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How Transparency Improves Food Safety in the Supply Chain

The food supply chain is complex and interconnected and travels through many hands before it gets to the end consumer. In order to keep food safe and available, it is essential that any business that touches the food from start to finish have a transparent relationship with each other. Transparency means being open and honest with each other about the food they are producing and selling. This includes information about the ingredients, production methods, and storage conditions. It also includes information about food safety practices and information related to traceability.

Why is Transparency Important in Food Safety?

There are many reasons why transparency is important in the food supply chain. First, it can help to identify and prevent food safety risks. By sharing information about ingredients, production methods, and storage conditions, businesses can identify potential hazards and take steps to mitigate them.

Second, information sharing can help to improve traceability. This means that businesses can track the movement of food products throughout the supply chain quickly, which can be helpful in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak.

Third, transparency can help to improve communication and collaboration between businesses. This can lead to better decision-making and a more coordinated response to disruptions.

How Can Transparency Exist Between Suppliers and Customers?

One important aspect of building trust in a partnership is sharing information. One way to do this is through an electronic system. This way once you have the information you can share it instantly with all parties. Let’s look at a few different types of systems that you might use.

One system you might implement is a Food safety management system (FSMS). These systems are designed to help businesses manage and control food safety risks. This would mean managing your day-to-day food safety risk in your plant. For example, this can be where you house all the information for quality checks and procedures, or logs for critical control points (CCP). Most of the time this information is on paper and is stored in a file cabinet in the Quality Manager's office. Keeping track of hard copies can be hard and it makes it more tedious when needed to share those records. Implementing electronic document management software will help not only internal transparency but external as well.

The other type of system is documentation traceability software. This software can be used to track the movement of food products and their documentation throughout the supply chain. Being able to trace products through the supplier chain is helpful in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak, as it allows businesses to quickly identify the source of the contamination and take steps to prevent further illness. This type of electronic system can utilize information sharing by being transparent down and up the supply chain. You can automatically request documentation pertaining to the traceability of the product from your supplies, and then once approved send to your customers so they have the information at hand.

Not only will having these systems help you be organized internally but also help improve your relationship with your customers and consumers. Some more ways information sharing can help are;

1. By creating a common data set that can be used by all businesses in the supply chain. This data set can include information such as the product's ingredients, production methods, and storage conditions. By having access to this data, businesses can better understand the risks associated with each product and take steps to mitigate them.

2. Establishing a standard procedure for tracking food products. This can help to ensure that all businesses in the supply chain are using the same methods for tracking products, which can make it easier to trace the movement of a product in the event of an outbreak.

3. Creates a sense of cooperation and collaboration that can be helpful in responding to food safety risks.

By sharing information freely and openly, businesses can work together to keep safe food from entering the market to consumers. This type of partnership not only benefits you but also the food supply chain. Implementing a traceability system like Document Compliance Network will not only strengthen the partnership with you and your suppliers but also your customers. Because DCN automatically reaches out to your suppliers there is no more last-minute emails or calls to get documents. Then for your customers, you can share your documents and associated supplier documents with them with the click of a button.

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