Food Safety Technology: Improving Food Safety Standards Through Technology Technological advances throughout the 21st century have enabled us to live in a world we once would have thought far-fetched. Whether we like it or not technology affects each and every one of us on a daily basis.
Technology is changing the infrastructure of the food safety industry. An industry which was relatively pen and paper based, food safety is now transforming into something extremely digital. But is the emerging technology truly better than the paper based approach?
Digital Auditing Tools
Audits are the closest to a ‘real-time’ snapshot for any auditor or EHO. They provide people with transparency and assurance that high food quality and safety standards are being maintained across your business.
Whether the audit is unannounced, has an element of surprise or is completely planned; audits will involve time, effort and paperwork.
Food safety technology is now enabling food safety auditors to carry out audits electronically. Auditors can use software that instantaneously pulls through their data into the audit report. The audit reports can also be backed up with cloud storage, meaning there is no longer the worry that records and reports could be lost. Analysing the audit data can then uncover trends, statistics and anomalies which can provide valuable information for your food business.
Additionally, wearable smart technology is making its way into the food safety industry via food safety audits. An employee could wear smart glasses whilst an EHO views the live feed from another location. The EHO can guide and support the employee in what needs to be explored. This example of smart technology would save money, time and resources. In turn, creating a more efficient audit process from start to finish.
Digital Food Safety Management Systems Food safety management systems traditionally involve a lot of paperwork as you’re required to identify hazards and their critical control points. You also need to keep records to show how the procedures are working.
Smaller businesses may be able to handle the paperwork. However for larger businesses the paperwork can soon start to pile up. The result? An unorganised, inefficient food safety management system that is open to errors.
Digital food safety management systems rid this risk. Recording information digitally is a more reliable, convenient and safer way of operating your food safety management system. Most digital options allow you to automate tasks whilst providing compliance, visibility, as well as real-time reporting. Should an EHO want to look at your records they will be accessible at the touch of a button.
It’s a legal requirement that all food handlers receive the appropriate food safety training. What’s deemed ‘appropriate training’ can be open to interpretation. This meanings many food businesses are choosing to go down the e-learning route rather than traditional classroom training.
Both have their pros and cons, and of course, classroom training provides greater opportunity for learning as it is hands on. However, if you’re wanting a knowledge refresher, e-learning is a suitable alternative. Taking a day or two out of the diary for a training course is time consuming for all involved. Elearning is the cost-effective, time-sensitive flexible way of ensuring food handlers are compliant with their legal responsibilities.
3D Printing Food
Food safety technology has become that advanced we are now able to 3D print our food. As long as the ingredients can be pureed, you can 3D print any food item. But what are the benefits of 3D printing? Surely it is easier to create the food items the traditional way?
3D printing allows us to reinvent traditional items whether it be their shape, colour or texture. Making food items more exciting could help feed fussy eaters (in particular children), with one example being taking traditional spinach and transforming it into
spinach dinosaurs. 3D printing plays a big part in personalised nutrition whether it be veganism, dairy-free or the keto diet for example.
3D printing food isn’t without food safety concerns however. Bacteria such as
E.coli and Salmonella could build up in the tubes, contaminating all food that is 3D printed. Additionally, there are studies that suggest that 3D printers using ABS and PLA plastic are damaging to health. However, there are dangers and risks when preparing food via any method. If you properly control and include any risks in your food safety management system, you will be reducing the chances of any food safety issues. Be Proactive With Your Food Safety The food industry is constantly evolving, and in turn, food safety and food businesses need to ensure they aren’t left behind. If you fail to keep up with the latest digital trends, then unfortunately, your business may be caught out. Safer Food Better Business is a free tool that many small businesses use to document their food safety management procedures, yet the reality is that this basic tool is simply not enough in the digital 21st century. At STS, our food safety consultants focus on providing bespoke food safety management systems that can be tailored to your food business as well as digital solutions designed to make your food safety management that little bit easier. For more information on how our team can help you, call us on 08450 50 40 60.