As more processed food is consumed and production facilities expand to accommodate growing demand, food safety accidents due to contamination or mislabeling can have far reaching and deleterious effects, both on consumer health and on brand trust.
"Recalls, even successful ones, have become extremely costly. They can put companies out of business in weeks because of adverse publicity, government fines, production downtime and class-action lawsuits," said Gene Grabowski, partner of the public relations agency kglobal.
How can firms mitigate the effects of a product recall? By employing smart and automated food safety strategies that reduce the chances of contamination, human error and production disruption.
Traceability is the key to avoiding recalls due to mislabeling. In the U.S., up to 40 percent of products lack any indication of the presence of allergens. The recall of such a product can cost a company up to $10 million. With a traceability solution, 100 percent of labels are checked.
When vegetable oil producer Oleificio San Giorgio decided to offer its customers 100 percent confidence in production traceability, partner Schneider Electric was able to create a complete solution that manages the vegetable oil production unit. This system provided a food defense system, truck and manufacturing traceability and even the GMO-free certification of its brand lines.
"To build a plant capable of processing 1,000 tons of seed an hour, 24 hours a day; by totally automating the arrival of raw material and output of finished product in less than a year and a half; we have found in Schneider Electric the right partner for our challenge," said Nicola Tesser, plant manager at Oleificio San Giorgio.