Food Safety Tech - Ensuring Quality Standards

June 17, 2023
David Sunnyside

Food safety is a set of procedures that ensures the safety of products for consumers. It also includes practices that help reduce the amount of waste produced in the industry.

Whether it’s a forgotten handwashing or contaminated food, any foodborne illness outbreak could devastate your brand’s reputation. That’s why food safety and quality technicians must take every precaution.

1. Sensors

Sensors are devices that convert a physical phenomenon into a measurable analog or digital signal that can be read or processed. They can sense a range of energy forms including movement, light, electrical signals, radiant energy, thermal and magnetic energy and more. These sensors can then respond by changing the output of another system, such as an actuator (like a heater) or an indicator light or an electronic device that transmits data.

Tech-Enabled Traceability

During an outbreak of foodborne illness, one of the biggest problems is that it can take too long to identify the source of the contamination and then trace back to where it all started. Smart technology is helping to speed up this process and provide much more accurate results. This information can then be used by government agencies to prioritize inspections of both foreign and domestic manufacturers based on their risk. This helps to reduce the number of recalls and protect consumers from potentially dangerous foods.

2. Microlearning

Bite-sized food safety refreshers are important to keep employees on track with proper technique. One of the most effective tools is microlearning, a form of online learning that allows learners to practice their skills at any time. For example, if an employee isn’t confident about a new assembly process on a particular product, they can watch a short video that walks them through it.

Tech-Enabled Traceability

Having the ability to trace a specific piece of food throughout its journey from origin to destination is essential for both business and consumer confidence. Technology can make this process hyper-transparent and data-driven by enabling the ability to identify food at any point along the supply chain. This enables farmers, manufacturers, distributors and consumers to know exactly what they’re consuming and the source of any potential illnesses or outbreaks.

3. Training

A food safety and quality technician makes sure that your company’s processes, from packaging to storage, are meeting government food regulations. They also inspect outgoing finished products as well as incoming raw materials. They work daily in a production environment and can spot potential contamination at an early stage, helping to reduce risk of foodborne illness outbreaks.

Training can be a critical part of ensuring your employees maintain safe food handling and service standards. From forgetting to wash hands or storing meat improperly, the smallest mistakes can result in an illness outbreak that damages your brand and hurts consumers.

Attend the CFI Food Safety Think Tank on April 5 to learn how to prevent such hazards. This workshop will take a deeper dive into the hazards discussed throughout the first two days of Food Safety Tech and offer solutions, strategies and best practices to improve the overall health of our food supply chain.

4. Monitoring

A wide range of tools are available for tracking and monitoring food from farm to table, including wearable technology that signals when food safety practices have not been completed. These advances have made huge headway in reducing human error.

New tech-enabled traceability allows producers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers to identify the origin of products – a critical step when it comes to preventing contamination. This is a key component of what is being referred to as “food tech safety” - an approach that layers informational and technological advancements onto the FSMA framework for hyper-transparent supply chains.

In addition, technologies are being developed that help to identify and track the location of perishable foods during shipment, providing a more proactive way for those who transport or store these items to monitor their condition in real-time. This enables a more streamlined response to potential outbreaks and may even make it possible for remote inspections to be conducted by regulators - something that was already done during the COVID-19 pandemic.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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