Fall is fast approaching. This is an essential time of year as we cook and entertain with family and friends. For those of us on the supply side, it also brings a heightened awareness of food safety and quality.
In recent years, this time of year has sometimes collided with food-borne incidents. And while the forensic work never seems conclusive, leafy greens, especially romaine and other fresh crops, often bear the brunt of these outbreaks. This year, Canada has imposed temporary import requirements for Fall 2021 requiring some romaine lettuce from parts of California to be tested for E. coli.
Food pathogens are sneaky buggers. They lurk in the oddest of places. The only way to mitigate the damage they cause is to be on a constant lookout. Monthly, weekly, daily, and even hourly checks must be accomplished on all facets of food handling throughout your operation and across the supply chain.
Some examples are the following:
Sampling and testing of ingredients and food products
Verification that all suppliers comply with the best food safety practices.
Processing, handling, and packaging of food
Agricultural water for irrigation and cleaning
Equipment, tools, and general sanitation and washdown procedures.
Soil amendments and fertilizers, both organic and inorganic
Growing and harvesting practices
Animal intrusion into production fields and prevention/control of all visitors
Adjacent land use, runoff of neighboring fields during inclement weather or flooding.
Employee health and hygiene practices, including initial and ongoing training programs.
At Procurant, we have seen companies of all sizes, suppliers, processors, packers, cold storages, buyers, and food preparation facilities tighten up their procedures in these areas. The food industry must adopt stringent and consistent process controls. The benefits are many, and once these systems are in place, the company now has data. Data that can alert others of discrepancies in real-time or that can be reported upon in the event of an audit or be queried and sifted through later for deeper insights. If you can’t collect data about your operations, and you can’t measure it, you will be ill-equipped to improve it.
At Procurant, the fresh food industries are certainly close to our hearts. With the holidays coming on, it’s an excellent time to redouble our efforts to provide safe food to our customers and to prepare, facilitate and celebrate a fantastic holiday season for our families and friends.
Call us, we’d love to chat about how we can team up with your organization and keep your fresh food supply channels free from food safety issues.
Procurant is transforming the global food supply chain with technology to reduce waste, increase visibility, improve food safety and digitize business from production to consumption. The company was founded by industry veterans with decades of experience delivering solutions to growers, shippers, distributors, retailers and foodservice operators.