When should you book your audit?

It is recommended that you book audits at least four to five months before your certificate expires, or before planning to have your first audit.

For renewal audits, it is recommended that your audit be done within the 60-day audit window. This should align with your harvest or nominated operational period.  The Audit Booking Table below gives you timelines for booking your audit and guidance on your certification cycles.

60-day audit window is the timeframe for businesses to undertake their audits and renew their certification. This needs to be done prior to your certificate expiring.

Re-Cert audit due month reflects the month that your certificate will expire. It is recommended that your audit is scheduled in the 60-days prior to this month, to allow time for any corrective action closures; invoice payments; and for the audit review process to be completed, prior to your certificate expiring. This will ensure tour certificate can then be received and available at the time you need it.

How to book your audit

Contact a Certification Body to book your audit. A list of approved Certification Bodies is available here.

To get a quote and idea of audit cost from multiple Certification Bodies, click here.

If you have any issues with getting an audit scheduled please contact Freshcare for assistance.

Unannounced audits have been introduced by Freshcare to meet Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) version 2020 requirements as follows:

– 1 in 4 renewal audits for Freshcare Food Safety and Quality Standard Edition 4.2 (FSQ4.2) will be unannounced.

– 1 in 3 renewal audits for Freshcare Supply Chain Standard Edition 2 (SCS2) will be unannounced.

– You can book a 60 day period for this renewal unannounced audit to take place.

– You can block out up to 10 days as “non-audit” days that aren’t convenient to running your business.

Audit FAQs

When should I book my audit?

The Audit Booking Table above gives you timelines for booking your audit.

If it is your first audit, you must have evidence of completed Freshcare training when booking.

If it is an audit to renew your certificate, your Certification Body is likely to make contact with you via email to book your audit.

It is your responsibility to ensure you have an audit booked. It is recommended that your audit is done within the 60-day audit window. This should be in your harvest or nominated operational period.

What should I expect when booking my Freshcare audit?

Each Certification Body is an independent business and therefore their processes may differ slightly. We do know there are a few things you will need to provide them with, in order for them to provide you with a quote and audit booking. The following is an example of the audit booking process:

  1. Provide your details to a Certification Body such as; business and contact details, sites and locations, the Freshcare training and Standard you want certification for.
  2. Receive a quote for your audit and proposed date or unannounced format request (applicable to Food Safety Quality + Supply Chain Standard only see information under Unannounced Audits).
  3. Accept quote from Certification Body.
  4. Receive contract for audit from Certification Body.
  5. Sign and return contract for audit to Certification Body.

How do I prepare for my audit?

Being prepared and having your system up to date helps your audit activity run smoothly. There are a few tasks that you may need to undertake in preparation for audits. These include:

  • Ensure you have a trained Freshcare representative on site.
  • Ensure all workers are aware of their responsibilities linked to the Freshcare program you have in place.
  • All workers should have an awareness of who is responsible for management of the Freshcare program and who is nominated as a second in charge if key workers are not available or on site during the audit. 
  • Internal audit has been completed and any outstanding items have been corrected and documented.
  • Traceability exercise, mock recall (where required) and incident management test completed.
  • Records are available and accessible for all monitoring activities undertaken.
  • Ensure Water testing has been completed, where and when required.
  • Ensure all product testing has been completed, where and when required.
  • Heavy Metals testing for Cadmium and Lead, where and when required.

What is an unannounced audit?

An unannounced audit is a re-certification or renewal audit that occurs during your normal nominated audit window.

However, instead of knowing the specific date  the auditor will visit your business, an unannounced audit means you will not know the specific date your auditor will visit.

The unannounced audit will take place during your chosen 60-day audit window.

Note: Businesses are given the opportunity to nominate 10 non-visit days within their unannounced audit period. Non-visit days are times at which the audit cannot be conducted due to non-production or days that the business is not active. For example, every Monday is a no harvest day.

The non-visit days need to be provided to your Certification Body during audit booking.  

What are the benefits of an unannounced audit?

Unannounced audits show an extra level of integrity for businesses. They were introduced to support businesses in adopting an ongoing food safety culture

Unannounced audits deliver improved customer confidence. Buyers seeking evidence of your certification will see this added level of achievement as ‘unannounced audit’ will be recorded on your certificate.

What does this mean for growers and packers seeking certification to Food Safety Quality 4.2?

The unannounced audit rules established for FSQ4.2 require certified participants to undertake 1 in 4 of their re-certification audits in an ‘unannounced audit’ format.

Certification bodies are responsible for managing the audit process and will notify the site at the time of audit booking if their next audit will be unannounced.

What does this mean for supply chain businesses seeking certification to Supply Chain Standard 2?

The unannounced audit rules established for SCS2 require certified participants to undertake 1 in 3 of their re-certification audits in an ‘unannounced audit’ format.

Certification bodies are responsible for managing the audit process and will notify the site at the time of audit booking if their next audit will be unannounced.

What is achieved in having an unannounced audit? What makes it different from scheduled audits?

The intent of an unannounced audit is not for auditors to ‘catch businesses out’. It follows an observation-based approach to site assessments and the audit process

An unannounced audit provides a chance for auditors to see the true business culture as it operates on any given day. A chance to witness and report on how the food safety system has been integrated into the business’ everyday practices.

Can I change my unannounced audit cycle, if there are extenuating or difficult circumstances?

Yes, if you are experiencing special circumstances you can discuss with your certification body for your unannounced audit to be undertaken in a different year.

How will I know if my business has been chosen for an unannounced audit?

When you book your audit your certification body will let you know that your business has an unannounced audit coming up.

Do I get to choose the year I have an unannounced audit?

No, the certification body will choose the year that you have an unannounced audit cycle.

What if my harvest window does not extend over 60 days?

If your harvest window is less than 60 days, you can nominate a shorter unannounced audit with your certification body.