Monitoring forms are the foundation of your food safety and HACCP audit evidence. When monitoring forms are completed or filled out they become a record. These records then become your core evidence to prove due diligence along with HACCP compliance. There are some key requirements that need to be included on any food safety or HACCP monitoring form. These include:
1. Name of the Monitoring Form
All monitoring forms should have a name. A name that distinguishes the form from any other will help you to better organize your record keeping. (I know this sounds really basic but you would be surprised how many records that I review during GFSI standards audits that don’t have a name). It is also a good idea to include a ‘control date’ on the monitoring form so you know that only the most current form is being used by your staff.
2. Date and Time HACCP Monitoring Forms
The date and time indicates when the monitoring took place. You may be thinking ‘why do I have to include the time as well?’ Without a time recorded how would you prove if a monitoring activity was completed prior to the start of production, every 2 hours or at product change-over. The time is a very important record entry in proving when a monitoring activity was undertaken. It may also be a requirement of your certification standard to include ‘time’ entries on all records (eg. BRC).
Whenever a monitoring form is completed it needs to be signed by the person who undertook or completed to monitoring activity. This means including their name and signature or initial. This helps with identifying the people responsible for the record completion.
4. Management Review
All food safety and HACCP records should be reviewed by a suitable position / person in the business. It is always good to have a fresh set of eyes ensure that the monitoring form has been completed correctly, all relevant information has been recorded and there is no adverse findings recorded that have not had the appropriate corrective action applied. Make sure that your monitoring form includes an area where review verification can be recorded. A common implementation method for review is to include an area in the footer of the monitoring record that captures the name and signature of the person reviewing the record and also the date that the record was reviewed.
The easier it is to fill out a monitoring form the higher the likelihood the form will be completed. If your form is poorly designed, food handlers will find it hard to complete. This then has an effect on the ability for your business to provide completed records during an audit. Key formatting to consider:
- There should be adequate space to record the required information. Make sure that the monitoring form is not cramped. Good spacing contributes to better form completion.
- Text on the monitoring form is a font size that is readable and legible. If you have photocopied forms for use, make sure you can actually read the printed information.
Don’t try and capture too much information on your monitoring form. Whatever information you do need to record, make sure it is relevant. To determine relevance of information ask yourself the following question:
What are we trying achieve by filling out this monitoring form?
Compliance with law? Compliance with a certification standard requirement? To capture critical business information?
If you can’t track relevance back to one of these, you would have to think – why are we even recording this stuff? This is not an activity to do by yourself so include other people from within your food business. Information recorded may be used and analyzed by other sections of your business.
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