Food Safety Management System in Retail and Food Service

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As we continue to see the food and beverage industry change and grow, more risk and more challenges emerge. This is especially true for retail and foodservice operations. The vast number of suppliers and number of operating units that you need to manage makes it all the more important that you have a robust Food Safety Management System (FSMS) in place to help address food safety, quality and compliance risk. Recalls can be a frequent occurrence, particularly in retail, and it’s critical that you have the right system in place to manage these.  When implementing a FSMS for retail and foodservice these key areas will be crucial to maintain brand protection and consumer trust:

 Document Management

Compliance is key these days and being audit and/or inspection ready at all times is a necessity. Having a good Document Control system will ensure that you have standardized processes and procedures that can be easily communicated and trained on.  It will help reduce your paper/binder/file burden and provide an organized centralized system in which to pull information from.  It will make the creation, review, approval and management of documents and records easier and more efficient for both corporate and site level team members.  Auditors and inspectors will then have easy, quick access for document and record reviews.

 Supplier Management

In our expanding global economy and the ever increasing demand for new and different food choices, we are finding ourselves adding more and more suppliers to our roster.  Therefore, it is important that you have a good system in place for Supplier Management.  This could include the selection and approval of suppliers, developing or managing product specifications, completing product reviews and managing communication and collaboration to ensure that incoming products are wholesome, safe and high quality.  Conversely, you will also need suppliers that can trust to help you properly manage adverse situations such as recalls. A good Supplier Management tool will allow you to:

  • Manage your supplier base
  • Store critical information such as 3rd party audits or GFSI certifications
  • Plan and manage approval and re-assessment activities
  • Manage product specifications

 Audit Management

As food safety evolves there has been greater focus on ensuring that retail and foodservice sites are being audited and inspected on a regular basis. While we all believe it is critical to have focus on food safety every day, all the time, it is no small effort to achieve that state.  Retail and foodservice operations have the additional challenge of high employee turnover and many different management teams that may or may not have the right training and focus when it comes to food safety and quality.  Therefore, internal and external audits become an important tool to access compliance, identify gaps and drive improvement initiatives.  The right Audit Management tool will help you to manage these internal audits as well as any external supplier audits that you may require.

 Customer Complaints/Feedback

There is no way around it…no matter how well you run your business, someone is going to complain or think of ways that you can do it better.  As a multi-site organization, it can be overwhelming capturing all of your customer complaints and feedback data.  Using spreadsheets can only get you so far.  An automated system will allow you to not only capture and record this incoming data, but track and trend, identify issues, alert the right people to an adverse situation, launch an investigation and CAPA, and decide on a resolution and follow-up.  It pulls it all into one centralized location for easy management.

Systems Integration

Lastly, when determining what FSMS works best for you, systems integration needs to be a consideration. If you are using an automated software tool what would it need to integrate with – POS, guest loyalty, ERP, etc?  The right tool will ensure that your FSMS tool integrates with your other technology for more efficient communication and better resource allocation.

These are just a few areas to consider when setting up a robust FSMS in your retail or foodservice business.  EtQ has an automated FSMS solution that can help support your food safety, quality and compliance efforts.  This valuable tool can assist in managing documents, suppliers, audits and complaints.  Technology is the way of the future…why not start implementing it now?

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