I have been working in the food safety industry for over 35 years and I have always heard colleagues, friends, and even customers use the terms “inspector” and “inspection” and “auditor” and “auditing” interchangeably, just as if they were synonymous. But in essence, these two roles and functions are far different, and therefore, it is important you understand the value and scope of each.
Some of the confusion may lie in the fact that both services, inspection, and auditing, are delivered by food safety professionals. However, their respective focus, scope of work, and responsibilities are completely different.
Let’s start with the basics. An inspection is a thorough physical review of a food facility to assess what is happening at a specific moment in time. Inspections are conducted by a food safety professional who is tasked with evaluating the management system of a food or beverage company and will identify positive or negative conditions. While performing an inspection, these inspectors will review your documented processes and facilities. You must be ready to open all the doors, answer questions, climb ladders to review roofs and silos, and get on your knees to look under your equipment, just to name a few examples of what will happen.
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