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7 reasons to put food safety as your priority
Human beings and animals need food to survive. Therefore, we all need to get food, but not just any kind of food. The food should be safe for people to consume. This is what is meant by food safety, the proper method of handling, preparing, and storing food so as to prevent food-borne illnesses. Such practice covers every stage of production, from farming and processing to transportation and consumption.
During these stages of production, food would likely be exposed to different types of food contaminants, such as natural toxins, parasites, bacteria, and traces of heavy metals. Food safety practices aim to eliminate these contaminants by keeping them at levels allowed by food departments. Therefore, any person who handles food should prioritize safety and do so correctly to avoid contaminating food and making it unsafe for consumption.
Why Should You Prioritize Food Safety?
Food safety is vital for both producers and consumers. However, consumers may not have much to do with controlling the levels of contaminants in the food they buy, so safety should begin from the first stage of production. So when producers get food, they should observe safety protocols in the way they store and handle it.
There are many reasons why safety should be prioritized when dealing with food. Here are some of them.
To Prevent Food-Borne Illnesses
Food poisoning is a major concern for everyone. It’s caused by contaminants found in food, such as bacteria, when they’re improperly stored. Food poisoning can be fatal for children and the elderly and those who have a weak immune system.
To avoid food poisoning, it’s vital to have a food safety plan, which would outline how food should be packaged and stored even when in the consumers’ hands. Messages like ‘store in a cool and dry place’ could notify consumers to store the food away from wet areas, which could trigger the growth of bacteria and fungi. When food safety guidelines are in place, food contaminants could be controlled, hence preventing any food-borne illnesses.
To Avoid Wastage Of Food Products
When food is contaminated, it shouldn’t be eaten. Instead, this fooid has to be thrown away. Also, any contaminated food shouldn’t be released to consumers as it would involve considerable risk to their health.
Disposing of contaminated food causes a lot of wastage not only to producers but also to consumers. So to avoid this, follow all food safety guidelines, such as how to properly store food. When this is observed, the chances of contamination will likely be low. Your food would be suitable for distribution and consumption. Hence, you’d be able to reduce wastage during production and when they’re already in the hands of your consumers.
To Gain Customers’ Trust
Customers want to buy safe and healthy food all the time. If any one of your products is contaminated and causes food poisoning, they’d lose trust in all your products. Some customers may let it pass if it’d happen only once. But there are consumers who’d take it seriously and forego all your products entirely. And surely, you wouldn’t want that.
Losing customers would be detrimental to your food business as this kind of business requires products to move to consumers as soon as possible due to their short shelf life. So if you want to retain consumer loyalty, it’s crucial to prioritize food safety. If you let your customers see your products as suitable for consumption, you’d be the first brand they’d think of whenever they want to go food shopping.
To Avoid Legal Battles
If your food products are reported to have caused food poisoning, you risk many legal battles, which are both expensive and time-consuming. You could face other penalties, too. Therefore, the best way to avoid this is to prioritize food safety in your company. You can do this by documenting a detailed food safety plan your company should follow and training employees.
If you're taken to court, you can present the training logs and food safety records as evidence that contamination didn't happen on your side. Maintaining food safety and documenting it would help protect your business from any legal liability.
To Reduce The Economic Costs Of Contamination
People producing and selling food do so to make profits. Like any other business, they want to reduce excess expenses that don't add value to their company. Food contamination has several negative economic implications to producers and consumers, such as these listed below:
Food contamination can lead to loss of money through settling legal fees and compensation whenever your products are accused of food poisoning.
Disposing of food products after investing a lot of money in the production and purchase leads to wastage of resources. As an investment, it causes losses and affects your overall revenue. Consumers may also be forced to purchase other products.
Medical costs incurred by consumers when they have to treat food poisoning could be too expensive and affect their budget, especially if their insurance coverage doesn't cater to cases of food poisoning.
Making food safety a priority will save your business from lawsuits. When lawsuits happen, you’d have to cover extra costs to correct mistakes that could've been avoided if you had practiced food safety.
To Prevent Cross-Contamination
Cross-contamination occurs when contaminated food passes the bacteria or other contaminants to safe food. This commonly happens when different types of food are stored together. If, for example, contaminated meat is placed close to fruits, the fruits would likely be contaminated, too.
Putting food safety a priority would help guide you on how you should store food. While the first action is to dispose of contaminated food, you may forget to do so or realize it early enough. Therefore, it’s best to follow proper guidelines and protect your other food items.
To Avoid Accountability And For Compliance
Some regulations require a certain standard of food safety measures from all food handlers. Inspectors can pay your business or kitchen a visit any time to determine if you meet these standards. When they visit, they’d expect you to have a documented food safety plan and employee training. When you’re compliant with regulations on food safety and meet all the required standards, you’d be on the safe side of the law, and you can keep operating your business.
Food safety is essential and should be prioritized in any stage food goes through, starting from the farm to the point it lands in consumers’ hands. If you’re in the food industry, you can't afford to sell contaminated food as poisoning could be fatal. Also, other implications may arise with food contamination. So to avoid all these, prioritizing food safety is most important.