Food Safety Incident Management

Angela Jordan
 February 10, 2014
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Food Safety

With the management of incidents in the food industry being of interest to all, your company and incident management team need to have a clear plan in place in order to deal with incidents in the most transparent and effective ways.  There needs to be clear roles and responsibilities for the team with the understanding of who deals with what when, in the case of a serious incident.  One does not want to be in a situation of chaos when you are in the eyes of public scrutiny.  The way that serious incidents are dealt with could have far reaching impact on your business.


A plan needs to be in place for those incidents that could turn into a crisis.  The incidents could be food or non food related. 


Food related examples would include: contamination of food and consumer illness or harm. Non food related incidents include natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes or violent storms and  man made, such as electrical failure and strikes. Non food incidents will eventually have an effect of the safety and quality of the food at the organization.                         


Obviously one cannot makes plans for all types of incidents, but only ones that could possibly occur within or around the company.  An assessment would need to be done by a trained team in order to ascertain what incidents may be possible at the establishment.


The following steps could be utilized when drawing up your incident plan


  1. Food risks and incidences identified and risked;
  2. Identify information sources and gather information;
  3. Set up an plan;
  4. Decide on a clear alert system to notify relevant personal, should an incident arise;
  5. Brief and train team on what needs to be done when with what incident;
  6. Decide on stand down mechanisms. How will it be decided when the crisis has passed and what plans are in place to deal with the after effects.


The response to the incident must be scientifically based, effective, consistent, legal and well communicated.





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