<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=335994581855197&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Food safety is the number one concern for manufacturing professionals at processing plants, according to a survey compiled by Food Processing Magazine.  

The magazine’s 2024 edition of its annual Manufacturing Outlook Survey found that food safety still far outpaces any other concern. When asked “Rank 1st place through 10th place the importance to your plant of each of the following manufacturing issues,” 47% of respondents cited food safety as their top choice. 

The next top concerns were automation at 18% and cost control at 9%. The least cited reasons given were the ability to source supplies and better traceability, cited by 2% and 1% of respondents, respectively. 

The annual survey was the 23rd Manufacturing Outlook Survey carried out by the magazine. It was done online between October 1st and December 11th and a total of 104 respondents took part. The largest cohort (36%) worked in meat, poultry, and seafood, and 80% came from facilities with between 50 and 2,500 employees. 

Labor concerns remain

One issue that can have a serious impact on workplace safety is a shortage of qualified workers on the floor. 

The survey found that the search for employees remains a major concern in the industry. Of the respondents, 30% stated that critical labor shortages are impacting plant production and 43% said that finding workers for plant floor jobs is harder than it was in the past. Only 16% of respondents said they don’t have trouble filling plant jobs. 

But in the face of labor shortages, 55% of respondents said that their place of work was adding on-the-job training programs to expand employee skill sets. 

Optimism on a slight upswing

The survey found that respondents do have some optimism about the food and beverage industry for 2024, with 47% saying they feel somewhat optimistic, and 20% saying they are very optimistic. 

In addition, only 6% of respondents said they are a little or very pessimistic about the state of the industry in the coming year. Only 3% said they expect plant productivity to decrease in the coming year, though the percentage that said they anticipate increased productivity dropped to 69% from 76% in the previous year’s survey. 

What could be the top food safety issues in 2024?

Also in January, Food Processing published an article by former FDA associate commissioner for foods Dr. David Acheson on what he predicts will be the major food safety issues in 2024.

Acheson wrote that he expects to see a continued focus on chemical residues and heavy metals. This is partly because Jim Jones, the new FDA Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods previously worked at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is particularly concerned about chemical residues. 

Acheson said he expects to see more testing for pesticides in 2024 and action by Congress to demand stronger regulations around heavy metals. He also said that he expects there to be a big focus on traceability in 2024. 

HACCP for food safety

For decades, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) has been one of the main tools food manufacturing companies have used in order to create safer workplaces. 

To learn how to implement a HACCP plan at your workplace, check out the Rootwurks webinar “What Does it Take to Implement a HACCP Plan?,” now streaming on demand on the Rootwurks webinar. Also this month, Rootwurks launched our HACCP certification course, the most affordable certification course recognized by the International HACCP Alliance. 

Grab a copy at the Wurkshop, our online store for training and safety solutions for the food industry. 

Leave a Comment


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.

Read More


From best practices at the dispensary counter to cannabis grow safety tips and the ins and outs of cannabis terpenes, there is a world of knowledge to be gained form our free educational content. To see our guides, eBooks, webinars, reports, expert interviews, and video tutorials, check out the Rootwurks library of free resources.

Free Guide: In Cannabis Quality Control, Compliance Can Be Your Friend and Ally

Free Guide: In Cannabis...

2 Min Read

As legalization expands and cannabis becomes more mainstream, the consumer base is becoming more mature and sophisticated in its quality demands. This can be seen in a greater...

Learn More
Free Guide: How Can Dispensaries Stand Out From the Crowd? 

Free Guide: How Can...

2 Min Read

Few industries hold more promise than retail cannabis. 

Learn More
Free Guide: Why Budtender is Far From Just an Entry-Level Job

Free Guide: Why Budtender...

2 Min Read

With all due respect to the celebrities with cannabis brands, the cultivators with decades of experience, and the marijuana influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers,...

Learn More
Guide: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Cannabis Compliance in 2022

Guide: The Good, the Bad,...

2 Min Read

When people daydream about running a cannabis business, the images often follow a familiar script: perfectly cured buds in jars behind the counter, collaborations with local craft...

Learn More