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Food Safety Technology Trends You Need to Know

By: Mike Koeris on August 30th, 2017

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Food Safety Technology Trends You Need to Know

Food Safety Testing  |  Food Safety

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.

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 That’s why food safety technology has become as critical to manufacturers as the ingredients they use to produce goods. Without it, no company is equipped to deliver safe food products, meet stringent government regulations and uphold the kind of positive brand reputation that’s required for business success.

Maintaining the status quo is no longer an option in the food safety arena. As information and technology progress, so must your efforts to integrate these advancements and make every effort to protect the consumer. If your organization is not staying current on the latest movements in food safety technology, your brand is at risk of experiencing financially and reputationally detrimental outcomes.

Here are five of the most important food safety technology trends you need to know.

Automated Monitoring

What used to require excessive time and effort to manage via paper-based methods and cumbersome monitoring strategies is now streamlined through digitization. Inefficient, labor-intensive processes for monitoring food quality and safety are being replaced by automated systems. And with tighter government controls on food safety requirements, this technology is essential to keeping up with the compliance landscape.

Automation through comprehensive software is no longer a luxury, but rather a necessity to protect your brand. Now is the time to ensure that your company is implementing automated preventive controls via a technology solution that delivers advantages such as:

  • Automatic scheduling and monitoring properties
  • Holistic plant visualization through color-coded floorplans
  • Immediate, accurate communication between departments
  • Customized and detailed workflows
  • Robust reporting
  • Functional checklists for effective change management
  • Digital, efficient means of documentation, archival and auditing preparation

Predictive Actions

IoT devices and connected technologies like wireless temperature sensors, video cameras and automated data management systems have forged a path to predictive analytics. Every opportunity for connectivity and communication presents a critical, valuable data point that can be leveraged to implement more proactive measures for food safety.

Under FSMA, food companies are required to “establish and implement a food safety system that includes an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls.” To adopt the necessary preventive measures for monitoring, corrective action and verification, you must be able to harness your collected data to make informed decisions and take effective actions.

From quantitative and qualitative testing data to pathogenic and hygienic results, as well asindicator organisms, allergens, toxins and residues, it’s vital to utilize a dynamic technology solution that can synthesize your information and facilitate predictive actions.

Faster Recall Findings and Notifications

As a result of the industry’s greater focus on prevention and the government’s higher standards for evaluation, food recalls continue to rise in frequency. More advanced contamination identification efforts have led to increased positives in testing samples. And while this is great news for the evolution of food safety, it also necessitates quicker reactions.

Just one poorly managed food recall could irreparably damage your brand. Consumers have been known to change their purchasing and consumption practices, rejecting a product for years after a recall. Therefore, the sooner and more proactively your organization can identify and communicate food safety issues, the more effectively you can avoid jeopardizing your brand.

The latest innovations in food safety testing and software enable companies to both pinpoint recall precursors more quickly and relay alerts and notifications immediately, saving you immeasurably on recalled product and other damage-control efforts. An investment in this kind of technology is an investment in your brand, your consumer base and your success.

Digitally Connected Supply Chain

Consumers want visibility into the handling of their foods, and the government demands transparency into contamination prevention and remediation efforts. Therefore, traceability in your supply chain is paramount. In the case of a recall, it is used to differentiate and isolate safe products from the source of the problem. With a digitally connected supply chain, manufacturers wield the power of traceability to:

  • Improve supply management
  • Market foods with difficult-to-detect attributes
  • Maximize quality control

Digital traceability systems can lessen recall expenses, make distribution systems cheaper and increase the sales of high-value products. But more important than these competitive and financial benefits are the safety improvements gleaned from a digitally connect supply chain.

Traceability is key in decreasing the production and distribution of unsafe or low-quality food products. Being able to record and track every step of your product’s journey from farm to fork is invaluable -- to both your consumers and the well-being of your brand.

Food Packaging Technology

Speaking of transparency and visibility, some of the newest advancements in food safety have to do with technology designed to improve the packaging of foods. For instance, QR codes are giving consumers the ability to scan and link to web pages with detailed information on everything from the field in which their food was harvested to the final stages of packaging and labeling.

Even more impressive, researchers at UC Berkeley and Taiwan's National Chiao Tung University have been using additive manufacturing to make food safer. The development began with the creation of a smart cap that uses electronic circuits and wireless sensors to indicate the freshness of milk.

Once fully developed, the technology will enable customers and employees to scan a label in order to determine whether a food product is fresh based on the readings gathered by the sensor on the food packaging. These types of innovations minimize the risk of human error in food production and make significant strides in the progress of food safety as a whole.

To learn more about an industry-leading food safety technology that can help your company prevent food safety problems and preserve your brand, download your free copy of Sample6 CONTROL: A Risk Management Solution to Protect Your Brand.

 

Are your food safety solutions delivering transparency and insight?

Find out how Sample6 CONTROL facilitates superior visibility into your food safety risks.

Get Your Free Guide