All food businesses operating under a food control plan or national programme are required to be verified. The purpose of a verification is to establish if a food business is making and selling food that is safe and suitable for human consumption and to guide the operator on a process of continuous improvement around food safety.
Verification involves a check of your business premises (all areas where food is made, sold and stored) and to find out if you are operating in the manner required by your food control plan (FCP) or national programme (NP). This includes viewing any records that are required to be kept and asking questions to find out if you and your staff have a good understanding of the requirements of your FCP or NP.
At the end of your verification you will be advised of the overall outcome which will either be acceptable or unacceptable and any items that need to be corrected will be discussed. A written report confirming the verification outcome and any non-conforming and non-complying outcomes (corrective actions) will be forwarded, together with an invoice for the cost of the verification.
- Verification Topic Outcomes (link to PDF on MPI site)
Ensuring you and all your staff have been trained in all the topics of the FCP or NP that relate to your food business operation is a fundamental part of a successful verification and that each person has a training record.
Food businesses operating under a food control plan are generally verified once every 12 months, however the frequency can be increased to every 9, 6 or even 3 months if the previous verification outcome(s) was found to be unacceptable. This obviously results in additional costs for the food business operator.
On the other hand, businesses that are found to be performing and are fully meeting their requirements on the last two consecutive verifications can be verified less frequently - every 18 months.
Food businesses operating under a national programme are verified less frequently in recognition that they are making and selling medium to low risk food items.
- National programme level 3 - verified at least every 2 years
- National programme level 2 - verified at least every 3 years
- National programme level 1 - verified only at the start (or if something goes wrong)