Over the last four decades, food safety has been covered by 30 federal laws and 15 federal agencies. Now these agencies are asking for better funding to protect food safety programs within the U.S. using the latest technology. In a step forward, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has requested more funding in the 2020 budget to employ technologies such as DNA sequencing for food products and increase personnel by the thousands.
Even with movement towards more government resources around food safety, the food industry is implementing their own food safety programs and controls that go beyond government standards and create transparency within their supply chain. Not only does this create a better partnership with food suppliers, but it also reduces the risk of contamination and opens the door to better communication between food producers and retailers.
Improving Food Safety Standards
Since it can take time to implement new technologies to help agencies such as the FDA and USDA, it’s important food organizations have their own food safety programs in place that exceed the standards of government agencies when it comes to testing and remediation. In doing so, food organizations can make the auditing process stress-free by monitoring their production environment beyond the minimum requirements.
Additionally, as many food organizations know, foodborne illness can stem from pathogens within their facilities and without the proper environmental monitoring program in place, this can lead to contamination down the supply chain and a potential recall. A recall can create a large financial burden and also damage a company’s brand image and reputation. To prevent this from happening, organizations on the forefront of food safety are using digital technology to implement better environmental monitoring and data collection on the production floor and with products coming from suppliers.
Leveraging Technology to Create Better Food Safety Programs
Digitization is key to transforming the process of environmental monitoring and pathogen testing as food organizations can not depend on manual processes to seamlessly document their food safety program. Technology also creates confidence when an auditor–regardless of the agency they are part of–pays a visit to their facility. Organizations can show proof of testing and corrective action completion with only a few clicks, which makes the process of an audit less stressful when they can easily provide proof of a robust food safety program that exceeds government and industry standards.
Although greater resources are needed in order to maintain government food safety regulation, that does not mean that food organizations can not create their own programs now for better food safety that instills confidence in the auditing process and reduces the risk of a recall through digitization.