Protein processing may face more challenges than any other food sector. Meat and poultry account for the largest segment of U.S. agriculture, according to NAMI. With more pressures on the meat industry, it can feel like a juggling act keeping up with competing interests – animal welfare, dangerous micro-organisms, sustainability, and safety – while still meeting production goals. While it may present a challenge, it’s not impossible.
According to the Global Food Safety Initiative’s (GFSI)’s new guidance document, a strong food safety culture depends on five key dimensions. Our recent webinar covers these dimension in depth and gives strategies on how to align your food culture to GFSI’s goals. Below industry experts Laura Nelson of Alchemy, Dr. Lone Jespersen of Cultivate, and Andrew Clarke of Subway Sandwiches answers some of your additional questions regarding GFSI and food safety culture.
Food companies, take note of an important deadline: September 17th is the final date for all facilities to meet PCQI requirements.
As a refresher, FSMA’s Final Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food requires every food facility to have competent Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals (PCQIs) write or perform reanalysis on their Food Safety Plan. While the PCQI requirement isn’t exactly “new,” (the bill was signed into law in 2015 and rollouts have been happening for the past two years, according to company size), the upcoming September date is the final deadline for all businesses to comply, including small businesses with fewer than 500 full-time employees.
Topics: Alchemy Academy
Are you ready for BRC Issue 8? The new BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 8 is here! The final Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 8 was published August 1st. All GFSI standards are required to be updated at least every three years for the benchmarking process. These updates provide the GFSI Program Owners the opportunity to continually improve their standards and meet updated benchmarking requirements.
Topics: Alchemy Academy
The National Safety Council's Campbell Award recognizes leading companies in safety that share the NSC’s mission and vision of eliminating all preventable death in our lifetime. We believe safety starts with every individual, every work team, and every organization — and cascades from there into homes, communities, the road, and the workplace.
In the past, employee training mostly took place during onboarding. New hires got showered with information they were expected to retain well enough to apply correctly on the floor. Not surprisingly, this “spray and pray” method has proven less effective with time, as today’s learners experience the world visually and digitally, with one topic rapidly moving to the next.
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.
Not everyone in the food industry works in communications. However, it's important and useful that everybody in your company has a clear understanding of all roles during a crisis — because crisis situations are not easy. Stress levels are high, and things are moving quickly, so the more clarity that we can bring in advance of a crisis, the better.
The key to high production and efficiency is automation. But did you know automation can also be used to optimize training in manufacturing? Many companies have seen success automating their training programs, but that doesn’t mean “set it and forget it.” Rather, using automation for training can enable continuous learning, where important safety and knowledge concepts get reinforced every shift, every day, to every worker, for a greater impact.
September is my favorite month in Austin. I know what you are thinking: I must be crazy because it can get a little warm! And you are right… September is HOT! But for me it’s not because of the weather. It’s because of the Alchemy Engage conference. I’ve been fortunate to help coordinate this event since 2008, and let me tell you, we are going to make our 10th anniversary extra special.
Topics: Alchemy Engage
Creating a strong culture of safety requires continual effort beyond onboarding. Several leading companies still rely on a “one and done” method of training, where the new hire receives a barrage of information during orientation, yet is expected to retain and correctly apply that information on the floor. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t always work. Just as college students are advised not to cram the night before tests, studies show people are more likely to retain information when they’re fed knowledge in short spurts over a longer period of time. Instead of showering new hires with information, training should be delivered in a slow drip. A continuous learning environment consistently leads to the best results.
Topics: Workplace Safety
The food industry has seen significant fallout amid recent widely publicized foodborne illness outbreaks and recalls related to romaine lettuce and shell eggs. In USDA regulated facilities, there have been 6 recalls in the past month. Four of these were related to foreign matter contamination, one for E. Coli O157:H7 contamination and one for processing deviations.
Workplace safety incidents cost American companies billions each year. Are you confident your employees have the knowledge and confidence required to prevent workplace injuries 100% of the time? If not, what are some effective ways to bolster their strength?
Studies show that while knowledge is important, confidence is also necessary to taking correct action. While knowledge depends on training, confidence depends on repetition and reinforcement. The more your workers know and understand workplace safety, the more likely they are to follow it.
As a member of the National Safety Council (NSC), I was excited to attend NSC’s annual Southern Safety Conference & Expo. We got to showcase our newest workplace safety products that feature what we’ve been working on — and where we’re headed in the future. It was a fun chance to catch up with industry partners and show Alchemy’s support to the safety industry!
Topics: Industry Conferences
Food safety training has made great strides in the last several years, especially in onboarding, as more companies recognize the role strong employee engagement plays in successful training programs. Yet, a big opportunity still exists to increase engagement and ensure initial training is applied long after onboarding is finished: refresher trainings. These reinforcements can be delivered in several ways, and should be designed to maximize effectiveness and minimize time off the floor.