Do You Know What Your Food Safety Analytics Are Telling You?

As advancing technologies continue to innovate the food safety industry, they enable manufacturers to achieve clearer visibility into critical areas and implement compliant food safety plans that help reduce risk. Every data point you collect presents an opportunity for valuable analytics that support a dynamic approach to contamination and recall prevention. Food safety data and analytics can reveal a great deal of useful information IF you understand how to leverage them effectively.

So, what are your food safety analytics telling you about the realities of your facility? What data should you be analyzing, and what exactly can you learn from it? Let’s take a look at the role your analytics play in the overall success of your food safety program and how you can use this asset to minimize risk.

What Analytics Should You Be Reviewing?

Before you can derive any real benefit from the data at your disposal, you have to know where to look. Following are the most significant points of focus for data analytics:

HACCP System (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points)

Data points that reflect the plant’s actions for analysis and control of biological, chemical and physical hazards, from raw material production, procurement and handling to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product, with particular emphasis on:

  • Hazard analysis
  • Critical control points
  • Critical limits
  • Monitoring procedures
  • Corrective actions
  • Verification
  • Documentation

GMPs (General Manufacturing Practices)

Data points that reflect the plant’s efforts to maintain industry, company and government standards of practice for manufacturing, holding and distributing foods fit for human consumption, with particular emphasis on:

  • Personnel
  • Plant and grounds
  • Safety operations
  • Sanitary facilities and controls
  • Equipment and utensils
  • Processes and controls
  • Warehousing and distribution
  • Holding and distribution of human food byproducts for use as animal food
  • Defect action levels

Supplier Verification

Data points that reflect the plant’s supplier verification program, with particular emphasis on:

  • Approved supplier data
  • Supplier quality systems

Recall Reporting and Process

Data points that reflect the plant’s efforts to enforce a proper recall process, with particular emphasis on:

  • Recall submission to proper authorities
  • Notifications
  • Recall effectiveness checks
  • Recall status reports
  • Root cause evaluations
  • Post-recall corrective action plans and implementations

What Learnings Can You Take Away from the Data?

As you analyze the various outlets of food safety data, you become more informed about the realities within your organization, specifically as they pertain to food safety performance and risk. You have the power to uncover:

  • Hot spots, trends and non-conformances with regard to product ingredients and preparation equipment
  • Inadequacies in established methods of storage and distribution
  • Potential biological, chemical and physical hazards at each juncture of the production process
  • Outcomes and effectiveness of monitoring procedures, as well as individual adherence to required monitoring responsibilities
  • Level of compliance with and commitment to company and government standards
  • Key supplier information reflective of your suppliers’ food safety performance and its effect on your own risk levels
  • The efficacy of your corrective actions and verification activities  
  • Successes and failures related to the recall process

How Do Food Safety Analytics Benefit Your Organization?

With laser-focused analytics that inform your food safety plans, decisions and activities, there are tangible advantages to be reaped by the organization at large. Here are some of the most impactful benefits of learning how to leverage your food safety data effectively:

Valuable transparency and insight: When approached properly and managed with the right tools, analytics can keep your team apprised of every product by tracking the safety precautions applied throughout the entire production and distribution process. Wide-reaching transparency within and across your plants facilitates more effective monitoring and control strategies, which results in reduced recall risk. The success of your food safety and quality systems is inextricably linked to the knowledge and insight you use to support them. An intelligent analytics platform will be able to funnel food safety performance data from multiple manufacturing facilities and supplier sites to all players in your quality, safety and compliance value chain.

Strong traceability framework: Robust food safety analytics provide key information on every point of contact for a product, which translates to quicker response to non-conformances, as well as the ability to pinpoint an emergent issue’s point of origin. Traceability is a critical factor in your organization’s ability differentiate and isolate safe products from the source of the problem. With the power of traceability to, manufacturers are equipped to improve supply chain management, market foods with difficult-to-detect attributes and maximize quality control. Given consumers’ demands for greater visibility into the handling of their foods, as well as stricter government oversight on contamination prevention and remediation efforts, the traceability that data analytics provide is paramount.

A more proactive vantage point: The main goal of the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act is to foster proactive versus reactive measures across the food industry. That means focusing on the early identification and prevention of contamination and adulteration issues associated with foodborne illness. Analytics supply you with the data to identify pathogens and non-conformances in the production environment BEFORE they affect a product or leave the facility. By aggregating preventive data from the various aspects of your operation, you have a clearer perspective on where efforts are lacking and improvements must be made.

Decreased recall risk: Speaking of prevention, the capacity for analytics to identify potential food safety issues before they spiral into much bigger problems is essential to preventing recalls. Analytics fuel the fundamental reporting and assessment practices that help to improve your processes, rectify weaknesses and minimize the risks associated with compromised products. This data enables early detection and action based on the tracking and trending of quantitative and qualitative tests, pathogenic and hygienic tests, and those related to indicator organisms, allergens, toxins, residue, etc. The faster any problematic occurrences come to light, the less recall risk your organization faces.

Reputational preservation: Just one poorly managed food safety issue or recall could irreparably damage your reputation. Consumers are known to change their purchasing and consumption practices, rejecting a product for years afterward. Therefore, your ability to identify and communicate food safety issues directly impacts your ability to safeguard the brand. Analytics support companies in pinpointing recall precursors more quickly to relay alerts and notifications immediately, which has the potential to save you immeasurably on damage-control efforts and reputational backlash.

It should go without saying, but the benefits your organization can derive from food safety analytics are only as good as the technology used to initiate and manage them. Corvium’s food safety platform offers the industry intelligence and functionality to optimize your food safety program through dynamic analytics features. It enables you and your team to:

  • Combine food safety test results from multiple sites to obtain a complete picture of your food safety risk
  • Effortlessly conduct discovery activities that depend on interacting with your data set in real time, with complete drill-down and drill-through functionality
  • Investigate trends and outlier results to immediately take action before problems can cause shutdowns, poor audit results or recalls

This solution features a powerful master dashboard for capturing your FSQA data and visualizing testing, sanitation and corrective action performance at a glance. It gives a status overview of corrective actions, including how long they are open, and highlights repeat equipment offenders.

Sanitation performance can be organized by plant and sub-location, offering instant intel on which sites need the most attention. Additionally, you can automatically aggregate detailed data on different pathogen tests and compare them to the organizational average. All of these analytics-driven advantages equate to stronger efforts for minimizing food safety risk.

To see the food safety platform in action, watch this free video walkthrough now.

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