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We can be forgiven for not continuing to try only when we have died.
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What gives a food company the confidence that its product will not hurt anyone?
The Scheme Grading Scale
- If the food safety and quality assurance scheme to which a company subscribes is so complicated that the company is finding it difficult to make any measurable progress in the actual safety of its products, that scheme is not helpful.
- If, under the guise of being proactive, it makes a company implement solutions for improbable problems, it is wastefully using up the company's resources.
- If it ignores operational efficiency considerations, it is of no value.
- If its requirements hurt more than they help, the scheme is counter-productive.
- If a company, after passing several audits under a scheme, still has many day-to-day product quality issues, the scheme is not helping the company at all.
- If a company does not see a substantial and permanent reduction in the level of quality failure incidents after a reasonable period of subscribing to a scheme, that scheme should be dicarded.
- If the scheme makes a company go through fanciful antics to gain certification but offers no provisions for measuring the actual gains in the safety of food; regulatory compliance; and consumer safety & satisfaction; it is useless to the company.
- If newer versions of the scheme only increase the paperwork burden for the company and offers no reduction strategy, it robs the company of useful time.
As I read various company and agency announcements about food safety accomplishments, I find a lot said about what has been done with good intentions (but of secondary importance). The assessment is also sometimes based on how well a referee says the business is doing which is good (but of tertiary importance). I read about elaborate programs that are implemented with very impressive desk-top testimonies but I do not see much said about what has been achieved through all that has been done. In fact, everyday occurrences (reported or unreported) have shown that what is achieved in reality is often less rosy than what is published as accomplishments by the various organizations and individuals. Such published accomplishments may fool some customers and consumers but that era is coming to an end. We are approaching the era that is very well explained in the colloquial phrase: “Show me the money”.
The consumer really does not care about any flowery presentations about what a business is doing, the flashiness of awards or corroborating certificates from external assessment programs. The consumer simply wants the real experience of being safe and satisfied as he or she uses the products. What the consumer is told may conjure some assurance but not in the same way that the actual experience of using the product assures the consumer. In many instances, companies do not know when they are punished by consumers as they defect to other products. Eventually companies catch on when they notice their sales dropping.