Take Food Safety Seriously - For Your Sake

BY Mtho Moyo

Do you find yourself constantly complaining about the costs involved in implementing and sustaining a Food Safety Management System? Guess what, you are not the only one! But let us think for a moment – What would it cost us should people get gravely ill after consuming our special "no need for food safety" product? I am pretty sure we all agree that it would not be a pretty sight then.

Implementing a Food Safety Management System is an investment on the future of your business and your reputation. A preventative approach (i.e. stopping a problem occurring in the first place) rather than a reactive one (i.e. ‘crying over spilt milk’) is the most responsible and cost-effective way to handle food safety hazards. Should your business be unfortunate enough to be implicated in a foodborne illness outbreak, your documented and implemented food safety management system may possibly assist your defence.

By taking action to reduce food safety risks, you can protect the health of your business by:

  • building and maintaining a favourable reputation with your customers;
  • avoiding costs associated with product recalls, and loss of sales or business;
  • avoiding additional financial costs such as legal liability. 

A business thrives on its reputation, and goodwill forms part of the value of the business. Most business owners are aware they need to develop a good reputation for quality and service, but a reputation for Food safety is even more important because it can be very fragile. With poor quality or service the consumer can simply go and buy from next door, on the other hand people will not take a threat to their health lying down.


Larger companies, such as Supermarkets that purchase from small businesses, need to be sure that they are purchasing food that is as safe as reasonably possible. These companies would not want to put their reputation at risk because of sub-standard food safety practices used by their suppliers. As a result, most large businesses now require their suppliers to implement a food safety management system, which they then get audited. Having a food safety management system, that is recognised by the GFSI, can expand your business opportunities and help your business grow. Food rarely becomes an unacceptable safety risk due to a random accident that is ‘nobody’s fault’. The cause is usually linked back to the failure of or, worse, complete lack of a food safety management systems at the implicated food business.

Product recalls not only affect your reputation, they are also expensive exercises. The expenses associated with a recall are:

  • newspaper advertising; the scale depends on how many products are affected and how widely they are distributed (i.e. local area, nationwide or international) 
  • the cost of stock; includes refunds on products already sold and stock that has yet to be distributed or sold
  • the recovery of stock; the cost depends on how widely the product is distributed, and whether the destruction of products will be performed at the point of sale or if all stock is to
  • be returned to the manufacturer for disposal
  • the destruction of stock; the cost depends on the amount of stock and the method required (e.g. normal trade waste or incineration)
  • product testing costs; the cost depends on the type of testing required and the number of samples requiring testing
  • other associated costs such as overtime payments, loss of profit due to indirect costs from
  • disruption and loss of sales, and penalties from supermarkets for removal of stock from shelves.
  • most of all the imagine the damaged reputation and the unbearable embarrassment!

So tell me would you risk your sweat and toil over some preventable Food safety Incident , just because implementing a food safety management system looks like a tall order or expensive? I certainly would not!

You do not have to grow grey hairs over Food Safety, Entecom is here for you all the way.

 June 05, 2014
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Food Safety
Mtho Moyo

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