11 Ways a Food Safety Consultant Can Help Your Business

Businesses within the food industry have strong imperatives to become certified to a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarked standard. Under the Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA is enforcing compliance with standards. Likewise, USDA requires meat, egg and poultry providers to comply with industry standards. Even retailers (like Wal-Mart and Costco) are now requiring their suppliers to become certified to a GFSI-approved standard. Teaming with an experienced food safety consultant is the easiest and most economical way to achieve a certification.

Here are eleven ways a food safety consultant can help businesses in the food industry:

1. Consultants provide seasoned expertise without having to increase your payroll.

2. By conducting an onsite “gap analysis,” a consultant can quickly identify what must be accomplished to achieve a GFSI -approved certification.

3. They can help you select the best GFSI-benchmarked standard for your unique situation.

4. They can help you present the benefits of GFSI certification to senior management and explain the implementation process.

5. Your food safety management team will receive onsite training from certified experts.

6. They will help you identify and establish acceptable procedures to overcome food risks.

7. Consultants will help your team prepare required documentation for a certification audit.

8. They will conduct a “pre-certification audit” to ensure your business is ready for the real thing.

9. They can be an advisor during your certification audit, assisting you in quickly dealing with any discrepancies.

10. Consultants can provide ongoing expertise to ensure your management system remains in compliance and is prepared for follow-up audits by certifying bodies.

11. If one of your products requires a recall, a knowledgeable consultant can assist in crisis management and brand protection.

Food companies that are already certified to an industry standard may wish to upgrade to a GFSI-approved standard as a means of complying with new regulations, retailer requirements or expanding their market.

Numerous deadly outbreaks over the past years, such as e. coli and salmonella, have created a groundswell of demand for enhanced food safety processes. Sound business policies now require food providers to mitigate their liability by reducing food safety risks. Investing in an outside expert to evaluate current operations, help your company decide which standard best suits its needs, then working onsite with your team to prepare for a certification audit is a prudent business strategy.

Similar to utilizing inexpensive cloud-based solutions on the Internet, “renting” food safety expertise to train in-house personnel makes more sense than adding an expert to the payroll. Knowledgeable consultants can streamline your path to GFSI-approved certification, reducing liability risk and providing a solid foundation for subsequent business growth.