Whilst 2016 was certainly a year of change for the food manufacturing sector, 2017 has managed to top this by throwing even more upheaval at the industry. With the socioeconomical fallout from Brexit still causing uncertainty, plus announcements entailing a complete overhaul of how the industry is regulated and a number of food safety scandals involving big players like 2 Sisters Food Group – 2017 so far has been tumultuous to say the least.
It is becoming clear that despite the public image of commitment to food safety by manufacturers, many businesses are still cutting corners in this area, due to ever-increasing pressure to reduce costs and maximize profit. At a time when the emphasis from bodies like the Food Standards Agency seems to be on self-regulation, manufacturers need be proactive and seek out systems that will not only streamline costs, but decrease the length of time that passes between a food safety incident and it’s detection.
Technology’s capacity to fulfill this has already been demonstrated in spades. With a smartphone, we can now remotely monitor data and take action in just a few taps, be it to trade shares, track the numbers of steps taken a day or to turn down the heating at home.
Investment in technologies by food manufacturers must always be considered in the context of the changing food safety landscape and, in particular, how the technologies will help them stand out to regulatory bodies for the right reasons.
This paper outlines some crucial upcoming changes to the way we ‘do’ food safety regulation and looks at a few technologies presently being utilized by forward-thinking players in the food manufacturing sector, with real life examples. These include robotics and automation, on-line monitoring tools, smart packaging and e-Learning systems.
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