Food safety compliance. Sounds boring but it’s also really really important
Earlier this month (June 7th) it was World Food Safety Day! A perfect time to write about food safety compliance. Every year there are about 600 million cases of illnesses caused by food. Unsafe food is a real threat not only to human health but to whole economies. It’s affecting marginalised and vulnerable people the most. Around 400 000 people around the world die every year of contaminated food. Supermarkets, grocery stores and other businesses in the food retail industry are required to follow the legal requirements for food safety. But who decides the rules and what are they?
The general food law
In 2002, the EU food law was improved after a series of food crises in the 1990s. E coli in cucumber and Mad cow disease in hamburger meat, among other scandals took a toll on consumers' trust in food. ‘The general food law’ was passed to prevent such things from happening. The improved law is the cornerstone of EUs regulatory framework and covers the whole food chain from farm to fork.
HACCP is short for ‘Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points’ and is a standardised working method that describes how to systematically map, assess and control hazards in food production. It’s developed within the The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the method is common practise in many countries. In the EU all businesses that handle food in some way are required to comply with HACCP. The overall objective for the method is to make sure the food is safe for the consumer. On top of the HACCP methods, the rules to follow can also be local and be specific for different countries and regions.
In food retail reality this can be rules about open food for example. Like in the deli counter, where packages are broken and the product’s sold in smaller pieces. Then you need to keep a close eye on how long the package has been opened and for how long it can be sold before turning bad. There are also rules about what temperatures fridges and freezers should have to make sure the products are stored accurately. To uphold these rules there are authorities that make sure that all businesses follow them. How this is conducted can vary from country to country, but it’s mostly the responsible authorities that make inspections and act on complaints.
There are several ways to make sure you comply with all the relevant rules for your business. The responsible authorities provide all information you need on their websites. All jokes aside about this being a boring subject, we all should be super thankful that there are strict rules to comply by. As part of our end-to-end solution we have a digital aid that helps you make sure your business stays safe and compliant with the rules. So, leave the boring part to us. If you want to know more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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