Otherwise, it would reduce significantly the
time of the certification cycle and increase the
cost. Keep in mind-audits must be conducted
at least annually to ensure that recertification is
granted before the certificate expires.
FSSC 22000 version four introduced the most
demanding unannounced protocol of the four
schemes-not only because it is mandatory
(such as SQF, described later), but also because
the organization has no way to know the year
or period of time when an auditor can knock on
the door.
In SQF, like FSSC 2000, at least one of the
recertification audits must be unannounced in
each three-year cycle. What's different is that
"the unannounced audit year shall be determined between the supplier and the certification
body," and within a 60-day window from the
initial certification audit anniversary.

Unannounced audits expansion

The unannounced audit train seems to have
departed, and it's unlikely to make a stop
anytime soon. The tendency to introduce unannounced audits as a method to better assess
how organizations comply with standards now
actually goes beyond the food industry sector.
Following a recommendation from European
Union Commission, for example, many countries
since 2014 have been enforcing the introduction
of unannounced audits in the medical device
field. A more recent example is CanadaGap-a
food safety program for producers and brokers
of fruits and vegetables-that introduced an
unannounced audit program on April 1, 2017.
The main question is, " How far will unannounced audits expand?" One thing is certain: The
speed and evolution of this transformational paradigm in the food sector will be mostly conditioned,
similar to the initial implementation of food safety
standards brought on by big retailers' pressure.
Another main driver could be if more official

TA B L E   2

Major unannounced audit characteristics
for each food safety scheme
Mandatory

Window
(relative to due date)

Non-audit
days (days)

Certificate

No

Last 9 months
(typically last 4
months)

Yes (15)

Added + to the
grade (AA to D)

BRC option 2 No

Part 1: 2 to 6 months
Part 2: 28 days

Yes (10)

Added + to the
grade (AA to D)

IFS

No

16 weeks prior to
2 weeks after

Yes (10)

Added
"Unannounced"

FSSC 22000

Yes

Not defined

Yes
(not defined)

N/A

SQF

Yes

30 days prior to
30 days after

Yes
(not defined)

N/A

BRC option 1

BRC = British Retail Consortium
FSSC = Food Safety System Certification
IFS = International Featured Standards
SQF = Safe Quality Food

authorities follow the Canadian example and start considering the results
of certified external audits. If unannounced certified audits become the
common practice and official authorities give them credit (for instance,
reducing the amount of controls to the companies that join such programs), it could be an additional incentive to implement unannounced
audits.
REFERENCE AND NOTES
1. Online Etymology Dictionary, "Audit," www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=audit.
2. Codex Alimentarius refers to a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of
practice adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). The commission is
the central part of the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/World Health
Organization (WHO) Food Standards Program and was established by FAO and
WHO to protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade. For more
information, visit www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/en.
3. The Consumer Goods Forum and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), "GFSI
Benchmarking Requirements: GFSI Guidance Document Version 7.1," http://mailchi.
mp/theconsumergoodsforum/news-release-version-71-of-gfsis-benchmarkingrequirements-furthering-harmonisation.
4. British Retail Consortium, Global Standard Food Safety - Issue 7 (BRC Global
Standards).

Nuno M.F. Soares is a food product engineer in
Portugal. He holds a doctorate in biological engineering
from the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal. Soares
is coauthor of Food Safety in the Seafood Industry:
A Practical Guide for ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000
Implementation (Wiley-Blackwell, March 2016).

qualityprogress.com ❘ September 2017

QP 19


http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=audit http://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/en http://mailchi.mp/theconsumergoodsforum/news-release-version-71-of-gfsis-benchmarking-requirements-furthering-harmonisation http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - September 2017

Seen and Heard
Progress Report
Mr. Pareto Head
Career Coach
Expert Answers
Field Notes
Data Disruption
The Deal With Big Data
Better Intelligence
A Study in Measurement
Innovation Imperative
Statistics Spotlight
Standard Issues
ASQ's 2017 Quality Resource Guide
Marketplace
Footnotes
Back to Basics
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Intro
Quality Progress - September 2017 - cover1
Quality Progress - September 2017 - cover2
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 1
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 2
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 3
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 4
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 5
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Seen and Heard
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 7
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Progress Report
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 9
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Mr. Pareto Head
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 11
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Career Coach
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 13
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 14
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Expert Answers
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Field Notes
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 17
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 18
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 19
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Data Disruption
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 21
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 22
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 23
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 24
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 25
Quality Progress - September 2017 - The Deal With Big Data
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 27
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 28
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 29
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 30
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 31
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 32
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 33
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Better Intelligence
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 35
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 36
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 37
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 38
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 39
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 40
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 41
Quality Progress - September 2017 - A Study in Measurement
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 43
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 44
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 45
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 46
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 47
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Innovation Imperative
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 49
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 50
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Statistics Spotlight
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 52
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 53
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Standard Issues
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 55
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 56
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 57
Quality Progress - September 2017 - ASQ's 2017 Quality Resource Guide
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 59
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 60
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 61
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 62
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 63
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 64
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 65
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 66
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 67
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Marketplace
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 69
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Footnotes
Quality Progress - September 2017 - 71
Quality Progress - September 2017 - Back to Basics
Quality Progress - September 2017 - cover3
Quality Progress - September 2017 - cover4
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