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Four ways artificial intelligence can enhance food safety

November 16th , 2022 by

The computer scientist Alan Kay once said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Those words could not be truer in the context of food safety, which is perhaps in its most exciting phase of development, technologically-speaking.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are tools that offer huge possibilities for the future of food safety – particularly in their power to analyse data and predict trends – or in simple terms, to identify and resolve food safety problems before they arise or reoccur.

What is artificial intelligence and machine learning?

Over the last decade or so, artificial intelligence has attracted global interest across many industries, in large part due to improved access to data and advances in computing power. So what is artificial intelligence? This definition is provided on the IBM website:

“Artificial intelligence leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind. (IBM) – https://www.ibm.com/au-en/cloud/learn/what-is-artificial-intelligence

Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence whereby computer systems are programmed to draw conclusions from patterns of data with the help of algorithms and statistical models.

How can AI be used by businesses to enhance food safety?

Rather than being reactive to food safety hazards, artificial intelligence offers us the power to stay ahead of issues – protecting our business and our customers. Here are a few examples of ways that AI can be used to enhance food safety:

1. Accurate, automated food temperature measurement

In the past, food temperatures were measured solely by hand with the help of a thermometer – both during storage and cooking – a task that is both error-prone and time-consuming. We now have temperature sensors for fridges and freezers that can mimic the core temperature of the food to a very high degree of accuracy, with the help of algorithms.

3. Predicting equipment problems

Gone are the days of simply recording food temperatures – we now have the tools and software to not only automate this task, but to use computing power to apply a level of analysis to the data to ensure our equipment is performing optimally at all times.

AI software can help anticipate equipment breakdowns or malfunctions before they occur. MonikaPrime’s Equipment Management module, for example, provides detailed equipment diagnostics for a number of key parameters such as duty cycles, heating and cooling curves, and usage cycles. This allows managers to identify poorly performing or failing equipment before food safety is compromised.

3. Suggesting appropriate corrective actions for food safety deviations

Corrective actions are the backbone of any food safety plan. The difficulty lies in ensuring the right actions are taken at the right time. AI software offers the potential for these to be pre-programmed according to set parameters – in fact, MonikaPrime currently offers this functionality as part of its Team Management module, with escalations to ensure actions are taken in a timely manner. These are highly configurable and guide the user through the action step-by-step.

4. Identifying recurring issues in food safety procedures

In a similar way to diagnosing equipment problems, AI can be used to analyse and compare food safety performance between sites. For example, which tasks keep getting missed or are not completed to the required standard? This allows managers to address poorly performing sites or teams and promote continuous improvement through preventative actions such as staff training or revisions to task schedules/procedures.

While technology can never replace human judgement or act as a substitute for a strong food safety culture, AI can enhance our decision-making in powerful ways. It can give us new insights that would not otherwise be possible thanks to the unprecedented level of data visibility and analysis that it offers.

To find out more about the AI capabilities of MonikaPrime, Monika’s enterprise digital food safety system, contact us on 1300 857 025 or via info@monika.com.au

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