Automating Food Safety Now Possible for Very Small Food Manufacturers

by Thomas R. Cutler, Automation Media

While required of small food manufacturers, food safety documentation technology was too expensive for 90% of the food industry, which have fewer than 200 employees and annual revenues of less than $20 million dollars. The introduction of cloud-based solutions has changed the food safety and quality conversation for even the very smallest companies.

Nearly a decade ago all the large food processors, manufacturers, and distributors faced the realities that food quality and safety are priorities for consumers. From Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to the Bioterrorism Act to lot traceability, food leaders responded with actionable technology solutions. Small or large in company size, from billion dollar organizations to five person salsa producers, all in the food industry recognized that reputations and brands were at risk when safety concerns and product recalls were daily front-page news stories. The cost of low quality kills brands and people.

The global ingredient supply chain

From a grain of pepper from China to a curry flavor from India, the percentage of food manufacturers with multi-cultural global ingredients has multiplied 300% in the past five years. Nearly 21% of all finished food products have ingredients from more than four countries. Tracking, tracing, and accounting for these variables becomes a deeply challenging process for QA and QC food managers around the world.

Increasingly companies are turning to HACCP and the ISO 22000 standard to control for the wild variability and food quality variances found between different nations. ISO 22000 is the international standard for food safety management systems and requires a rigorous ISO audit to confirm eligibility. ISO 22000 emphasizes communication, systems management, prerequisite programs and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s HACCP principles to ensure complete food safety along the food chain. Manufacturing facilities must be structured to dynamically integrate quality and food safety management programs, assuring the ability to produce high-quality, safe products.

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About Thomas R. Cutler

Thomas R. Cutler is the President & CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., (www.trcutlerinc.com). Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium including more than 4000 journalists, editors, and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling, and process improvement. Cutler is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Online News Association, American Society of Business Publication Editors, and Committee of Concerned Journalists, as well as author of more than 500 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector. Cutler can be contacted at trcutler@trcutlerinc.com.

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