The FCS hygiene audit is a combination of microbiological testing of surface swabs, foods, hand swabs, and water/ ice; as well as a food safety risk audit. But, why do we need them and what are the benefits of having a hygiene audit?
These tests are important as they are the scientific proof that your kitchen is clean, your staff are clean, your food is safe to consume, and your water is safe to drink/ use. The only way to prove that your cleanliness and hygiene is to do these tests and prove it.
If problems are detected, then you will also know what the problems are and can take steps to improve before they become a food safety problem, and cause someone food poisoning.
The food safety risk audit is conducted to identify food safety risks within the kitchen. The first step to tackling any problems is to know what the problems are in the first place. If you don’t know what your problems are, you can’t fix them!
The FCS audit not only identifies the risks and problems in a kitchen but also provides viable solutions and corrective action reports to help the kitchen fix the problems and reduce the risks.
The food safety risk/hygiene audit evaluates the kitchen as follows:
- Visual cleanliness – how clean is the kitchen? Is it clean enough to ensure safe food is served?
- Cleaning Procedures – how is the kitchen being cleaned? Are correct chemicals and procedures being used to kill germs and ensure safe food?
- Food Safety Practices – what is happening in the kitchen to make sure that the food being served is safe to eat?
- Documentation – what documents are being kept to prove that standards are being maintained?
- Facilities and maintenance – is the physical condition of the kitchen and equipment in a suitable state to ensure that safe food can be served to the guest?
The FCS audit is designed to identify risks and problems in the kitchens and help provide solutions.
This ultimately leads to a well-run kitchen that not only reduces risks and problems and improves food safety, but also reduces costs and improves efficiencies. This will ultimately lead to a more profitable and sustainable business. So not only is there a benefit to hygiene or food safety in an audit, but also to your bottom line.
Compliance to food law
R638 is the legal requirement for running a food business in South Africa. The FCS Hygiene audit is based on R638, and thus by complying with the FCS audit, one is also complying with the law. Non-compliance to the R638 can result in food businesses being shut down and incurring associated losses. Complying with the law is a major benefit of having a hygiene audit.
The CPA is another piece of legislation designed to protect consumers in South Africa. Its’ basic premise is that if there is a consumer complaint against a company, the consumer does not need to prove the company negligent or guilty, The Company must prove due diligence, and if it cannot, then it may be guilty.
In other words, each business must prove that it has measures in place to ensure the consumers’ safety.
The biggest risk in serving food to the public is the risk of food poisoning. The kitchen must thus be able to prove that it has programs in place to ensure the safety of the food being served. The FCS audit and the systems it requires to be put into place will help to prove due diligence and ensure the safety of the food being served.
What is the benefit of having a hygiene audit done?
The FCS food safety audit will ensure that the kitchen has scientific proof that the kitchen is clean and the food is safe to consume, through the microbiological testing as part of the audit.
The FCS food safety audit will help to identify risks and problems in the kitchen, and in so doing enable the kitchen to run as safely and efficiently as possible, thereby reducing costs and improving profits.
The FCS food safety audit will help the kitchen comply with the legal requirements of R638, thereby complying with the law and proving due diligence in terms of the Consumer Protection Act.
Food Consulting Services is a private South African-owned Food Testing Laboratory and Food Safety Consultancy, that tests water and food to ensure compliance with South African National Standards. We also perform hygiene survey audits to the hospitality and food manufacturing industry. If you’d like to learn more about Food Consulting Services, visit our website or feel free to enquire with us. We look forward to hearing from you and becoming your food safety partners. Get in touch with us for more information.