Food Standards Saves Lives, Technology Makes it Sustainable

World Food Safety day 2023

Every day, 1.6 million people across the world fall ill due to unsafe food (WHO). This has a significant impact on not only individuals, but societies and economies as well. 

Food safety represents an essential issue with considerable shared responsibility. From farmers to multinational food manufacturers to family restaurants, many stakeholders must collaborate to ensure that our food is safe for consumption.

This year's theme for World Food Safety Day - "Food Standards Save Lives," highlights the importance of food safety practices to protect the lives of all, and the livelihoods of many. 

Food safety and standards establish the criteria which food should meet to protect consumers and establish confidence in the product. But they are more than just compliance; they represent a moral and ethical duty we all share in ensuring safe and nutritious food for all. 

As food and beverage providers, regulatory bodies, and other stakeholders come together to explore opportunities to enhance food safety standards, they are beginning to look beyond the traditional role of the food safety expert. From GFSI to the EFSA to the FDA and other global regulators, proposed enhanced regulations are likely to require enhanced supply chain visibility and improved traceability for certain food categories. 

In this new era for food safety, food and beverage (F&B) industry leaders are co-innovating with technology partners like Veeva on purpose-built digital solutions to reduce risk, enhance transparency, and build trust in food supply chains. Outfitted with tools like these, food safety practitioners are better equipped to deliver safe, sustainable, and compliant foods to consumers worldwide.

Read on to discover what lies ahead for evolving food safety standards, and learn why it's the perfect moment to explore innovative digital solutions to enhance your food safety operations.

A More Rigorous, Expanded Landscape For Food Safety Standards 

Food safety standards and regulations are constantly evolving, which inevitably leads to expanded requirements. These requirements now extend beyond the traditional realm of food safety, and necessitate a more integrated environment. Specifically, there is a need for enhanced interaction and transparency among functions such as scientific regulatory affairs, marketing, and ESG, requiring seamless sharing and analyzing of data. 

So what requirements are most likely to change and how? We expect to see two major trends. 

1. More rigorous food safety standards:

We expect new or revised standards to broaden to include areas such as: 

  • Allergen management – Documented validation and verification training and periodic review to name a few. 
  • Environmental monitoring – Moving from just having a risk based program and procedure for monitoring effectiveness of controls, and trend analysis to including program review at defined intervals based on identified non conformance instances. 
  • Final traceability rule – Applying to items on the Full Traceability List (FTL) the FDA’s final rule on requirements for Additional Traceability Records. 

In addition, regulators are putting additional focus on elements/contaminants, with ever decreasing maximum residue limit (MRL) limits impacting food safety and particularly how ingredients get managed at an operational level.

2. Expanded functional scope:

We anticipate that safety management systems and certifications will soon involve work activities not traditionally included or required in food safety management, including those more closely connected to SRA, R&D or Marketing functions. Some examples of these “non traditional” areas include:

  • Product labeling – Claims are made on labels, and validation to support these claims, must be maintained and have verification systems in place to ensure continued compliance which includes traceability. 
  • Equipment Management – Expectations are rising for a documented risk-based change management approach process for procurement of new equipment or changes to existing manufacturing equipment. 
  • Packaging Management – F&B organizations that manufacture their own packaging need to have established criteria for the use of recycled packaging as a raw material into the production of finished packaging material.

Compliance deadlines that are inching closer are not making this any easier, as getting organizational alignment on future or even existing common systems is normally a time consuming affair.

Technology’s Role in Enabling Sustainable Food Safety Success

Now we are clear that more rigorous, expanded food safety requirements are increasing the complexity of food safety management across the F&B industry. This is shining a spotlight on the need for transparent risk assessment, management and process review. For example, effective solutions for integrated food safety training to ensure organizational alignment will be essential going forward to produce the safe food customers are expecting.

At Veeva, our team regularly partners with leading F&B enterprises, so we understand the challenge of exchanging crucial information between subject matter experts in R&D and SRA, and food safety teams in factories. This information is often housed in siloed systems or documents, and shared manually with factories for review and updates to local food safety plans. Unfortunately, this is a cumbersome process that duplicates efforts, making it hard to sync information with the source. 

Modern digital food safety management solutions can simplify this complex workflow with streamlined dissemination of accurate, up-to-date data, so that food safety teams can focus on implementing the latest and greatest products and processes with confidence.

How to Modernize Food Safety Management for a Safer World

As F&B organizations step change their food safety programs and expand to meet these standards and regulations with a more holistic approach, we recommend asking yourselves the following questions:

  • Can I support rapid product innovation by ensuring proper due diligence when validating new product claims?
  • Am I able to gain control over product registrations and costs and reduce risk of regulatory oversight?
  • Is my food safety solution able to manage all of food safety and quality events in a single unified environment?
  • Does my training platform connect and integrate seamlessly with my food safety and quality management system processes?
  • Does my existing food safety system support the maintenance of a food safety culture

Satisfying all of these aspects of digital food safety management will leave your organization well positioned to ensure the safe supply of food and beverages that meets not only regulatory standards and requirements but also the demands of your customers and consumers on a consistent basis for safe food.


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