The Importance of Limiting Food Recalls

According to Food Safety Magazine, the amount of food recalls has steadily increased each year, resulting in 626 food recalls in 2015.

Costly episodes like that of Chipotle grab headlines, yet they don’t entirely capture the full extent of food safety issues today. For a more informative view, examine food recalls. Since recalls are mandated by regulatory requirements, they prevent human and financial disasters that would have occurred otherwise. According to Food Safety Magazine, the amount of food recalls has steadily increased each year, resulting in 626 food recalls in 2015.

The impact of those food recalls is widespread and costly. In a survey of 36 major International food companies by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), more than half (55%) reported experiencing a product recall in the five years prior, with the cost of many of these recalls reaching well into the tens of millions, some even costing more than $100 million.

Behind these numbers lurks a bigger problem for which there is no accurate financial estimate: loss of consumer trust. Recent surveys, such as the 2015 Food Value Equation Survey by Deloitte Consulting LLP, find consumers are seeking more reassurance about their food. There are a significant amount of inquiries placed on the amount of information regarding where food is being manufactured and distributed. Failure to meet these changing consumer expectations can result in serious consequences, and impact a business’s brand through negative public exploitation on far-reaching social media platforms.

According to a study by the advertising agency Sullivan, Higdon & Sink, only about a third of consumers trust food companies to provide them with the right information. However, the level of trust has increased one-fifth in 2012, which SHS says is due to industry initiatives to educate the public.

So what can companies do to prevent recalls?

By making food safety more systematic and data-driven, FSMA all but requires automated, digital approaches from newer technologies to successfully meet standards.

Food companies should be investigating options to equip their employees with mobile technologies possessing multiple input devices such as temperature probes, RFID readers, and bar-code scanners to name a few, that ensure compliance with FSMA-based, HACCP checklists when utilized properly – further mitigating the risk of contamination by ensuring best practices are executed.

One such device is PAR Technology’s SureCheck® Advantage, an all- in- one food safety solution, encompassing the industry’s need for a digital approach.