How SQF Software Helps Food Processors

Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the way their food is handled and processed. As a result, consumer expectation of the food industry has increased dramatically.

Safe Quality Food (SQF) programs are designed to assure consumers that they food they are buying is produced, processed, prepared and handled according to the highest standard and safety guidelines possible throughout all levels of the food chain.

To maintain these standards as a food processor, you must know where the raw materials for your product came from. You also need to be aware of how those materials were handled and processed.  You must track internal audits and third party audits. Lab results of your supplier must also be monitored and maintained. Without the proper tools, maintaining an effective quality management system can be insurmountable.

SQF software, a web and mobile platform that automates food safety practices, enables food processors to verify suppliers and track third party audits quickly and easily. Food processors are also able to use the quality management software to store all internal and third party audits in one place. Overall communication is improved all across the food chain with quality management software – from growers and breeders to grocery store chains and food retailers.

Another benefit to using SQF software as a part of your quality management system is the cost-effectiveness. Safe quality food software programs and equipment are often very affordable and, when compared to the cost of a breakdown in the food chain safety system, the monthly cost of the software more than pays for itself.

One such example in which safe quality food software could have prevented a breakdown in the food chain was the tomato and Serrano pepper salmonella outbreak in 2008.

Peppers and tomatoes responsible for the outbreak were grown on a farm in Mexico but the salmonella problem was not addressed until hundreds of consumers had become ill after eating the produce. More than 1,300 total salmonella poisoning cases were reported before the end of the outbreak.

The cost of this problem was astronomical. The FDA had to spend money investigating the origin of the outbreak. Food processors and manufacturers were required to stop all plant production, sterilize equipment and toss out all raw materials on site. Food suppliers were required to pull Serrano peppers and tomatoes from their shelves.

Had safe quality food software been used in this example, testing would have taken place before the peppers and tomatoes left the farm. Pathogen testing would have caught the traces of salmonella, thousands of illnesses would have been prevented and the cost of wasted product and manpower would have been eliminated.

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