Food Safety standards are rising across the globe. With the supply chain of ingredients under the microscope like never before, implementing preventative measures to combat foodborne illnesses and to meet industry regulations is now more important than ever.
Foodborne illnesses continue to be on the rise, prompted by consumers’ demand for fresh, rapidly prepared meals. Foodservice providers must responsibly monitor food temperatures that meet regulatory requirements and focus on protecting their customers and their brand by creating food safety procedures.
The introduction of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) includes controls and requirements for food safety inspections, transportation of food, and HACCP compliance timelines.
Food retailers now need to monitor food storage, preparation, and display temperatures in multiple places throughout the store including deli, dairy, meat, freezer, bakery and produce sections. These temperature records are required to be recorded and maintained for up to 2 years to meet the FDA’s HACCP standards as set out under the FSMA requirements. Records must be easily accessible to both the store and the headquarters for internal teams, as well as Food Safety inspector audits, such as:
- The numbers of establishments supplying material used to prepare each lot of produce
- All supplier lot numbers and production dates
- The names of the supplied materials, including components and any materials carried over from one production lot to the next
- The date and time each lot of product is produced
- The date and time, when equipment and other related food-contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitized
Additionally, the HAACP requirements for food temperature measurements have become extremely strict. Failure to comply with these measurement guidelines can encourage the growth of bacteria in food and subsequently expose guests to a foodborne illness. When measuring these foods, it is critical that associates have access to technology that alerts the user if proper HACCP temperatures are within compliance. Managing quality control is exceptionally important as well. In an industry where efficiency and profit margins are constantly scrutinized, it is important to ensure the quality of your product.
A critical element in executing a successful Food Safety Program is to ensure that you have the right integrated food safety system in place that guarantees all associates are following the correct procedures for food safety, as well as providing documentation to prove that checklists were successfully executed.
Whether driven by regulatory factors or brand protection, the food industry has adopted advanced monitoring and management technologies to drive modern day food safety cultures and operations. Systems like these utilize checklists and sensors designed to monitor and gather data. Typically, these are built into handheld devices that store collected information in the cloud. The stored data is instantly accessible for management to monitor. Utilizing this type of technology ensures consistency, transparency, and quality. Not to mention the increase in efficiency and savings over time.
Without a digital device these temperatures are taken and recorded manually by store employees. This manual activity is time consuming and expensive. There is not an easy way to ensure the employee complies with the specific frequency or timings. Some employees will “pencil whip” these charts versus completing the required checks on schedule. To avoid these mishaps, an auditable tracking tool that provides photographic evidence of tasks performed and violations highlighted is imperative. A digital device will also suggest corrective action steps to the employee for observed issues.