Reducing ‘audit fatigue’
On a much lighter note, Brown took the opportunity to applaud the industry on the progress made toward reducing so-called “audit fatigue.”
Much work has been done to develop a standardized audit for tomato growers that will meet all of the food-safety demands of tomato growers’ customers in a single audit.
The audit mechanism offers flexibility depending on what a customer wants, “whether you sell to the customer down the street or deal with a major quick-serve customer,” Brown says.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ food inspection service will become certified to be able to provide whatever level of audit buyers require.
Although there still will be fees associated with each customer’s audit report, grower/shippers will be spared the cost of man-hours to participate in numerous audits.
Many people in the audience indicated that they have to undergo two to four audits every year.
“Multiple audits won’t make crops any safer than a good food safety program executed every day on the farm,” Brown says.