What To Know About Food Inspection Software

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female worker using tablet for checking boxes in food factory

Allowing contaminants to end up in products can be a company’s worst nightmare. If this happens to you, not only will you have to dispose of ruined products, but you may face a lawsuit if contaminated food reaches customers.

Food inspection software, also called food management safety software (FMSS), can help prevent bad products from ending up on customers’ plates. Here’s how this high-tech software can assist with your safety inspections.

What Is Food Inspection Software?

Food inspection software is a computer program that can help your business comply with federal regulations and safety guidelines for inspection management. A food safety management system can:

  • Streamline processes for the management of safety protocols
  • Improve the accuracy of data collection
  • Keep records of all your food products automatically
  • Improve customer confidence in your products
  • Provide enhanced visibility for corrective actions

Historical Evolution of Food Inspection Software

Food inspection software is a relatively recent invention, but people have been concerned about the safety of their food for hundreds of years. It’s thought that the first English food law, called the Assize of Bread, was proclaimed by the King of England in 1202. This proclamation prohibited adding ground peas and beans to bread.

Let’s fast forward to more modern times. In 1993, contaminated beef from an American fast food chain caused an E. coli outbreak that sickened more than 700 people across four states. In response, the U.S. began to look for a better food safety regulatory system than the one it had relied on previously.

The food industry saw increased interest in the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. This system was estimated to reduce foodborne illness by 20% in the seven years following its implementation.

Today’s food inspection software is HACCP compliant and highly effective at helping companies prevent foodborne illness outbreaks.

How Does Food Inspection Software Work?

quality control engineer with female worker doing inspection

Think of food inspection software as a digital filing cabinet. Instead of storing food safety reports in a real filing cabinet, which can make it hard to keep track of data, inspection software organizes that data for you in one conveniently accessible place. This makes it much easier to analyze and identify trends.

Food inspection software also uses artificial intelligence to reduce potentially costly mistakes. Humans are prone to making errors, but such problems become much less frequent with the use of a good system to help inspectors collect data.

Functionality will vary by program, but the food inspection software you choose may come with features such as:

  • On-the-fly reporting, which allows you to monitor compliance and track progress in real time
  • Customizable templates you can adjust to suit your business
  • Mobile accessibility for easy access to your data from any internet-connected device
  • Scheduling systems to help you keep up with maintenance
  • A centralized platform that allows staff members to keep in touch about food quality

Food inspection software eliminates many of the problems associated with traditional inspection processes, such as:

  • Poor communication between staff
  • Subjective judgments, which can lead to scoring inconsistencies and errors
  • A time-consuming inspection process
  • A lack of real-time analytics

Benefits and Importance of Food Inspection Software

hand putting wooden cube on top with icons

Buying food inspection software can be a big investment, but it’s well worth making. Here’s why.

Enhance Food Safety

The number-one reason to adopt inspection software is that it increases food safety. This is especially important nowadays, when there seems to be a new foodborne illness outbreak reported in the news every few months.

In 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have so far reported six foodborne outbreaks in products such as ice cream, flour, ground beef, and leafy greens. These products were recalled due to contamination with Listeria, Salmonella, and Hepatitis A.

Every outbreak lowers consumer confidence in the food supply. A food inspection system assures customers that you produce, store, and serve food according to strict quality standards.

Improved Efficiency and Accuracy

Manually writing up a food safety report can take hours out of your already busy day. Food inspection software, on the other hand, allows you to complete inspections much more quickly. Plus, it’s tough to analyze and share the results, and following up on compliance actions can be a real headache.

Food inspection software eliminates that headache for you. It processes inspection reports and data in real time, allowing you to quickly zero in on areas that need improvement. And unlike paper inspection reports, the software has built-in communication tools that make sharing data easy.

Cost Savings

Traditional inspections often require more than one visit, disrupting daily operations for staff and management. Every minute spent dealing with inspections costs your business money. Food inspection software allows inspectors to complete the job much faster, often in one visit.

Food inspection software also allows businesses to discover small issues before they become costly problems. For instance, if one refrigeration unit fails, businesses can take action promptly before the rest of their food spoils.

Challenges and Limitations

laptop with silver padlock on top

Food inspection software can be incredibly helpful, but it doesn’t come without challenges and limitations, as we’ll discuss.

Data Security Privacy

As with any piece of software, data security is a big concern. That’s especially true when it comes to food safety inspection software. Any program you use could hold sensitive private data you don’t want leaked to anyone else.

While it is possible for a bad actor to hack into the software, it’s extremely unlikely. Food inspection software is heavily encrypted and comes with features such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), which requires users to enter their credentials via at least two channels before gaining access.

Some companies resist switching to software because they fear data loss, but your data is far more secure than it would be in an Excel file or filing cabinet. Many food inspection programs are cloud-based. That means your data is stored safely on a cloud server for easy retrieval.

Training and User Adoption

One common worry is that food inspection software will be difficult to use. Companies wonder why they should make the switch and worry about retraining staff when the old way has always worked fine before.

In reality, food inspection software is very user friendly, which lowers the chance of inspectors making mistakes. Most software companies will provide staff training as well.

Scalability and Flexibility

If your company plans for growth, as most do, you may have concerns about the ability of your food inspection software to keep pace. Will you be able to use it with your new equipment? What if you open a new location?

Good food inspection software should be able to scale with your business on demand. Otherwise, it may end up becoming a hindrance.

Is Food Inspection Software Suitable for Use in Multiple Industries?

Food inspection software can be used in any industry that produces food. It’s especially popular in restaurants, where inspectors can use it to easily monitor the quality and temperature of ingredients. Inspectors can also use the software in grocery stores and for food production lines, where its convenience helps streamline operations.

If you’d like to learn more about inspection equipment that can be integrated with your food inspection software, including x-ray systems and more, contact TDI Packsys at (877) 834-6750.

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