The dairy supply chain has become increasingly complex, thanks to a proliferation of new products and packaging options, as well as increasingly stringent regulatory requirements. Other challenges for those along the dairy supply chain include the need to keep dairy products cold from packaging to transport, and thin margins that make cost controls essential.

The opportunities to help ensure food safety and quality along the chain are varied, from animal health, to milking equipment and employee hygiene, to water quality. But wherever you are in the process, here are three strategies that can help ensure food safety – and the success of your business – from cow to cart.

1.  Identify relevant hazards and ensure their control

Being aware of sources of contamination is an important first step. Across your operation, consider the complex connections that can impact food safety and quality. This includes known transmission routes, as well as new routes that may develop following changes in your operations and processes.

2.  Implement an effective program

Next, you need to design a program that addresses food safety and quality hazards effectively. This means developing and implementing proven preventive controls and empowering staff with training and the information needed so that procedures and practices are successfully carried out.

You’ll also need to find and implement effective cleaning and sanitizing solutions. A successful cleaning program ensures that target soils and equipment are matched with the right formulated cleaner. A good sanitizer can improve safety by fighting against pathogenic bacteria; and can contribute to cleaning through mineral descaling. By keeping spoilage organisms, like spores, yeasts, and molds in check, sanitizers can increase dairy product’s shelf life – a major benefit for everyone along the chain.

3.  Leverage analytics, software and human intervention

Perhaps the biggest opportunity lies in technology. In today’s world, technology can help you monitor and measure what’s happening across your operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can get and use data to make informed decisions to continually verify controls and prove effectiveness, direct corrective actions appropriately to take food safety and quality to the next level. You can achieve:

  • Better milk quality through a monitoring and tracking approach
  • Greater operational efficiency because of optimized processes that reduce waste and create labor savings
  • Improved compliance and reduced food safety risk, due to daily visibility of compliance to standard operating procedures including corrective action when needed

An efficient, effective supply chain is key to success within the dairy industry, and technology will become increasingly critical as the supply chain grows more complex. How can we work together across the industry to leverage an Internet of Things (IOT) enabled food safety system? Join Danone, Walmart and Ecolab in a conversation demonstrating how a digital approach to food safety increases agility, flexibility and speed, improving food safety in real time across the supply chain.

Attend the Ecolab special session “Securing Safety Across the Supply Chain: From Cow to Cart” on Wednesday 7th March from 08.15 – 09.15 in Châtelet  at GFSI's Global Food Safety Conference.

This post was written and contributed by:

Scott Burnett
Director of Food Safety and Quality, Global Food and Beverage Division


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