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As food business mottos go, “don’t kill anyone” is about as straightforward as it gets. 

But while food safety at its core is about protecting consumer health, it can also help companies save money and create more efficient operations. 

In a recent Rootwurks webinar, Stacey Brown, Food Safety Auditor and Consultant with ASI Food Safety spoke about the importance of food safety and what it can mean for your bottom line. 

Here are some of the main takeaways from the webinar. 

It is a life-or-death matter

Good food safety practices help create better industry standards, but ultimately “the goal is to prevent foodborne illness and make sure that the food we produce and how we produce it prevents foodborne outbreaks and death. The ultimate thing we are trying to prevent is killing people,” Brown said. 

It can be hard to come back from a recall

“Companies want to build trust with their consumers and when you have a foodborne illness outbreak that you’re responsible for, you've lost the consumer trust and to get that consumer trust back it takes a lot of work and effect and sometimes it never comes back,” Brown said. 

She added that larger companies can absorb some of the costs of recalls such as logistics and pulling products off shelves, but a small or medium-sized company “is just one recall short of going out of business.”

Food safety is a business investment 

Brown said businesses need to see food safety as “investing these processes and parameters in our business to prevent a recall and a foodborne illness outbreak.”

She added that “if you’re looking at it as it’s wasting our money and it's something we have to do for regulatory reasons, that attitude kind of permeates and creates a culture of not something that we should do because it's the right thing to do and it's good for our business but that the government makes us do.” 

Food safety builds efficiencies

The repetition of food safety guidelines helps companies build consistent, efficient operations. 

“When you’re following those [food safety guidelines] you build efficiencies and as you build efficiencies that can be cost-saving in and of itself,” Brown said. 

It’s not just pathogens

Discussions about food safety risks often focus on pathogens and for good reason - they can make people very sick.

But there are also chemical and physical contaminants to watch out for. These can include chemical contaminants such as having too much cleaning solution in a product or a physical contaminant like metal shards from a blender that made it into a container. 

Management is key

The responsibility for carrying out food safety guidelines will mainly fall on front-line employees, but it is essential for management to buy in completely if a company is to create a culture of workplace safety. 

“Management drives it all. The leadership of your site is the ones that drive the culture. If they don’t care, why should their employees care?”

Recordkeeping is key

When it comes to food safety and compliance guidelines “if you didn’t document it, it didn’t happen,” Brown said. 

She added, “all your documents are about liability mitigation for you. That’s the approach you have to have.”

Mastering food safety measures and creating a culture of safety and compliance can seem overwhelming. Brown recommends that companies hire an expert consultant to help them develop their food safety plan, get their team HACCP-certified to better inform them about hazards and how to mitigate and prevent them, and find training systems to help employees better understand food safety. 

If you’d like to hear more about how food safety can save your company money, check out the webinar on demand here.

And if you’d like to learn more about how HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) guidelines can help your team master food safety, check out the Rootwurks HACCP certification course here. At only $249, it is one of the most affordable ways to get your team certified.

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Ben Hartman, Content Manager

Ben Hartman is a cannabis writing and marketing professional with over 15 years of experience in journalism and digital content creation. Ben was formerly the senior writer and research and analysis lead for The Cannigma.

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