December 11, 2019

How the Industry Keeps Getting Food Safety Wrong

Even when standards are met, many international companies have a lot to improve upon when it comes to food safety. Issues exist in Europe and the United States, as well, even if most of us think these areas tend to have a high level of food security protocols in place. In this article, the Logmore team is going to review some examples of how the industry is getting food safety wrong the world over, what the most significant determining factor of success is, and why it is critical to respond sooner rather than later.

Blatant examples of the industry getting food safety wrong

Raw oysters are considered a delicacy throughout the world, and the United States is no exception. In general, the product goes through roughly five exchanges before being served at home or in a restaurant.

While the majority of these shipments meet government temperature standards, a recent study showed that the recommended temperature requirements for the specific product were less than ideal. Shellfish are a breeding ground for the growth of vibriosis bacteria, and the current temperatures at which some American supply chains operate do not meet its prevention standards.

Now, let’s shift our focus to Serbia by-way-of Europe.

The European Commission discovered that fruit Serbian fruit exported to Europe is not required to pass controls and safety inspections at critical points during harvesting, packaging, production, and transport. Not having these controls in place put a significant safety threat on the lives of Europeans who consume them, since they are not required to meet the current requirements.

The most crucial factor in food safety

Accuracy is the single-most important factor in supporting food safety. Traditional culturing methods, like polymerase chain reaction (PC), are sufficient, but they are a far cry from what you the industry should consider being ideal.

The difference between 98 per cent of pathogens and 99.9 per cent can cost your company brand reputation and dig into your bottom line when putting profit over people. Better accuracy through data logging, condition monitoring, data collection and analysis is critical to food and pharmaceutical companies who want to catch contaminants and pathogens away from customers.

As newer technologies become available, your company could fall behind if it fails to adopt them.

Is good enough really that good?

We often hear that, for every purchase, there is a compromise that comes with it. While many logistics companies are looking for a fast, cheap fix that produces excellent results, it is a strategy that is impossible to obtain.

And for many industries, good enough is good enough. However, the very nature of refrigerated transport demands that companies invest in increasing their accuracy in terms of ensuring their shipments meet the requirements as described on the bill of lading (BOL).

Under a concept known as next-generation sequencing (NGS), temperature-controlled deliveries can begin approaching the idea that good, fast, and cheap is possible. NGS testing defines “good” as being 99.9 per cent accurate. And in this industry, that number is pretty perfect. Since sequencing reduces costs of high-volume testing, shipping and logistics companies can create more internal and external value for the company, its network partners, and customers, alike. 

Food safety platforms emerge with new features

Technologies, like NGS, are on the horizon in an effort to win the battle of merely trying to meet the status quo. Profit and public safety can go hand-in-hand if logistics companies improve upon the continued improvements and desire to meet the standards set forth by the food industry.

Attempting to reach the “good enough” metric not only poses a significant threat to consumers, but it can also be considered morally irreprehensible.

The good news is that improvements in data logging, condition monitoring, data collection, and analysis allow you to evaluate your shipments while leveraging the powers of automation and artificial intelligence. Not only does this action create a higher degree of certainty, but it also reduces human error rates.

That is not to say that we cannot learn from the lessons of traditional and legacy software solutions. Rather than reinvent the wheel every time, we can now capitalize on the knowledge and programming that were foundationally built on food safety management evidence, knowledge, and experience.

Plus, cloud connectivity and mobile technologies have evolved so that we do not have to update our networks and software every five years. We can now reduce our expenses by modern technologies updating themselves as new versions become available.

When “good enough” goes bad

As we have already posited, accuracy is the most significant factor that creates a solid foundation for food safety. 

Adopting and upgrading new technologies may be met with resistance, which it already has for years; change is not the risk we should be fearing. Instead, we should be afraid of settling for a status quo that puts the lives of consumers in danger.

Final thoughts and considerations on food safety

As you can see, you can create a competitive advantage for your logistics company by only doing the right thing. We have the opportunity to effectuate actual change and create even more room for putting people before profits. The legal, financial, and intellectual property losses are too high for any company that chooses to ignore the efficacy in updates related to data logging, condition monitoring, data collection, and analysis.

This industry was built on service towards people. It is time that we all start acting like it since there are remedies currently available on the market. “But, I don’t wanna” is not a valid excuse for opting out.

Improve the accuracy of your supply chain with Logmore

If you enjoyed the insights in this article, we have others available that can help you gain more insight into managing your temperature-controlled shipments efficiently and effectively. Consider checking out our articles on The Digital Supply Chain And You and Why You Should Respond Now to the Future Challenges of Freight Management. These articles can help you expand upon the knowledge gleaned in this post.

Shipping and logistics companies, who are ready to commit to improving their accuracy using data logging, circumstance monitoring, data collection, and analysis, should contact the Logmore team to learn about more about your options. You can book a meeting with a logistics professional to learn more.