A simple dictionary definition says a lot about the value in auditing your food safety practices:
Audit: A methodical examination or review of a condition or situation; with the intent to verify [syn: scrutinize, inspect]
Source: WordNet® 2.0, ©2003 Princeton University
Auditing of an operation's hand hygiene system has been hampered by lack of standards and measurement tools. Handwashing is often not subject to the rigors of a HACCP system because the metrics of clean hands are lacking. We believe the number one cause of cross-contamination in the kitchen must be a part of your HACCP system. Active Managerial Control principles and common sense support this view.
Process control technology often drifts and is regularly and efficiently corrected in the auditing process. When handwashing behaviors slip, the corrective action has been complex, generally inefficient and often ineffective. The outcomes of poor hand hygiene are well documented, often on the front pages of our newspapers.
Repetitive kitchen activity can lead to boredom and slips in behavior. The worker becomes mentally detached, resulting in a slipping of standards. A gap develops between the written procedure and the employee's action.
Internal audits are a useful component in any Quality Assurance operation and often identify the gaps between the written specification and the recent practice.
Third party audits have the added advantage of impartiality, free from the perpetual business pressures for productivity.