Monday 17 October 2016

Disaster Can Strike When Food Safety Management Systems Are Not Implemented

The subject of food safety has been receiving plenty of attention over the last few years especially after a number of incidents were reported. Some of the incidents even caused fatalities while the others hospitalized a number of people. After giving the matter the consideration it deserves the authorities have presently stipulated that all businesses within the food chain must have a Food Safety Management System to safeguard against risks of any kind. They have considered risks due to human errors and also because of allergens, which could be present within the food chain. Several countries have now made it mandatory for all businesses involved in the production, processing, transportation and storage of food stuff to have in place a Food Safety Management System and have also stipulated penalties for organizations that do not do so.

The authorities have stipulated the kind of businesses, which must have Food Safety Management System within their workplace. The list provided is exhaustive and even covers businesses which can be involved in the production of raw material, the ingredients to be used for the cleaning of raw material, the handling of products during the preparation and after and finally even the transportation of the finished products. The sole objective of this system is to provide the consumer a product, which he or she can trust and have without the fear of contamination. While the controls mentioned by the authorities certainly look difficult it is well known that food safety risks exist and they can easily be eliminated if the organization or the business is prepared to take the steps needed. A number of companies and organizations have abided by the law and are presently benefiting from the investment they made to have Food Safety Management System in place.

The primary responsibility for managing the system effectively rests with the management of a company and therefore a Food Safety Management System is just as effective as the management of the organization. An organization can invest sums of money to implement the guidelines, which have been provided and also make regular efforts to upgrade the system. However, the entire effort will come to naught if the management of the organization does not provide the proper attention and keep in regular touch with the happenings within the organization. In fact disaster can strike as it has done with the Peanut Corporation of America where an outbreak of salmonella in 2008 caused fatalities among nine Americans and hospitalized over 700. The CEO of the company along with the quality assurance manager and other management staff was sentenced to a combined total of 53 years in prison leading to the company becoming defunct. Under the circumstances, would it not be preferable to have an effective Food Safety ManagementSystem in place rather than risk a prison term or even closure of the organization?

Looking at the kind of penalties that an organization or its executives could face it would be better to conclude that most would prefer to have A Food Safety Management System despite being required to invest resources and manpower and remaining in touch with the matter of food safety with utmost responsibility. The managements of most organizations do not prefer to have a set of controls placed upon them simply owing to their belief that it would hamper the profitability of the company. These matters are highlighted within the litigation with PCA when it was revealed that the management knowingly shipped tainted products to the market and had even tempered with records from the lab. Therefore the better option for organizations would be to make a small investment to implement Food Safety Management System and to say no to the risks.

When the matter of implementing Food Safety Management System is discussed organizations do not have to worry that they will be obliged to bring in major changes that can affect their overall functionality. They need to have in place a system of controls, which will reduce the risks, which they could be facing. The management of the organization must also consider the fact that the system must be indoctrinated within all its staff members without whom the implementation would become awkward. Applying the criteria listed under HACCP and implementing it to the fullest will also make it better for the organization to understand how matters related to food safety can be easily managed. HACCP will provide the organization with the information that is needed to manage risks of all kinds and even have critical control measures in the event of any accidents.

The organization can consider implementing these measures without external assistance or decide to have a professional draw up a custom-designed plan for their requirements. There will certainly be some costs involved when the services of a professional are enlisted. However, he or she will be able to consider the requirements of the company, design a plan specifically for them and even have them successfully audited to be certified as an organization, which is compliant with the requirements. Organizations must understand that they will be required to train their staff and management to follow every stipulation, which has been mentioned by the regulatory authorities.

Organizations that are certified as compliant with Food Safety Management Systems can rest assured that they will have new opportunities opening up for business. The certificate provided is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative and therefore the benefits which organizations can get is manifold. They will be given the opportunity to participate in businesses internationally where they had never ventured out earlier. It will also give their customers a message that the organization makes all the efforts needed to safeguard the interests of their consumers. This will be a credible initiative on the part of the organization and will not lead them into any kind of disaster.

Not having Food Safety Management System in place or not paying proper attention to it can lead to a disaster while the reverse will be true for organizations that are willing to believe in the policy of "zero risk" and continuing their business after considering the requirements of their clients before the profitability of the organization. The principle can be sometimes difficult to adhere to but is definitely a requirement if organizations are part of the food chain.

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