When it comes to food safety, missing the smallest detail can be a danger to the public health. The problem is that this importance often fails to filter through to effective safety processes. Whether it’s an issue caused by a lack of leadership or a failure to follow, food and drink companies still have a lot of work to do to deliver true food safety.
The UK, for example, is in the process of updating its food labelling legislation. This follows the tragic death of a teenager in 2016 caused by an allergic reaction to a pre-packaged baguette that didn’t feature specific allergen information.
Of course, not every food safety scandal has such severe consequences, but they will all have a major impact on your reputation and ability to build trust with customers. You don’t have to be caught out though. By following these three technological tips, you’ll be able to prevent food safety incidents in the future and avoid the damage caused by scandal.
By following these three technological tips, you will be able to prevent a similar incident in the future and avoid scandal.
Three ways technology can help you improve food safety and hygiene
1. Bring in AI to keep a watchful eye on your business
There’s a good chance we’re going to end up sounding like a broken record, but AI really is going to change the way you look at your business – including your food safety processes.
For starters, how do you monitor employee behaviour in critical areas? Do you watch through your CCTV footage to make sure they’re washing their hands or going to the correct areas to smoke? Of course, you don’t because you don’t have time – but AI systems do. And this is exactly how some companies are implementing the technology; allowing them to gain visibility of their operations (and any issues that need dealing with/retraining).
AI can also be used for a wide array of other tasks – including reliable quality testing, maintaining the right conditions during transit and even self-cleaning equipment to prevent cross contamination. It might not be in widespread use right now but, as soon as companies see what it’s capable of (and how it can improve their operations with minimal resources), it’ll become a mainstream element of managing and maintaining food safety and hygiene.
2. Adopt Management & Mobility to improve accuracy and accountability
It’s 2019, so everything’s done with smartphones and apps now, right? Well, someone needs to tell the majority of the food and drink industry. Remarkably, nine out of ten food companies still use systems based on pen and paper to manage their food safety standards. Not only does this cause extra work (does anyone think re-logging data is a worthwhile use of time and resources?), it also creates a massive risk of inaccurate information – possibly concealing issues with food safety and hygiene.
By introducing Management & Mobility solutions to your business, you can significantly tighten your safety processes and introduce a new level of accountability within your teams. Imagine if, instead of a paper form to fill out, employees running safety checks were required to log the information on a smartphone app, along with corroborating evidence from images. Even better is that this data is automatically uploaded to your system, eliminating inefficiency and improving safety at the same time.
3. Share the right info with digital labels for food packaging
Comprehensive and accurate labelling is of growing importance to food companies. It’s not simply a case of providing a sell-by-date and basic nutritional information. Many consumers need to know exactly what goes into every meal and snack you produce – whether through dietary choice or an allergy that (as we’ve seen) can be a life-or-death issue.
Thankfully, this is another area where technology can provide an effective solution. Using digital or smart labelling, you can make sure your customers and employees have all the information they need – even on the smallest items of packaging.
Employees need not waste time checking individual items for approaching sell-by-dates; they’ll already know where these products are. And customers can be confident they’re getting everything they need to make an informed food choice. Such a simple change could have a major impact on your ability to deliver reliable and effective food safety.
Find digital inspiration at Interclean Amsterdam 2020
Maintaining high standards of food safety and hygiene doesn’t have to be the challenge it is today. By embracing digital technology, you can sleep easy knowing that your processes are accurate, reliable and efficient.
If anything, the challenge will be finding the right solution for your business. Displaying the latest in Management & Mobility and E-cleaning solutions – as well as expert speakers and panels – Interclean Amsterdam will be home to all the exhibitors you need to talk to in the area of food safety and hygiene.
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