Food Safety incidents can sometimes have a devastating impact on all stakeholders involved. The world’s population grows daily and the increasing demand for food creates both new opportunities and challenges to Food Safety.
Consumers buy food products and assume they are of high quality and safe to eat. They have a right to expect this. While consumers, governments and others play an important part in ensuring Food Safety and Quality, the ultimate responsibility lies with the food industry and any food-handling establishment.
It is nearly impossible to supply high quality and safe food products without an effective Food Safety Management System in place. Food Safety policies and procedures eliminate/reduce/ prevent minor to serious Food Safety incidents.
Food Safety incidents can have a very negative impact on; consumers, employers and employees. Let’s have a look at these impacts.
The Impact of Food Safety Incidents on the Consumer
The customer (consumer) is at the heart of any business, including food-handling establishments. No business can survive without customers buying their products.
Food Safety incidents can have the following negative impact on consumers:
- Consumers might become ill as a result of hazards present in the food, and in some cases, this can even lead to death.
- Consumers will lose trust in the product or brand and might decide to never buy the product or brand again. In some instances a whole industry can be affected; not just the specific product or brand.
- Consumers will not recommend the product/brand to others like; friends, family and colleagues. They might even turn to social media, which can result in large scale negative publicity for the product/brand/ industry.
The Impact of Food Safety Incidents on the Employer
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that food products are safe for human consumption. Employers have a moral, commercial and legal obligation.
Food Safety incidents can have the following negative impact on the employer:
- Legal implications – consumers can sue the company and/or the government can impose penalties. These costs can run into the millions.
- A product recall is also another costly exercise. The affected food needs to be removed from all stores’ shelves.
- The company or the whole industry can get a bad reputation, and consumers will stop buying these products or brands.
- All the above will result in massive income loss and it sometimes takes a very long time, if ever, to recover. Smaller businesses rarely survive major food incidents.
The Impact of Food Safety Incidents on the Employee
Employees are at the core of any food-handling establishment. They perform various duties daily that can put the safety of food at risk. Every employee needs to understand the company’s Food Safety policies and procedures. This is only possible with proper training.
Employers trust and rely on employees to follow all the necessary policies and procedures to ensure the food product stays safe for human consumption.
Food Safety incidents can have the following negative impact on the employee:
- Employees can find themselves without a job when a business closes their doors due to a major Food Safety incident.
- This does not only affect the employee but also their families, who rely on the income.
A Food Safety incident can damage a company’s reputation, be very costly and leave people without jobs. It can even have a negative impact on a country’s economy.
The benefits of an effective Food Safety system outweigh the cost implications of a Food Safety incident by far.
Major corporations, as well as small businesses, are all at risk. No exceptions. Don’t become part of the statistics. Implement an effective Food Safety system if you don’t have one and make sure you maintain your current system (and keep it up to date).
You are more than welcome to contact ASC Consultants should you need advice or help.
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- 5 of the Worst Food Safety Incidents to Occur
- List of Food Contamination Incidents – Wikipedia
- The Worst Food Safety Cases of All Time
- 2017–18 South African Listeriosis Outbreak – Wikipedia