“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.
As a producer of food products, you understand that food quality and safety data is both critical and sensitive. But what some manufacturers often lose sight of is the fact that it’s also owned by YOU. This may sound patently obvious, but it is virtually certain that you as an organization are not EMPOWERED to access, aggregate, analyze and act on YOUR data! Try this thought experiment: how long would it take to get an answer to the question “what is my incidence rate of positives trended against 1st-clear sanitation performance for the past 9 business days?” I guarantee you you’ll find your data is walled off from easy access while surrounded by a digital moat. There are historical reasons that organizations such as 3rd party service labs provide your data in very specific formats (Certificates of Analysis etc…): it is both necessary for some aspects of your business to have these forms of output, and they are legally required if for example a lab is ISO certified. All that is well and good, but does NOT solve for the problem of enabling you to mine ALL of your own data in order to take action to improve the safety and quality of your product! Whether you rely on an internal lab team or outsource to various other testing partners, it’s necessary to maintain control over all of your food safety and quality data. Ask yourself: Do you have comprehensive access to your historical data? And if your company changed lab service partners, would you still be able to access and leverage it? It’s time to educate yourself on the importance of breaking down silos, digital and analog. Here’s what you need to know.
Use this checklist to help avoid Tens of Millions in damage costs, severe brand equity loss, and unexpected food audits.
Food safety concerns have existed for as long as humans have been eating and drinking, but only in the last few decades has the industry seen such a monumental transformation of efforts to protect the public from unsafe products. In fact, the standardized quality control method known today as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) began as a mission-critical NASA initiative in the 1960s to ensure the safety of prepackaged foods for spaceflight. 50 years later, innovative technology continues to advance food safety strategies and facilitate regulatory compliance across the supply chain. Protecting consumers from the plethora of biological, chemical and physical hazards that can lead to foodborne illness and other health issues is an ever-evolving undertaking.
The peanut butter debacle of 2007 is said to have cost parent company ConAgra $78 million to deal with $1 billion worth of potentially Salmonella-contaminated product. And while many significant strides have been made in the last decade to prevent occurrences of this magnitude, companies in the food manufacturing business still experience brand-damaging recalls -- some with resounding impacts on both the company and the industry at large.
Managing non-conformances is a complex effort, made even more challenging and complex with new food safety requirements. Executing corrective actions well and in a timely manner though is critical to both being compliant with regulations as well as continuously improving your operations to reduce brand risk. As FSMA continues to roll out and necessitate a proactive focus on contamination prevention, one of your top concerns must be to implement preventive controls that meet government provisions. You can’t expect to accomplish this objective without arming your team with the right tools for the job; tools that give them the right data at the right time!
The very thought of a food safety audit is enough to make a plant manager shudder. It’s often a dreaded ordeal requiring lots of time and effort. Plus, there’s the stress of making sure your audit successfully reflects all the work you’ve done to prevent contamination in the plant. But there’s no getting around audits, and with new FSMA rules being implemented, you should prepare to deal with them much more frequently. But here’s the silver lining -- you CAN significantly reduce the hours and headaches that go into preparing for an audit and increase your success rate. But, to do this seamlessly, you must take advantage of a well-matched software tool. Here are three prime reasons why food safety software can make your audit process significantly easier.