How to Save Money on Food Safety Certification Audits

Featuring Katija Morley of NSF International
Global leader in certification for standards such as CanadaGAP and BRC

Expert Interview

Key Learnings

Budgeting for a Food Safety Audit

Most food safety certification audits range from $1,000 to $10,000.
  • The cost depends on the complexity of the company and their food safety standard
  • The day rate is a fixed, predictable cost that makes up roughly half of the total audit cost
Roughly half of an audit’s cost can be controlled by the company being certified.
  • Overtime, corrective actions, and other follow-up often account for about 50% of audit costs
  • Those costs can be controlled with management systems that enhance preparation and organization
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“If they’re using paper… it can take a lot of work… which is costing them time and money.”

- Katija Morley

Technical Scheme Lead, NSF International

The Top Three Ways Audits Go Over Budget

1.Disorganized Paperwork
  • It can often take too long to find paper records during an audit, causing overtime billing
  • Paper records can often have illegible or incomplete sections, causing corrective action billing
  • Paper records may have been missed, causing corrective action billing
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“We do find often that something comes up, and the producer either is not available or they can’t find things on the day of the audit. That makes it difficult to get the audit done within the allotted time.”

- Katija Morley

Technical Scheme Lead, NSF International

2.Corrective Actions

All corrective action resolution is billed on top of the agreed day rate. Budgets can be broken when discussion is required to clarify these issues:

  • Corrective action paperwork that is disconnected from the original non-conformance
  • Images that are disconnected from the corrective action paperwork
  • Illegible handwriting or scanning for corrective action paperwork
  • Document review and communication done by email or text
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“Say for example, there’s a corrective action. Getting pages scanned and sent to the auditor, then sending an image in a way that we can see – all that takes extra time, which then turns into costs for the producer.”

Katija Morley

Technical Scheme Lead, NSF International

3.Advanced Requirements
  • Missing supplier approvals
  • Expired supplier documentation
  • Incomplete or incorrect mock recall exercises
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“One of the biggest challenges we see is with supplier approval programs… it can be a huge amount of information and detail to keep track of. And in a paper system, it is extremely difficult.”

Katija Morley

Technical Scheme Lead, NSF International

Cost Control

Five Digital Solutions to Reduce Audit Costs

1.Non-Conformance Management

Limit and detect deviations, then streamline documentation to reduce corrective action billing.

  • Schedule and assign compliance tasks, and get alerts that prevent missed records
  • Create required fields in records to automatically prevent incomplete submissions
  • Create rules in records to automatically flag deviations as they happen
  • Directly link corrective actions to records with non-conformances
  • Upload images directly into corrective action records
  • Directly share records for remote review
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“Food safety software helps producers organize exactly what they need to send, and make sure that there is a corrective action linked to each requirement that is non-conforming.”

Katija Morley

Technical Scheme Lead, NSF International

2.Audit Organization

Instantly search, sort, or summarize any record to prevent overtime billing.

  • Automatically sort record submissions into customizable folders
  • Find records faster by searching for any data they contain
  • Summarize data from historic record submissions using custom reports
  • Export any report as a formatted spreadsheet in one click

3.Version Control

Streamline change history, versioning, and verification to prevent corrective action billing.

  • Build a time-stamped version history with every change to policy documents
  • Build a time-stamped version history with every change to record templates
  • Link a policy to one or many record templates
  • Track who schedules, submits, and verifies records — and when

4.Supplier Management

Optimize applications, approvals, and documentation to prevent corrective action billing.

  • Share application templates with embedded rules to ensure the required data is gathered
  • Set rules that automatically grade supplier risk and grant pass-fail outcomes
  • Set expiry dates on supplier documents and create corresponding task alerts
  • Export the approved supplier list as a formatted spreadsheet in one click

5.Mock Recall

Search and connect historic records to expedite traceability and prevent overtime billing.

  • Quickly find any event from any process record, by searching for any related data
  • View the full original record and any related records in the process history
  • Complete a mock recall record in split screen while viewing the original record
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“It’s so hard to keep track of things, and file things effectively, and stay on top of it. Automated software that can help with that is just priceless.”

Katija Morley

Technical Scheme Lead, NSF International


Kevin Davies

Kevin Davies

Provision Analytics

Katija Morley

Katija Morley

NSF International

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