2018 has been the year of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly in the food industry. The Ugly is still going on right now with the two major foodborne illness outbreaks and product recalls plaguing the industry. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises not to serve or sell any Romaine Lettuce contaminated with E. Coli O157:H7 from the Central Coastal growing regions of North and Central California. This outbreak has resulted in 52 cases in 15 states with 19 hospitalized and two of the 19 experiencing kidney failure. The CDC expects these numbers to rise as more cases are brought to light.
Have you ever heard these comments during an incident review?
“We have walked by that hazard hundreds of time and never saw it!”
“We can’t see the forest through the trees! We need fresh eyes on our facility to see the hazards we no longer see.”
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.
Topics: Food Safety
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.
Statistical Process Control (SPC) is top of mind for the food industry. The recent changes to the SQF Quality Code have prompted new interest, since additional requirements for SPC training and applications have been added to the code. In addition, progressive companies recognize the benefit of using SPC applications throughout the manufacturing process at key process control steps.
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.
The GFSI conference is right around the corner — this March in Tokyo! This annual event draws over 1000 food safety professionals from over 60 countries. Participants discuss upcoming trends, scientific information, and new requirements for future GFSI benchmarking standards. This year’s conference will focus on successful implementation strategies for GFSI systems.
What do people mean by “clean label?” The industry refers to "clean label," but the reality is consumers don't often use that term. What consumers are looking for in food products is transparency, and that includes simple ingredient lists with recognizable ingredients. After all, how many of you have heard this advice in health magazines and lifestyle blogs: "Don't eat it if it has something in it that you can't pronounce."
With significant environmental impacts in the last year made from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and problematic weather ahead, it’s imperative to have an emergency action plan in place. In fact, OSHA requires all workplaces with more than 10 employees to develop a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP) that identifies and coordinates necessary employer and employee actions during an emergency.
Emergencies have been happening for centuries. Here’s a brief look at a few incidents from history, reasons why companies need emergency action plans, and how to train your frontline workforce to take smart action in the face of danger.
The popularity of variety and artisan bread has been on a steady rise for the past several years, due to consumer expectations and their growing interest in health trends. Because the process of producing variety and artisan bread differs from pan bread, training for baking professionals is paramount. David Bauman, Baking Professional for AIB International who specializes in bread and rolls, explains how learning the art of popular variety and artisan bread will help companies capture a valuable market.
Food manufacturing can be a grind… especially in milling. Yet recent wins in the industry make it all worth it. Consumers are snack-happy, so demand for savory treats, sweets, and baked goods is on the rise. Alternative flours are also ubiquitous. Thanks to the gluten-free craze, nut flours and non-traditional flours like sorghum and spelt are working their way into foods worldwide. And we can finally kiss the low-carb craze goodbye. These days, whole grains are considered essential to a healthy diet, including rice and corn, with more emphasis on nutrition rather than elimination. With the new nutritional focus comes the opportunity to add fortifications to flours and grains, which proves successful in differentiation, as well as in marketing.