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.
Use this checklist to help avoid Tens of Millions in damage costs, severe brand equity loss, and unexpected food audits.
Sanitation of the manufacturing plant is a pivotal contributor to contamination prevention, overall food safety and risk management, which is why no food safety effort is successful without effective communication with this department. But in many cases, sanitation tasks are outsourced to a third party, causing significant gaps in communication. When this happens, visibility suffers, assumptions are made, documentation responsibilities fall through the cracks and the entire organization is at risk.
News headlines featuring popular food brands illustrate the reputational damages and profitability losses that companies can experience as a result of food safety issues in the manufacturing process. The truth is many corporate leaders don’t have the necessary visibility into what’s happening at the plant level to rectify food safety mistakes before they become public health concerns.
Maybe you’ve been looking at food safety all wrong. It’s not just a compliance issue. It’s not a siloed compartment of your company. It’s not a list of boxes to check off. On the contrary, food safety is a critical brand protection function and therefore a driver of business profitability. Therefore, the more powerful your solutions to ensure food safety, the more your company stands to gain in terms of ROI.
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!