My motto with my kids has always been “Safety First!” Maybe it’s just because I am overprotective and want to make sure that they are aware of their surroundings, but I believe that it also has something to do with my background as a food buyer and product developer.
Sound far-fetched? Let me explain.
Having toured hundreds, if not thousands, of food manufacturing facilities around the world (including the one in Thailand, pictured here), it is obvious that we, as food customers, need to be vigilant about where our food is actually being produced. If a plant does not have an annual food safety audit and inspection, I question why. Is it because they are uneducated or perhaps have been dealing with customers who have not required this in the past? Whatever the reason, it is essential that certain safety standards be maintained. If a plant does not have a third-party annual audit, I help steer them in the right direction to make this happen.
Since I create custom products for manufacturers to sell to retailers, inspections are a top priority. As a food shopper, I want to be assured that anything I buy in a supermarket or specialty store has been audited. Most food retailers are on top of this when it comes to their in-house (private label/own label) brands and have a highly qualified staff of Quality Assurance Auditors that visit the plants prior to putting any of that plant’s products on shelf. They do this in addition to reviewing all paperwork and audits on file as an extra safety precaution to protect their brand.
Why is this really necessary? Well, it only takes one incident of a customer getting sick or worse (!) to damage a store’s image and brand; an image or brand that has taken years to build.
If you are a retailer focused on promoting your brand, then please be sure to ask your manufacturers to provide you with the appropriate third-party audits on an annual basis. I truly believe the tagline, “Safety is Job #1” when it comes to any food that we consume. There are so many worries in life; our food supply chain does not have to be one of them.