According to the UK Food Security Report 2021 (chapter, Food Safety and Consumer Confidence), most consumers in the UK trust the food they buy and eat to be safe and accurately labelled. Indeed, the level of food business compliance with food safety regulations remains generally high.
Reports of food safety incidents have increased since 2010. Although this is largely due to better detection rates and reporting, it does highlight the need for food practitioners to constantly be aware that incidents of food poisoning, outbreaks and allergic reactions are always a real risk. With this in mind, restauranteurs and caterers should make it their business to regularly update themselves and their teams on the importance of temperature monitoring for food and how bad practices can affect their customers and their business.
Implications of poor food safety
Poor food safety practices can damage your business reputation and brand. If your food is contaminated due to poor food safety practices, you will have to:
- withdraw contaminated food products,
- stop individuals from consuming them, and
- your business will potentially suffer from reputational damage.
Damage to your reputation, even when repaired, can create a dent in the perceived credibility of your business. By following proper food safety practices, you can help prevent reputational risk and protect yourself against potential litigation, bad social media reviews, and more.
Maintaining the correct temperature of food is crucial for ensuring food safety. Food that is not stored or cooked at the right temperature can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria, which can cause foodborne illnesses. This can be particularly dangerous for new businesses if they do not have staff with the experience or knowledge to implement proper food safety practices.
According to the Food Standards Agency of the UK, it is important to use a calibrated probe thermometer to check and monitor the temperature of food as part of your food safety HACCP management system.
Remember to ensure that temperatures measured are also recorded. To simplify the process, use a digital temperature monitoring system that allows you to take temperature readings across multiple locations if necessary, and which also allows you to record data and retrieve reports whenever these are required for audits and inspections.
How many times have you tried to retrieve information of any kind, only to find that the information you need can’t be found? Maybe it was filed incorrectly, maybe it was deleted in error, or maybe the ‘correct’ file was incomplete or contained bad data. Keeping accurate, reliable and accessible records is critical in a highly regulated food safety environment.
Reduce the risks of manual processes by using a digital HACCP system that can provide your HACCP records automatically. As well as providing real-time reporting, a digital system provides data analysis and insights that can highlight trends at sites, allowing you to make data-driven decisions to help improve the business.
Securing your data
Finally, remember to always ensure that your data, particularly data kept digitally, is secure. Losing your data or being a victim of a cyber attack not only inconveniences your business, but risks losing data that you need for EHO inspections and audits. Whatever the food safety system you employ, make sure it gives you the flexibility to assign roles and permissions only to staff members as required. Opt for a system that has been developed for GDPR compliance, with vulnerability management and threat modelling incorporated into its security testing. Any system should also includes controls such as multi-factor authentication.
Food safety in always the number one priority in the hospitality industry. Poor food safety practices can risk your customers’ health and damage your business reputation and brand. Use digital technologies to improve food safety processes and reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. By adopting best practices both in food safety and your digital technology, you can help protect your customers, your business, and your brand.
For more on digital HACCP for hospitality, contact Kelsius.