Driving Growth in Food Safety – Leadership, Culture, Technology
Food safety is one of the top concerns when it comes to risk management in the food industry. To drive food safety growth, it needs more than just hygienic standards and compliance. It needs dedicated leadership committed to establishing an active food safety culture and technologies that can support this endeavor.
Leadership for Growth – The GFSI's Call to Action
An important pacemaker in the food industry is the GFSI – Global Food Safety Initiative. Under its umbrella, industry experts, stakeholders as well as technology and service providers from all across the globe join forces to promote good food safety practices, innovative food safety approaches, and also share their knowledge. The GFSI’s annual Gobal Food Safety Conference provides the perfect opportunity for this. Thus, it is one of the industry’s most relevant events.
The Global Food Safety Conference 2017 was dedicated to the motto “Leadership for Growth”. The objective was clear – to set the ground for a sophisticated food safety culture that can overcome the current state of food safety practices where being compliant all too often is still the sole objective.
Food Safety Culture – Where to Start?
Managing this shift from the currently dominant culture of compliance to a much more holistic food safety culture has to start with the most senior levels in an organization. It needs leadership that is not only committed to food safety but also to shaping the company’s culture around it. To achieve this, it needs first a common understanding of food safety and why it is important, and second an appropriate framework that enables employees and partners to live up to this definition.
So, what are the mandatory elements of such a food safety framework? Let’s pick three, to name but a few, and see how they work together. The first and rather obvious one is certification – it forces compliance with the requirements of a certain standard and thus is a great starting point. Certification alone, however, does not address fraud or more specific internal or external requirements.
To overcome these limitations, transparency (in one way or another) is of topmost importance. And that is where the more cultural aspect of food safety begins. While we all want others to be as transparent as possible and sometimes even want them to publicly share their data, we ourselves most often prefer to keep our data private. However, data sharing can be of great benefit – even if it is anonymous data – as the combination of data from different sources opens up advanced analysis options (e.g. real-time data, predictive analytics) for use in active supply chain monitoring, risk-based integrity management approaches, and more.
Driving Food Safety Growth through Innovative Solutions
While demanding transparency is one thing, putting it into practice is quite another story. It needs sophisticated software solutions that are practical and efficient to use and can assure the flawless integration of different data sources without compromising data security. This is the third element that is mandatory in any food safety framework.
In the field of food safety, a common use case for such software solutions is supply chain management. Advanced supply chain tools allow for the integration of real-time certification data from, e.g., certification bodies, standard setters, and governments. Thus, potential risks can be identified and mitigated as early as possible.
Furthermore, it is possible to integrate data from previous audits and self-assessments as well as different environmental and other data to perform evidence-based risk analyses. On this basis, future audits can be planned at times and in areas where risks are most likely to occur. Thus, food safety efforts not only become more effective but also more efficient.
The Global Food Safety Conference 2017 at a Glance
This year, the Global Food Safety Conference took place in Houston, TX, USA from 27 February – 2 March 2017. Details »
In case you missed us this year, you can always contact us and we can discuss opportunities and talk about which software & services can benefit your business. Our experts are happy to share their industry know-how via phone or in person with you.
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