Use of Technology in ensuring food safety
In toady’s world, the consumers are eager to know about the food they eat, such as what ingredients are used and how they are prepared in addition to the basic nutrition and taste aspects. As there is huge demand for food production to fulfill the needs of growing population, the assurance of food safety has become a huge challenge for food businesses. In recent past, food recall and foodborne illness issues have drawn attention of the consumer towards the need of safe and quality food, which is the right of every consumer.
In order to meet the requirements of consumers, the food businesses have to maintain the compliance with the international standards (CODEX). The implementation of Food Safety Management System helps any organization that is involved in the food chain to produce and distribute the safe food. This FSMS can be strengthened with the implementation of certain technological tools. Even though the food operators especially involved in food service are not showing much interest assuming that, it is highly expensive (in implementing and maintaining the technology), the food safety experts are of opinion that, this advancement in the food industry will definitely elevate the level of food safety protocols and procedures.
Following are the few technological tools which can be incorporated in the food industries.
Sensors: These helps in ensuring that, the food is stored at required temperature. For instance, the installation of centralised continuous refrigeration monitoring system signals when the temperature of chiller and/or freezers rise above the safe holding temperature. This prevents the food waste due to the temperature abuse and also prevents the health of consumers by storing the food properly.
Digital auditing tools: These can be used as replacement for the pen and paper auditing method which results in increased labor, time, error and expenses. These tools provide the data which are easy to access and analyse when compared to hard copy data which are hard to organize and access.
Mobile applications/solutions: Many food businesses are providing the downloadable application to it’s employees which advances the method of conducting inspections, conducting trainings, maintenance of documents, accessing the food code information etc. The essential and critical information about food safety can be provided to the employees in effective way using these applications.
The use of technology in the food industry helps in boosting the operating system, prevention of food spoilage, reduction in labor cost and helps in avoiding the food borne illnesses. Digital tools provide the real time data and visual records using photos and videos and hence helps in reducing or eliminating the “Pencil Whipping” (where employees using paper record systems falsely records or cheat on their processes). The digital tools have become easily accessible and widespread; therefore, the food safety experts suggest the food businesses to invest on this innovative technology which will surely help in reducing the labor cost, minimize the chances of food waste/spoilage and food borne illnesses. The use of this technology can be considered as critical in keeping the food and consumers healthy and safe and also the reputation of the food businesses.