Back in 2015 AusIndustry and Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) were contracted by the Australian Food and Grocery Council to undertake a project to look at auditing and auditors within the food industry, with a focus on gaps for businesses and costs.
Challenges to the industry were identified, including;
- Auditor availability,particularly with competencies across all food sectors
- Auditing timeframes are being increased so compliance frequencies are being impacted
- Costs of audits
- Audit compliance
- Food Safety Auditor age is increasing and therefore retirements are increasing which is resulting in a loss of numbers, knowledge, experience and skill
- Increased workload on auditors due to decreased numbers, which is causing stress and potential health issues.
- Auditor skills and knowledge has to be constantly updated due to new standards or changes in current standards
- Auditing is not seen as a clear career choice but rather happening after other positions
- COVID has created a need for virtual audits and the technology and skills for this need to be learnt and used by auditors, as well as being revised as changes come through.
- There has been little work on developing a clear pathway for the development of auditors
Based on these identified challenges, FIAL is working with stakeholders across the food industry to develop a program to address them. The program will include specific actions for;
- Developing a recognised career path for auditors with the industry and universities
- Encouraging younger people from the industry to pursue food auditing
- Supporting auditors with developing and maintaining technical and other skills
For more information contact Fiona Fleming at the AIFST – firstname.lastname@example.org