Auditor and Mentor Requirements

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Education, Training and Experience Requirements

The following minimum standards of education, training and experience must be met by all Auditors and Mentors:

  • Degree or equivalent in food science/technology or an appropriate related scientific or technological discipline (e.g. Food science and technology; or degrees of which a major element is food, plus another subject: e.g. nutrition, product development, chemistry, microbiology, marketing, management, consumer studies, biotechnology; or science, technology and engineering subjects: e.g. nutrition, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, engineering, statistics, agriculture, environmental sciences, plus modular degrees which combine these subjects). Candidates without a degree equivalent but with substantial industry experience (>15 years) can qualify for the register.
  • Ability to demonstrate knowledge and experience in the understanding and application of HACCP Principles (Codex 2003). This will generally be met by attendance on a HACCP Training course which meets, as a minimum, the UK HACCP Training Standard, Introductory Level (RIPH) and successful completion of an examination. However relevant experience of applying and/or teaching HACCP may be considered on an exceptional basis.
  • Possession of a minimum of 5 years post-graduate experience related to the food industry, involving work in QA or technical functions within manufacture, retailing, agriculture, assessment or enforcement.
  • Ability to demonstrate appropriate training and experience for the fields of operation in which they are applying to be registered.
  • Be a member of the Institute of Food Science & Technology
Auditor Competences

Auditor Competence requirements are well defined in ISO 19011:2002 Guidelines for quality and/or environmental management systems auditing. These consider the following areas (See ISO 19011:2002 for full competency listing) :

Personal Attributes

To enable the Auditor to act fairly, ethically, with due professional care and independence, and using an evidence based approach.

Knowledge and Skills

Generic Knowledge and Skills for Auditors

  • Ability to apply audit principles, procedures and techniques to different audits, ensuring that each audit is conducted in a consistent and systematic manner.
  • Ability to understand the scope of the audit and apply audit criteria as required by the Standard.
  • Organisational skills to allow comprehension of the auditee organisation and operating procedures.
  • Understanding of applicable laws, regulations and industry guidelines applicable to auditee organisation.

Generic Knowledge and Skills for Lead Auditors

All competencies listed above. Knowledge and skills in audit leadership to facilitate the efficient and effective conduct of the audit.

Education, work experience, auditor training and audit experience

Education and training should have been sufficient to gain the knowledge and skills listed above.  In addition, successful completion of a Lead Auditor (or equivalent) course and examination is required.

Specific Sector Experience

For quality and food safety audits, the Auditor must have relevant experience of best practice quality and food safety requirements in the food industry. This will include detailed knowledge of the audit criteria/Standard to be used.

The IFST register will evaluate documentary evidence provided by candidates demonstrating that they meet the above auditor knowledge, skills, education and training, and sector experience requirements. The IFST register will not assess the performance of Auditors in the field. This will be the responsibility of audit scheme owners, e.g. SALSA, BRC, and/or accreditation/certification bodies.

Specific Education, Training and Experience requirements for Auditors are listed below. Auditors will be registered for fields of operation appropriate to their education, training and experience. Auditors will be able to apply for an extension to their field of operation scope on provision of suitable evidence.

All Registered Auditors will be required to implement continuing professional development (CPD) plans and submit CPD records for assessment annually - see ongoing registration.

Mentor requirements

Education, training and experience

Mentors will be registered on the basis of their existing qualifications, training and experience in the fields of operation in which they are applying to be registered.

Specific Education, Training and Experience requirements for Mentors are listed below. Mentors will be registered for fields of operation appropriate to their education, training and experience. Mentors will be able to apply for an extension to their field of operation scope on provision of suitable evidence.

Continuing Professional Development

All Registered Auditors & Mentors will be required to implement continuing professional development (CPD) plans and submit CPD records for assessment annually - see ongoing registration.