There have been at least nine unrelated outbreaks of foodborne illness in the U.S. this summer.
Some of these are due to faulty manufacturing practices (Ritz crackers and Swiss rolls), while others are only contaminated in certain grocery stores (pasta salad from grocery store Hy-Vee and vegetable trays from Kwik Trip). Regardless of when or how products were contaminated, food poisoning outbreaks cause permanent damage to grocery brands. So how should grocery stores go about preventing them?
There are four main causes of foodborne illness at grocery stores: poor hygiene, purchasing food from unsafe sources, failing to cook food correctly, and storing items at inadequate temperatures.
In order to address these issues, the people at the highest level of a given operation must be both knowledgeable and insistent on food safety. They must create standard operational procedures regarding hygiene and handling/storing food and ensure that employees are trained to follow these procedures. In addition, they must guide their company in choosing trusted food suppliers to order from.
Employees must conduct regular food safety tests to ensure compliance with the FDA’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HAACP) – but traditional pen and paper methods are too inefficient. For maximum efficiency, grocery stores should use a digital, cloud-based checklist solution.