What is a Supplier Audit? | Supplier Auditing | Food Safety

Katie Paterson

September 1, 2020

What is a Supplier Audit?

Supplier Audits are an important part of the supplier approval process that manufacturers and retailers conduct when taking on new suppliers. They also allow a customer to continually review their suppliers to ensure they are still up to date with regulations and processes.

A supplier audit covers a wide range of subjects and can sometimes be bespoke to the customer.  The overall aim of a supplier audit is to ensure they are compliant with food regulations and customer standards.

They can either be carried out by the customer’s technical team or more often, by a specialist third party.

What are the different types of Supplier Audits?

The best way to demonstrate due diligence is to visit your suppliers to make sure they are following correct procedures on food safety. This can be done announced or unannounced.

On unannounced audits, the site will have no warning of an inspector coming. Unannounced audits are growing in popularity as they provide greater insight and a more realistic day-to-day look into the development of a site’s food safety culture and their food safety management systems.

Announced supplier audits are still effective and widely used, however, they can lack authenticity as the site has time to prepare for the inspection. For announced audits, the site, and if relevant, certification body, agree on a date for the audit to take place so certain preparations can be made in time for the audit.

Desktop audits can be performed remotely and are usually used to check the supplier’s documentation and certifications, ensuring it’s compliance. For example, checking their ISO certificates to ensure they meet the requirements for standardisation, checking CCJs, Modern Slavery Acts etc. These audits ensure supplier’s are meeting the standards and criteria set out for them.

What are the benefits of carrying out a Supplier Audit?

-  Ensures suppliers are complying and working to the industry standard

-  Improves communication between the manufacturer and supplier

-  Minimises risk by setting safety expectations

-  Reduces disruption in the supply chain by raising potential issues before they become a problem

-  Provides assurance to customers that standards are met

What can NT Assure do for you?

We have a team of trained and experienced auditors who can create a bespoke package for you depending on your audit requirements - we have delivered thousands of supplier audits on behalf of our customers. We can also support suppliers with their BRC or Agent & Brokers audits. Our trained auditors are here to raise and maintain your standards on food safety.

Our technical and regulatory experts can also provide technical support to prepare for your audits (or completely separate) like artwork compliance checks, specification writing/approvals and internal auditing.


If you require more information call us on 01933 272 089 or through our contact form.