5 ways food safety standards may be compromised
November 15th , 2021 by Monika Australia & Asia Pacific
“Food safety — be prepared” is this year’s theme for Australian Food Safety Week.
The basic tenets of food safety are simple: cook and store food at the right temperature and ensure good hygiene. But everyone knows that the reality – the implementation – is far more complex. Despite the best intentions, many food safety programs fall short, and standards can be difficult to maintain. Here are five ways you could be compromising yours, with some suggested tools for overcoming them.
1. Using smartphones in the kitchen
It’s hard to dispute the benefits of bringing mobile technologies into the commercial kitchen – but did you know that the average person touches their smartphone 2,600 times a day? No amount of hand washing can stop the spread of bacteria from mobile phones to your customers’ food.
Hygiene should be a priority when choosing technology for your commercial kitchen. Particularly if it’s going to be used for managing food safety tasks. So, if you’re considering a food safety app, make sure it comes with a dedicated, anti-microbial touchscreen device.
2. Using a paper-based data recording system
Maintaining accurate records – consistently, day after day – is critical to ensuring food safety. Yet handwritten records still reign supreme in many kitchens. Paper records aren’t just cumbersome – they can be illegible, incomplete, or even falsified. They may also become damaged or lost due to fire or flood.
Food safety managers need complete confidence in their data. The only way to achieve this is with automated data monitoring. With a digital food safety system, sensors and devices transmit data live to cloud-based software, reducing human error. Staff are also accountable for their actions – with data traceable by user, date, time, and location.
3. Not having real-time alerts for equipment or power failure
Acting on food safety data is an important part of food safety management. But without timely alerts, issues may not be discovered until long after they happen. With real-time alerts direct to your phone, you can act quickly to protect your stock and prevent a food safety incident.
Imagine there was a temporary equipment malfunction or power outage while you or your staff were off-site. Would you know if your stock had moved out of the safe temperature range, and for how long? You could be none the wiser. A live temperature monitoring system gives you 24/7 peace of mind that your stock is safe.
4. Relying on team members’ judgement for corrective actions
No matter how knowledgeable your staff are, there will always be scope for human error when it comes to food safety. For example, your staff may know the 2 hour / 4 rule like the back of their hand. But when they’re busy, they could lose track of time and fail to move, use, or throw food away at the required time.
Having clear, consistent protocols for managing breaches makes for a solid food safety plan. But relying on staff to make the call when there’s a deviation is risky. A digital food safety system can prompt and guide your staff based on the scenario, ensuring the right corrective action is taken at the right time.
5. Not having access to in-depth food safety data or trend analysis
How easily can you identify recurring issues in your food safety processes? With a manual record-keeping system, this is an onerous task. With records spread across multiple teams or sites, you could be missing things that require preventative action. A digital food safety system puts this data at your fingertips, helping you identify problem areas and enact changes at the touch of a button.
Monika has provided digital food and clinical safety solutions to healthcare and foodservice institutions worldwide since the early 1990s. Our product simulation technology originated from research conducted in an accredited laboratory into 100+ different product types.