Report Synopsis

Do audits really improve microbiological food safety in fresh produce?

Currently researching for Scholarship

Currently audit can be seen a something of a necessary evil within supply chains and is endured to be able to satisfy market entry requirements rather than being seen as a tool that can really add value to the supply chain. 

My project seeks to challenge the status quo by exploring ways that audit could be re-imagined to satisfy assurance and certification requirements whilst adding value by driving continuous improvement and also reducing administrative burden.

As well as exploring how agricultural audit and assurance systems work in other countries, I am also keen to review how other industries use audit or alternative systems to proactively manage risk.  I am particularly interested in reviewing financial, medical and manufacturing processes as well as exploring how trust systems are established within a military context.

The final part of my project will be to review conflicting agendas within audit and assurance.  For example in driving improvements in food safety, growers are encouraged to grow their crops as ‘cleanly’ as possible, however sustainability standards such as those for improving soil health advocate use of manures and mixed farming rotations which directly conflict with food safety standards. 

Given the number of recent food poisoning outbreaks and changes to the industry in North America, my travels will focus on the USA, Canada and Mexico as well as Europe.