Food safety management is not to be taken lightly. Recently, I read an article that states 600 million people worldwide fall ill from contaminated food each year and of that number 420,000 die. This statistic should be an extreme eye opener to the importance of good food safety management.
The article titled, WHO Emphasizes Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases, states the importance of investing in training food producers and suppliers as well as the public. One example is investing in the training of street vendors, as opposed to penalizing them for faulty handling in the event of an adverse event later.
An automated Food Safety Management System (FSMS) is beneficial in ensuring employees are fully trained, enabling an organization to be proactive in keeping risks at bay and providing visibility into the process.
Here’s how you can ensure that your organization is proactive in not just training, but other processes that are critical to ensuring food safety.
Employee Training: Automatic software for employee training reduces the risk of adverse safety events that could happen as the result of insufficient training. It also helps to eliminate the need for manual processes, which greatly reduces the risk of human error. It is important when dealing with food safety to ensure that all employees are heavily trained on their responsibilities. Training helps ensure that everyone is able to perform their job safely in a way that produces consistent and high quality results.
Corrective Action linked to Risk Management: Corrective Action software integrated with Risk Management is an effective combination for identifying and mitigating adverse events. This system will route all events through review, root cause, corrective action taken, and verification stages, and will generate reports automatically, which will provide an effective method for tracking the source and cost of all adverse events. When linked with Risk Management, the most critical events will be identified so they can be taken care of first. That way all events are handled according to criticality, and not the order in which they were received.
Reporting: Data is constantly flowing into the FSMS, making it necessary to ensure a high level of visibility into each piece. Creating visibility into food safety processes is ideal when looking to exhibit change within an organization. A reporting tool is able to take incoming information and sort through it automatically to make sense of it and distribute it to its rightful home. Reporting tools also allow users to create report templates, schedule reports with drill down capabilities at last minute and create reports within minutes. This ultimately enhances visibility in all areas of the organization.
Document Management and Traceability: An FSMS should have a Document Control system in place, which manages the creation, approval, distribution, revision, and archiving of all documentation within the FSMS. Truly automated systems provide a significant level of traceability within the processes that they automate, whether by a well-defined audit trail, revision control, or corrective action histories. Companies are able to draw on this historical data to improve for the future and maintain well-documented processes. Through use of an automated Deviation module, organizations can identify deviations, develop a deviation plan with target completion dates, approve proposed deviations and verify the completion of deviations that are in process. Continuous improvement is a critical part of the success of any organization, so having procedures in place for change management is a key feature in a FSMS. The Change Management system will provide a repository that shows what steps to follow when making changes to both processes and products, and provides a clear definition of how to execute such changes.
An FSMS has many overlying traits that help to make every day business processes easier on the organization, ensuring that food safety compliance is as easy as possible. Automating nuances that are involved in everyday tasks allows for a more efficient and highly trained organization so you can have insight into potential events and manage them proactively while making food safety.