“Risk” is a word that’s used pretty frequently in the world of food safety. For manufacturers, it’s a word of caution, one that often engenders fear. Why? Because the greater your food safety risk, the higher your probability of experiencing production-halting, brand-damaging and even job-defining repercussions.
Food Safety Magazine just released its annual article tallying the previous year’s food-related recalls announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. 2018’s count amounted to 382 food product recalls, including some products that were recalled more than once. From undeclared allergens to bacterial contamination and more, last year saw a seemingly continuous stream of supply chain hazards that resulted in foodborne illness outbreaks, voluntary company recalls and the FDA’s first-ever mandatory food recall. What do these numbers reveal about the efficacy of the industry’s food safety programs? And what risk-prone mistakes might your company be making right now?
Use this checklist to help avoid Tens of Millions in damage costs, severe brand equity loss, and unexpected food audits.
Over the last four decades, food safety has been covered by 30 federal laws and 15 federal agencies. Now these agencies are asking for better funding to protect food safety programs within the U.S. using the latest technology. In a step forward, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has requested more funding in the 2020 budget to employ technologies such as DNA sequencing for food products and increase personnel by the thousands.
When you think about the food safety requirements that manufacturers must meet to stay compliant with government regulations, your thoughts may go directly to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the newest FDA rollouts of prevention-based mandates. You’d certainly be focusing your attention on the right concerns. But if you apply a broader perspective in the arena of FDA, USDA and CFIA regulations, you’ll find that most of the food safety requirements your organization is obligated to fulfill are grounded in the time-tested principles of HACCP. Ultimately, having a food safety program that’s based on the HACCP approach is fundamental to reducing risk, improving food quality and protecting profitability.
As both consumers and the food industry are well-aware, 2018 was a year of national food recalls, which was further compounded by the strain on the FDA during the partial government shutdown. Not only did this lead to consumers becoming more aware of where their produce is being sourced, but it also caused many grocers and food producers to reassess their own supply chain and food safety standards.
As advancing technologies continue to innovate the food safety industry, they enable manufacturers to achieve clearer visibility into critical areas and implement compliant food safety plans that help reduce risk. Every data point you collect presents an opportunity for valuable analytics that support a dynamic approach to contamination and recall prevention. Food safety data and analytics can reveal a great deal of useful information IF you understand how to leverage them effectively.