In many industries, paper record-keeping is a thing of the past. But in the food industry, food safety activities are still largely recorded by hand. So what does a digital food safety system actually do?
A digital food safety system automatically captures and transmits food safety activities and data to cloud-based software—in real-time. It’s a faster, easier and more accurate way to monitor and respond to food safety issues.
Key elements of a digital food safety system
Many systems address just one aspect of food safety, such as temperatures only. But it pays to invest in an end-to-end system that covers the full spectrum of activities. This will provide maximum transparency and efficiency in your practices.
An end-to-end digital food safety system should cover four key areas of food safety management:
1. Temperature monitoring
Safe food starts with safe storage. A digital food safety system will give you peace of mind that your stock is safely stored at all times, thanks to wireless sensors fixed to the inside of fridges, freezers, coolrooms, display cabinets and dishwashers.
Sensors collect data continuously and transmit it to the cloud using wireless networking technology (e.g. wifi, cellular or zigbee). It also means management can check temperature data from anywhere—not just on site. You’ll never lose stock again or be unsure whether to keep or throw out food due to an equipment malfunction or power outage. Email/SMS alerts and detailed reporting will make it clear what needs to be done and when.
2. Temperature probing tasks
During food preparation, cooking, chilling, reheating and serving, busy staff can quickly log temperatures with wireless food probes. Data goes directly from the probe to the software—no pen and paper, no stopping and starting, and most importantly, no human error.
The staff member simply selects the food item (e.g. “chicken thigh – cooked”) and batch being probed (for traceability) and inserts the probe into each item. The reading is automatically taken once the probe is inserted.
3. Cleaning, hygiene and maintenance tasks
Forget paper checklists—with a digital food safety system you can digitally and remotely assign, coordinate and track all hygiene and maintenance tasks across your operations. Tasks can be configured to specific areas and require manager verification.
4. Performance monitoring, reporting and auditing
Finally, with a digital system you can easily run reports for senior management and auditors to demonstrate compliance with food safety standards. One centralised system means there’s no filing and retrieving of records spread across multiple sites or work areas — the data is accessible in one central place, from anywhere.
All data is fully traceable by batch in the event of a food poisoning claim, so you can disprove any negligence. You can also spot trends over time and analyse practices within teams and sites. this allows you to rewards performance, adjust your process and target training areas that need it.