Businesses must constantly balance providing the best products for consumers with maintaining financial growth, which may lead companies to cut corners where they shouldn’t, such as in food safety systems. While this may be easier said than done, there are ways to ensure the consistent quality and safety of your food products.
If you’re debating whether a state-of-the-art food inspection system is worth it for your food processing facility, you should know the consequences of inadequate food inspection before deciding.
The Risks of Inadequate Food Inspection
Improper food safety in food production has serious consequences for the company and the consumers who buy its products. Without sufficient food inspection systems, contaminated food products could reach the shelves and spread illnesses to your customers, potentially leading to expensive lawsuits and health code violations.
Ensuring your business strictly follows all the food safety rules to keep pollutants like plastics, metals, and toxins out of your products prevents your company from being the cause of a public health issue and the resulting financial hardship.
Foodborne Illnesses and Outbreaks
Inadequate food safety practices lead to the spread of foodborne diseases, which puts a heavy burden on the medical expenses and productivity of countries across the globe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately one in ten people worldwide becomes ill from eating contaminated food every year, with 40% being children under five.
Economic Impacts and Loss of Consumer Trust
Having to recall products because they caused illness or injury to consumers is a nightmare for any business, and it’s not just because of the massive hit the company’s reputation will take as a result. Not only will customers lose trust in your brand, but you’ll also lose revenue from the recalled products.
Legal Consequences and Penalties
Your business must follow the guidelines of the federal agencies or health departments that govern the food industry in your location, which in the U.S. include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Food safety regulations enforce practices that keep consumers safe from things like food contamination, and violating these rules can have severe consequences, such as steep penalties or loss of operating licenses, depending on the type of violation.
If a lack of sufficient food inspection leads to a consumer’s illness, you might also have to fight legal battles if the injured party files a lawsuit for damages.
Examples of Inadequate Food Inspection
Product recalls happen fairly regularly, leading to large quantities of food going to waste because of a mistake that wasn’t caught before the products got to consumers. Having the right inspection equipment in your facility can prevent recalls that damage your reputation and finances.
Here are a few real-world examples of food inspection failures:
Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Recall
In April 2022, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency recalled some of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream flavors and products from a few other brands (President’s Choice, Best Buy, and Scotsburn Joins Farmers) because they might have contained pieces of plastic and metal.
High-tech X-ray inspection systems can find foreign materials, like tiny bits of metal and plastic, before they leave the production facility, preventing recalls and potential harm to consumers.
Beef Patty Recall
OSI Industries, a Wisconsin-based company, had to recall over 4,000 pounds of frozen ready-to-eat beef patties in October 2019 when it discovered metal in its products during processing. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) urged facilities that might have the products in freezer storage and anyone else who purchased the beef patties to dispose of or return the items.
With reliable food metal detectors, you can efficiently check all your products, whether frozen meats or baked goods, to ensure no metals contaminate them.
Nestle Hot Pockets Recall
The USDA reported in January 2021 that Nestle recalled over 760,000 pounds of pepperoni Hot Pockets after they received four complaints from consumers who found extraneous material in their food, specifically pieces of hard plastic and glass. The FSIS received one report of a minor oral injury.
X-ray inspection systems help you avoid massive recalls by detecting foreign materials that could injure consumers, such as glass, hard plastic, ceramic, and bone.
The Role of Government and Regulatory Bodies in Food Inspection
Food safety agencies exist to establish and enforce regulations for the food industry to protect public health. They work with law and food industry experts to craft food handling and production guidelines and regularly inspect facilities to ensure companies follow the rules.
In the U.S., the primary food safety organization is the FDA, which regulates domestic and foreign food products sold in the country. However, when it comes to the safety of meat, egg, and poultry products, the USDA’s FSIS is the main regulatory body.
On the state level, smaller agencies help carry out federal regulations, provide food safety education, and establish state laws for food processing and handling.
Inspection and Enforcement Procedures
Health inspectors from your local food safety departments can drop in anytime to check whether your company complies with federal guidelines. During a routine inspection, the food inspector looks for various possible violations, including:
- Failure to follow time and temperature control protocols
- Poor hygiene practices
- Insufficient sanitation
- Improper storage of food products
The health inspector will provide a report on your facility’s food safety system, including descriptions of any violations they discover. Depending on the violation, your business will have a specific time frame to correct the issue before a re-inspection.
The Benefits of Proper Food Inspection
These cutting-edge food inspection systems keep your customers safe, which helps build trust in your brand and prevent costly lawsuits and government penalties.
Improved Public Health and Safety
You can protect the public from foodborne illnesses and potential injuries from foreign objects by detecting potentially harmful objects in your products before they go to consumers.
Instead of having to recall your products after the damage is done, you can use a detection system to identify risks and prevent food safety issues before they happen.
Increased Consumer Confidence and Trust
If your company has to recall its products, that one incident can lead to many consumers no longer trusting your food items. By using inspection systems to prevent recalls from happening, you can foster trust with your customers and improve satisfaction with your products.
Protection of Brand Reputation and Financial Stability
Not only do food inspection systems keep your reputation safe from harm by ensuring your products are consistently meeting quality standards and are safe to consume, but they also save your business money by streamlining your processes and reducing waste.
Contact TDI Packsys for Customized Food Safety Solutions
Now that you know the consequences of inadequate food inspection, you might be wondering how you can implement food inspection systems in your facility to prevent public health risks and protect your business from damage.