Verifying the Corrective Action Effectiveness

When situations arise in our everyday life, we investigate the problem, correct the issue, and naturally we verify the corrections implemented, so in short we “close the loop”.  Why would this be any different in food safety management systems (FSMS)?

Closing the loop and ensuring corrective actions are implemented in a manner which prevents recurrence is a concept which companies consistently have a hard time grasping. Verifying corrective action effectiveness is crucial for continuously improving the FSMS by closing the loop between identifying an issue and completing the actions to truly solve a problem or minimize risk of a recurring problem. So what are some of the best ways to do this?

Collecting qualitative or quantitative data can be useful methods for truly ensuring corrective actions are effective. Qualitative data would be collected and be used most often to gain insight and understanding of an issue to determine if the corrective action was effective whereas quantitative information would be collected as numerical data to measure the effectiveness of corrective actions.  Tools to ensure these effectiveness checks are successful could be trend analysis, unbiased observations, periodical checks over a period of time, and sampling, to name a few. These effectiveness checks should not be designed to be completed once, but over a period of time to minimize the risks of recurrence. With that being said, ensure that targeted completion dates for corrective actions allow sufficient time for data to be collected to ensure effectiveness.

Key things to consider when collecting data to ensure effectiveness of implemented corrective actions is the “Who, What, Where, When, How” concept. How will the effectiveness be measured, how will the data be analyzed, and to whom the results will be communicated, are key concerns.

Verifying corrective action effectiveness checks help improve the overall FSMS, minimize potential risks, and truly close the loop for deviations. Implementing a firm process will allow a site to truly help demonstrate a strong commitment to the FSMS.

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