Professional in a lab coat and protective gear working on food safety tests
Food Safety

Building Food Trust

Published: May 08, 2024
Professional in a lab coat and protective gear working on food safety tests
Food Safety

Building trust in food is a complex problem for business and society to solve. But it’s also an opportunity for organisations in the supply chain to capture market share and expand their bottom line.


People everywhere have expectations around the quality, safety, and value of the food they consume. The nature of today’s global and complex society presents challenges to these expectations as supply chains expand, become less transparent, and harder to control. Regulatory change, resource scarcity, food fraud, and ethics are some of the additional concerns threatening food trust. No one is immune to these growing challenges.

Food trust helps to reassure consumers that the food they eat is safe, healthy, and good to eat. To build this trust, it is more important than ever for organisations to have solid food safety processes such as those outlined in food safety schemes including ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Systems, Safe Quality Food (SQF), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and FSSC 22000.

Building trust should be a guiding principle for all organisations, but it can mean something different to every company. International food safety management standards apply to any food-related organisation regardless of size or position in the supply chain, providing the framework on effective management of their food safety program.

Concerns with Food Safety

We have seen that foodborne illnesses, contamination, food fraud, and product recalls frequently make the news headlines. Most organisations take food safety issues very seriously – it is a non-negotiable priority. Companies hit by recalls and safety issues are aware of the issues they need to deal with, and in most cases, will try to implement solutions. So, why are safety issues still occurring, when most organisations consider it a priority?

Some organisations are struggling to ensure their processes and systems keep up with changes in global food supply and production. Solutions can fall victim to organisational resistance, lack of resources and time, or poor supplier relationships. One of the main issues can be an over-emphasis on performance and profit, without the counter-balance of safety, quality, and trust.

Sometimes a problem can be attributed to culture and governance, requiring an increase of expectations on management to follow through on safety and quality practices on the shop floor. At other times, it could be because a company is being attacked by a fraudulent person looking to take advantage. Or perhaps it’s because one supplier among thousands in a supply chain doesn’t take their food safety commitments seriously.

Some organisations are not as well-prepared as they think for the risks that could come their way. Sometimes, in companies that have experienced quality failures and recalls, the problems are considered bad luck, rather than a result of not integrating a safety and quality focus into all parts of their business.

Building Food Trust

In preparing for the worst and building resilience, organisations can make their own luck. Companies who do not plan could lose customers and revenue because of quality and safety issues – and it’s too costly to ignore.

Food organisations should create a sense of purpose, a business strategy, and a culture based upon the customer value proposition of food trust, if they want to keep growth and success on the menu. The implementation of management systems that align food safety schemes and standards can help.

Global standards, such as ISO 22000, can help bring focus to best practice, build resilience and trust, and allow an organisation to compete strongly on the quality and confidence their food inspires. Organisations can choose to apply a number of food safety standards and schemes including but not limited to:

  • ISO 22000 – this standard maps out what an organisation needs to do to demonstrate control of food safety. It sets out the requirements for a Food Safety Management System at 2 levels – Organisational Planning and Operational Planning. It is HACCP-based and can be applied to all organisations within the food supply chain regardless of its complexity.

  • FSSC 22000 – a food safety certification scheme based on ISO 22000. It integrates HACCP principles, implementation plans, PRPs, and additional GFSI requirements. It offers a framework for businesses to meet food safety and quality responsibilities, covering food safety management, total supply chain management, and hazard control. Recognised by GFSI, it provides a practical structure for managing food safety throughout the supply chain.
  • HACCP – an internationally-recognised preventative method of identifying and managing food safety related risks. It provides stakeholder assurance that a food safety program is effectively managed for the production of safe food.
  • SQF – a framework recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). There are multiple industry specific standards within the suite of SQF Food Safety and Quality standards which are designed to meet industry, customer, and regulatory requirements for all sectors of the food supply chain – from the farm all the way to the retail stores.

Application of a global framework can allow an organisation to maintain their focus on food safety while facing day-to-day battles on many fronts to fight off competition, grow revenue, and cut costs.

Many organisations are entering new markets to stay competitive. Sourcing from low-cost suppliers, diversifying the supplier base, and outsourcing core functions are some of the common practices used to control costs that could increase business risks. The application of food safety schemes can help mitigate these risks.

It’s the decisions made across the whole organisation that can impact an organisation’s products, their brand, and the trust people have in them. From procurement, finance, safety and quality, marketing, compliance, acquisitions, and the senior management team and board, building trust in food is everyone’s responsibility.

From compliance to competitive advantage

World-class food companies are setting standards internally and voluntarily that are far more stringent than those required by law. Instead of complying with regulatory safety requirements at a minimum, they aim for exceptional quality that distinguishes them from their competition and in turn, builds consumer trust and brand loyalty.

Find out more information on ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Systems and HACCP training.

 

 

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