How to Handle a Food Regulatory Inspection

How to Handle a Food Regulatory Inspection

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the regulatory agency in charge of the safety of the U.S. food supply. Under the Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA has significantly expanded its authority when it comes to proactively attempting to prevent food contamination incidents, from farm to food prep facilities to restaurants.

Therefore, you should proactively understand the rights and responsibilities you have during an inspection. The FDA, or a local state inspector, has the right to come into your business at any time and without notice. Being aware of what you should or should not say or do can save you lots of trouble during and after an inspection.

Here are a few tips for handling a food regulatory inspection:

Before the inspection

You should always be as prepared as possible for an inspection. While there are times, especially during the busiest work hours, that your area may not be as clean as normal, you should always be aware of where the problems are and be prepared to fix them quickly.

The best way to be prepared is to hold mock inspections so that everyone involved knows the procedures should an inspector arrive.

When the inspector arrives

Make sure the inspector uses your main public entrance or reception area. The inspector should not arrive at the back door and expect to gain entrance to your work area.

Before the inspection begins, you should ask to see the inspector’s credentials and have them state the reason for their visit. Reasons can include a routine inspection or to investigate a complaint. While it is not advisable, you do have the right to refuse an inspection.

During the inspection

During the inspection, it is essential that you accompany the inspector at all times. Never let the inspector wander through your facility on their own. Employees should not speak to the inspector unless they are authorized by you to do so.

Inspector questions should always be answered truthfully, without guessing. If you don’t know, say you don’t know or that you will find out. Also, don’t volunteer any information.

In addition, the inspector may take photos or recordings during the inspection. You can object to this or take your own at the same time.

After the inspection

At the end of the inspection, you will receive a form stating that the inspection occurred and showing any citations. If you disagree, bring it up with the inspector immediately and attempt to solve any issues.

The inspector will submit a final, in-depth report after the inspection. All issues must be addressed in writing to the FDA. You can also request that trade secrets be removed from the final report.

These are a few ways to be prepared for an unannounced inspection by the FDA. Maintaining cleanliness and sanitation at all times is the key to a successful inspection. Making sure that you and your designated representatives understand what you should do or not do during an inspection can also help you through the process.

Contact a Johnston expert today!

See what solutions we can customize for you.

Call us at 800-800-7123 or visit our Contact page.