Foodborne illness is a serious issue – 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die every year from food-related sickness. Anything that can be done to reduce human suffering can and should be prioritized, which is why it's incredibly important for foodservice organizations of all sizes to have an effective food safety strategy in place.
Here are the top 5 reasons to consider a robust food safety plan before losing your budget for the upcoming year.
First and foremost, the role of a food safety strategy is to ensure healthy customers. As consumers, we should not have to worry about the safety of the food we consume. It is reasonable for us to assume that organizations are doing everything in their power to ensure the safety of their patrons. Food safety management systems have come a long way – there is no excuse to continue reacting to food safety incidents. The damage has already been done by the time that excursions are detected in a reactive strategy, highlighting the importance of getting ahead of foodborne illness. Proactive management of foodborne illness is essential in preventing sickness and can contribute to the ultimate good: saving a life.
The next, most obvious reason to adopt sufficient food safety practices is the legal requirements outlined by regulatory agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Foodservice organizations who refuse to comply with mandatory requirements for managing food safety risk the closure of their business. These legal requirements are in place to ensure the safety of customers, plain and simple. While these regulations may appear daunting, even overbearing at times, they come from years of research and experience in preventing foodborne illness. Digital food safety can ease compliance management and reduce the burden of meeting these requirements.
Food safety management systems that take advantage of innovations in the IoT space are proven to reduce foodborne illness – an easy sell for those looking to improve food safety. However, digital food safety can also save considerable time and money for increasing employee productivity, easing compliance management, and identifying areas for improvement in any organization’s food safety strategy.
Daily operations, such as open and close checklists, can be centrally managed and updated instantaneously. Digital checklists help to ease this process and do not require the same amount of effort to maintain as compared to paper processes. Many businesses depend on manual methods of managing employee time and are sacrificing the benefits of digital checklists, such as increased accountability and simplified workflow management.
As stated earlier, there are multiple regulatory agencies with different requirements for foodservice organizations. For example, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) requires record keeping procedures to demonstrate that the organization has met the critical limits of each critical control point (CCP). Food safety management systems can ease this burden through digital record keeping, and drive efficiency in times of regulatory review leading to time and money saved.
Finally, a robust food safety strategy can help to identify areas for improvement. Through the adoption of a digital solution, businesses can monitor and track food safety efforts. It can be said that you cannot measure what you do not track, which is why its essential for foodservice organizations to closely monitor their efforts. A digital solution can provide insight into what went wrong and why – paper solutions are simply too cumbersome to effectively analyze at scale.
Foodborne illness can have serious ramifications. From bad reviews to bankruptcy to loss of life, a lapse in food safety can cost millions of dollars, and the lives of unsuspecting victims. Preventing foodborne illness needs to be taken seriously, as a single incident can forever tarnish a brand for consumers. Because of this, businesses have substantial reason to pursue a food safety management system that can identify problems before they occur. The age of reviews and social media has led to more transparency and honesty but has also put additional pressure on organizations to maintain levels of quality. This is beneficial to the consumer but does cause more heartache for businesses who receive poor reviews.
Finally, food safety management systems can help to significantly reduce waste – both in terms of paper and in terms of food products. Many food safety systems today rely on pen and paper, and in some cases, a single organization can require 96 trees per month worth of paper. Modern digital food safety does away with paper and automates manual processes. This is good for the environment and makes analysis far easier. Analyzing a data set on a computer is vastly simpler than analyzing stacks of paper. Additionally, digital food safety can help to reduce food waste through real-time management of temperature performance and equipment analysis. Real-time alerts can notify managers of a failing piece of equipment with time to save the product.
Adopting an effective food safety program is critical to any business’ success. From saving lives to reducing waste, there are many reasons to advocate for a robust digital food safety solution. So don’t delay, an incident could be waiting at your door or on your shelves!
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