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Food and Safety Stats that Should Give You the Willies this Halloween

By Intertek Alchemy   |   

Halloween is known for spooky costumes, trick or treating, haunted houses, and an excuse to eat lots of candy. According to the Huffington Post, in the U.S., we buy nearly 600 million pounds of candy this time of year. That’s about 24 pounds of candy per American, 16 billion fun-size Snickers bars, or 158 trillion individual candy corn kernels.

If those food statistics don’t give you at least a moment of pause, let us throw out some that we know certainly will. Halloween is, for some, the start of a holiday season that centers around food, starting with candy and carrying through Thanksgiving and the December holidays as we gather over meals and snacks.

The holidays demonstrate the importance and the challenges food manufacturers must overcome to maintain a safe and sustainable food supply.  Consider these stats.

Food Safety and Security
Given the number of allergens and food-borne illnesses, food manufacturers face more challenges than ever in keeping foods safe and easily accessible for everyone.

  • Every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. Each year in the U.S., 200,000 people require emergency medical care for allergic reactions to food. Childhood hospitalizations for food allergies tripled between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s.
  • 1 in 6 people in America experience a food-borne illness each year, which is about 48 million people, or 17% of people in the United States. Experts estimate that around 1 in 10 people worldwide get sick from food poisoning each year, and 420,000 people worldwide die from contaminated food, including 125,000 children.

Employee Training
We know how important it is for our clients to maintain a strong food safety culture. Yet so many food manufacturers continue to face training and safety hurdles.

  • According to our recent Global Food Safety Training Survey, nearly 90% of companies believe they provide adequate food safety training to drive consistent and appropriate food safety behaviors. Yet only 40% of their employees follow food safety programs on the manufacturing floor.
  • 81% of companies understand what it takes to build and sustain a strong food safety culture. But only 22% strongly agree that their employees have the authority to take action when food safety is compromised.

Employee Retention
Food manufacturers, like many organizations around the globe, are dealing with unpredictable and tight labor resources.

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than 47 million people in the United States voluntarily left their jobs last year. Of those who have remained behind, more than 50% admit to being “quiet quitters,” according to a new Gallup poll.
  • Only 29% of employees are “very satisfied” with their current career advancement opportunities.
  • 74% of surveyed employees feel they need more development opportunities to reach their full potential at work.
  • 70% of employees are likely to leave their current job to work for an organization that invests in employee development and learning.

Workplace Safety
And finally, no organization can maintain a safe and sustainable food supply without ensuring the safety of their workers.

  • U.S. companies, including non-food manufacturers, report 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses and 4,764 workplace fatalities on average.
  • Workplace incidents cost the U.S. an estimated $250 billion each year.  

As frightening as these stats might be, you can still sweeten up your training programs with Intertek Alchemy. We can help you create a less scary working environment. In fact, Alchemy helps clients: 

  • Increase their training completion rate by 32%
  • Reduce workplace safety incidents by 30%
  • Decrease client complaints by 36%
  • Increase production efficiency by 30%
  • Reduce audit prep time by 98%.

We are all treats and no tricks, find out more by contacting us today!

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