On behalf of my fellow Alchemists and consumers in every corner of the world, we extend a big thank you to the hard-working food safety professionals around the world in celebration of today – the world’s first ever annual Food Safety Day.
The Food Safety Summit celebrated its 20th anniversary this year in Chicago, with a focus on food safety in the supply chain. From growers all the way to retailers, a common thread across the “chain” was the importance of employee engagement at all levels to ensure food safety.
We saw a real revolution underway at this year’s GFSI’s Global Food Safety Conference in Tokyo. Recent innovations in data and technology are making it possible for food companies to create more effective methods of advancing food safety. Likewise, customers are using technology to their advantage. They’re no longer passive in their purchases, and have become more empowered to make informed buying decisions and influence others.
Imagine three frontline workers: Jack, Mary, and Joe. It’s Jack's first week on the job. He goes through a day of intense onboarding training that includes everything from bathroom locations, to HR policies, to safety training. He is overwhelmed and really doesn't have all the knowledge or confidence he needs, and so he is uninformed. If a food safety decision comes up, he doesn’t know the right decision. He needs more training, experience and coaching to become a food safety expert for his job responsibilities.
More and more food companies are making their training and learning systems a priority these days, and rightly so. After all, your frontline food workers are your biggest asset for keeping people and products safe. But are you evaluating your training to assess its true effectiveness? How do you know your training efforts and costs are paying off?
Food production operations generally devote an entire shift plus fully dedicated teams to painstakingly clean and sanitize their plants. It’s a critical element of each company’s food safety system. Cleaning and sanitation crews must know how to disassemble complex processing equipment, which cleaning solutions to apply, and how to apply them effectively.
Topics: Food Safety
In this excerpt from their 2016 Alchemy Conference presentation, three food safety experts—Doug Edmonson, Food Safety & Technology Consultant and Principal Owner at Edmonson & Associates Consulting, LeAnn Chuboff, Senior Technical Manager at SQFI, and Laura Dunn Nelson, VP Food Safety & Global Alliances at Alchemy—discuss the importance of communicating your food safety plan to employees and the need for refresher training.
Alchemy headed to the British Retail Consortium’s Food Safety Americas conference April 4-5 in Orlando to network and learn more about the ongoing challenges and emerging opportunities in the fight for food safety. The conference agenda was packed with excellent presentations as usual. Here are some of the highlights:
Food processing companies go to great lengths to clean and sanitize their facilities frequently. Many plants devote an entire shift with dedicated sanitation crews to accomplish this important task. Cleaning and sanitation crews must know how to dismantle equipment, which chemicals to apply, and when and how to apply those chemicals effectively—all within a specified schedule of frequency of cleaning and sanitation. So, what could go wrong with this routine task?
Food safety culture has been a popular phrase lately. Most would agree that it’s an important concept, but how do we actually build one and strengthen it? A company’s food safety culture is determined in large part by the strength of its food safety program – one can’t prosper without the other. The critical cog between these two are people – their ability to consistently perform the necessary behaviors to execute a successful food safety program.
Topics: Food Safety
By design, training courses should be created to focus on critical learning objectives that are foundational across the broad food industry to reduce a plant’s risks. Typically, many of these courses are needed for compliance to GFSI schemes such as SQF, BRC, IFS, FSSC 22,000; regulatory requirements including those from USDA-FSIS, FDA, and OSHA; and EPA and NLRB requirements. Specific courses can be created to achieve a variety of goals, such as compliance to internal standards, proficiency in job tasks, increased productivity, general awareness and communication, culture-building, etc., so score achievements in these areas are obviously discretionary.
Need a new year’s resolution that will pay huge dividends throughout the year? Now is the perfect time to take a hard look at the results of your operations in 2015 to identify areas for improvement. Where were your successes and failures in safety, product, and people? What pictures does your data paint in the areas of quality, yield, and productivity?
Topics: Food Safety