How to Improve your Food Safety Management with Risk Categories, Alerts, and Escalations

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Food safety is a serious issue that still affects people on a global scale. Each year, unsafe food causes 600 million foodborne diseases and 420 000 deaths globally (WHO). It is, therefore, no wonder that 60 percent of people worldwide are worried about food safety and that consumed food could harm them within the next two years (Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll)

Food safety transparency – a competitive advantage

Food businesses, from agribusinesses through food and beverage manufacturers to food retailers and hospitality businesses should see food safety management not only as a legal obligation to keep their customers safe but also as a competitive advantage. Food businesses can meet the rising customer demand for transparency and excellent food quality by implementing a comprehensive food safety system that enables full visibility on the food safety processes as well as complete traceability of products and their ingredients.

Mitigation of food safety risks

Transparent risk management is the key element of a successful food safety management system. As a first step in the process of risk mitigation, all potential food safety issues, and the impacts they might have on the business, need to be identified and categorised. The likelihood that these issues have a negative impact is defined as a risk. These can be plotted on a hazard matrix to help you design your plan.

You can download a free template of a food safety risk matrix here.

The evaluation of the risks’ severity is essential to define appropriate alerts, escalations, and corrective actions. For example, not every issue needs to be escalated to supervisors or must result in stopping production to get solved. Categorising each risk into low, medium, and severe risk groups enables businesses to mitigate these appropriately. With the help of this risk rating, businesses can then create reasonable alerts and escalations as part of their food safety management to initiate appropriate corrective actions at the right time.

Digital food safety alerts and escalations

Food safety systems are put in place to mitigate risk related to food safety. However, many food businesses still rely on paper-based checklists and manual recording that complicate compliance processes, overall visibility, and communications between different teams or departments.

With the help of implementing a digitised food safety system that uses automated alerts and escalations to initiate instant corrective actions, food businesses can not only reduce business risks such as costly recalls and improve transparency but also increase operational efficiency.

By digitising all food safety checklists and monitoring tasks, food businesses build a central information hub that provides them with real-time visibility on the status of all food safety processes within their businesses.

Constantly fed with all food safety data, this central system can inform food businesses when non-conformances or other issues occur. The digital food safety system warns relevant persons based on their roles instantly via automatic alerts when either a specific issue that poses a risk has occurred or is about to occur, or when the lacking completion of a process step poses a risk. When processes and products do not meet legal requirements or safety standards, these instant alerts enable food businesses to trigger immediate corrective actions to prevent serious impacts on customer’s health and their business.

Moreover, the digital food safety system can escalate alerts automatically to relevant staff to ensure that the issues are recognised, understood, and managed by all persons that need to be involved to successfully mitigate these risks. Risks can also be escalated automatically to a higher level of the organisation if special intervention is needed.

iMonitor’s food safety and quality software helps food businesses proactively manage their food safety and quality risks via automated alerts and escalations. The system notifies the correct persons at the right time with pre-defined suggestions of corrective actions, saving the business precious time to reduce waste and to protect customers as well as the company’s brand.

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