The food industry is being inundated with quality standards. In addition to the legal standards, large companies are putting food suppliers under increasing pressure. Buyers decide to hold supplier audits more and more often. As a result, quality managers and staff are under mounting pressure. So what do these increasingly strict requirements mean for the food industry?
Every food producer has its own views regarding food safety. Where one producer carries out a plastic and glass inspection after each clean-up, another may just carry one out once a month. The time that is saved by carrying out an inspection just once a month can be used for the visitor registration, for example. Each producer has its hands full dealing with its own priorities, which increase the work pressure and work load.
Audits are typically performed at agreed times, so companies can prepare themselves as well as possible for these checks. During an audit, employees are extra aware of their work: visual hygiene is of paramount importance and activities are carefully executed according to protocol. As a result, the results of these annual audit snapshots actually say very little about the everyday situation.
The food industry is constantly in flux. Buyers get raw materials from all over the world and regularly change suppliers. The strict safety requirements that suppliers have to adhere to promote employment and encourage discussions on topics such as food safety and material hazards.
A single autonomous standard guarantees rest in the food industry. Combined with unannounced audits, this also boosts the confidence of the producers. So is this a feasible scenario? Or is the method we currently use keeping the industry healthy and on its toes?
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