According to the World Health Organization, more than 200 diseases are spread through food, and 1 in 10 people experience the unpleasant effects of a foodborne illness each year . Thankfully, safe food preparation can prevent many food safety incidents, making both proper training and the right tools very important in food business settings.

More organizations are investing in smart, knowledge-based solutions that can help them avoid preventable problems. These solutions are able to provide ongoing compliance and education for managers and employees, which in turn assures greater food safety.

Reasons for the Shift

Organizations are implementing smart food safety solutions for several reasons, including:

  • Increasing food chain complexity: Our global food chains are longer and more complex today than they were in the past. And food contamination can occur during stages such as production, processing, transport, storage and preparation. Advanced solutions are needed so that food remains safe to eat as it travels from farm to fork.
  • High turnover: The food-related industries and foodservice in particular experience high turnover, which can complicate training and increase the risk for lapses in food safety. Smart solutions that simplify tasks, offer guidance to employees and drive a reduction in error are essential for ensuring consistent and continuous food safety.
  • The need to be proactive: It’s always better to be proactive than reactive in business, especially when customer health is at stake. Alerts and data collection and reporting enable managers and employees to be aware of potential or occurring issues so that corrective actions can be taken more quickly and affordably. Data also drives continuous improvement by giving organizations greater insight into their operations.

Solutions at Work

There are numerous connected solutions that can support food safety, including:

  • Digital HACCP/ food safety management systems: Digital systems allow employees to access checklists to track the completion of important and recurring workplace tasks and benefit from training materials to expand their knowledge of food safety. These platforms also offer unprecedented reporting opportunities to the end-user, allowing performance monitoring and continuous improvement.
  • Intelligent dispensers: Today, hand soap and sanitizer dispensers exist that report product levels so that managers have insight on usage and can ensure units are always filled. If usage is unusually low, managers can use this information as an opportunity to educate workers about the benefits and recommended frequency of hand hygiene. Additionally, if the dispenser’s batteries are running low, employees can use them like a manual dispenser so that they can still perform hand hygiene before preparing or serving food.
  • Temperature monitoring systems: Maintaining proper food temperatures is essential for keeping food fresh and safe. Static temperature monitoring solutions use sensors to gauge the temperature of food during storage and send email and text alerts to managers to signal deviations and allow them to take actions. By automating the process, businesses have more control and can quickly resolve issues to reduce the risk of food safety incidents. In addition to risk management, this added transparency also helps maintain food safety compliance.
  • Cloud-based ware washing platforms: Clean dishes are key to food safety, and the proper water temperature, time, mechanical action and cleaning product must be used to thoroughly clean dishes. Today, there are cloud-based systems that connect to a restaurant’s dishwashers to track key ware washing data to not only ensure hygiene compliance but also attain the highest possible operational performance, allowing waste and costs reduction.

A Safer Future

Lapses in food safety can severely impact customers’ health and lead to death in the most severe cases. Additionally, the foodservice establishment, retailer or food supplier involved may face negative press, costly recalls, government fines and lawsuits, lower-than-usual sales or even business closures in the wake of a public food safety issue. Food safety outbreaks can also reduce consumer confidence in food businesses as a whole.

Thankfully, maintaining food safety is becoming easier with the help of smart solutions that provide ongoing monitoring and support to organizations. By implementing technology solutions such as temperature, food safety or hygiene monitoring, businesses can avoid preventable food safety issues. Even more encouraging is that these solutions are just the beginning of how technology can support food safety and protect customers and brands around the world.

This post was written and contributed by:

Werner Linders,
Global Director,
Diversey Consulting


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