Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) notified that from 2021 unannounced audits will be mandatory for all certification standards, including, IFS, BRCGS and FSSC (which already launched it).
GFSI intends that all certified companies consider the requirements of food safety and quality standards in their day to day. In this way, certified companies adopt a food safety culture and are prepared to be audited at any time, increasing the confidence of their work team, systems and procedures.
In previous versions it was possible to do unannounced audits. However, the new version requires at least 1 unannounced audit in 3-year cycles.
As of February 2021, unannounced audits will begin to be implemented in companies certified with Food and Packaging standards.
BRCGS will notify the company if the next audit will be announced or unannounced within 3 months of the last audit.
The unannounced audit will take place during the 4 months prior to the due date of the audit. These cannot take place after the expiration date unless there are exceptional circumstances.
For justifiable reasons, companies can block up to a maximum of 10 days and those that have a certification level C and D have a maximum of 5 days (excluding holidays). The dates to be blocked must be notified at least 4 weeks in advance, and, in addition, the certifying entity may challenge the postponement reason if it is not considered appropriate.
As of January 2021. In general, they are done in recertification audits, but they can also be done in initial audits.
In companies that are certified by IFS Food V.7, the implementation of unannounced audits will be mandatory as of July 1, 2021.
In this case, the unannounced audit will be carried out without prior notification and a period of 4 months before the due date, or 2 weeks after this date.
Companies can block up to a maximum of 10 days for justifiable reasons and must notify it 4 weeks before the start of the evaluation time for unannounced audits. The certification standards can reject the reason.
For companies that manufacture seasonal products, the expected production dates must be notified to the certification system (without applying the time interval mentioned above). Consequently, these companies cannot block dates.
Points which can be encouraged in a company:
RepaQ has extensive experience in this area. We are the only official BRC Packaging consultants in Spain. We can advise you to adapt your company to these changes and pass successfully the next unannounced audit. Contact us!