Practical Tips for FSQ Leaders Navigating the New Era of Food Safety

If you’re like most people, “Change Ahead,” can trigger excitement, apprehension, and a whole umbrella of emotions all at once. To a Food Safety & Quality Leader who is constantly juggling new customer requirements, new GFSI requirements, new internal requirements, and yes, new regulatory requirements, the changes around the FDA’s new Era of Food Safety can trigger one, or any of those emotions.


Over the past few decades, the food industry landscape has changed. We import more. We export more. We have more exotic ingredients. We have new information about risks. We have new technology to track just about anything we want. As expected, those developments have triggered additional changes in the food safety landscape for FSQ Leaders to maneuver. How exactly does an FSQ Leader prepare for the “Changes Ahead” with the FDA’s New Era of Food Safety?




Let’s start with good news. With the FDA’s New Era of Food Safety, FDA is promoting modern approaches, integrating public and private sectors, and focusing on the human interactions that fundamentally run our food safety programs. That’s a bonus for FSQ Leaders because FDA is pushing the boundaries on systems like traceability, in the interest of public health, to identify and remove products much faster from shelves to reduce consumer exposure. FDA is going one step further to support food companies, and FSQ Leaders, by doing things such as partnering with the industry and challenging software companies to provide affordable and even free solutions for traceability. That’s a win for FSQ Leaders that are wondering how to tackle the new requirements.


Yet on top of the daily work that needs to be completed, changes like those outlined in the New Era of Food Safety can seem overwhelming and create uncertainty for FSQ Teams and organizations. While FDA is pushing the boundaries and supporting the food industry with innovative approaches, each organization will still need to walk through the specific requirements and devise a plan. It’s no small task.


To help FSQ Leaders and organizations along this journey, here are three tips to handle the upcoming changes (or any change) related to the New Era of Food Safety.


1- Start with mindset. Change doesn’t have to be hard. Yes, our brains would prefer we do exactly what we have been doing, so it doesn’t have to exert additional energy. Maya Angelou says,” If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” That’s why starting with mindset, and the thoughts we tell ourselves about change, is the first step. Speaking FSQ Leader to FSQ Leader, I know you have the tenacity to tackle any change that comes your way! Are you able to view FDA as a partner supporting you through the next series of changes to integrate systems, predict risks, leverage technology you’ve wanted forever, and engage people in your organization differently than before to drive your food safety improvements?


2- Keep doing the fundamentals. When resources are tight, such as during a change process, it can cause some items that were being done to be done less frequently or be missed. Manual processes are more likely to suffer from not getting done or not at the same level as expected; thus, creating more work after the change. Electronic systems like document management are game changes because it lightens the load allowing the fundamentals to continue efficiently. If you’re looking to upgrade your document management system, Document Compliance Network has created a masterful system that is easy to use, easy to set up, functionally solid, and affordable.


3- Get outside help. You’re not alone going through these changes, even though it may feel that way when navigating new requirements for the organization. Others are going through this, having similar questions, and looking for guidance. Find an industry group that supports each other, a trusted contact in your network to ask questions, or work with a consultant or coach to help you during these changes.


The New Era of Food Safety will have challenges and hurdles for organizations; the modern approaches will only strengthen the entire food industry. While implementing new requirements can be daunting, Socrates offers this wisdom “The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Together we’ll build the new to support the ever-changing food safety landscape.


🌟 Next Suggested Reading: "The FDA's "New Era for Smarter Food Safety" and Tech-Enabled Traceability" Click Here To Read.

 

About the Author

Jill Stuber, the Food Safety Coach


Since 2019 the Food Safety Coach has supported people who work in Food Safety & Quality live the life they want - one step at a time. After more than 20 years in FSQ, Jill believes the “crazy” in FSQ is an outdated story, and people in FSQ deserve to be set up for success. Jill brings forth personal experience, curiosity, and meddling into unrelated fields to build better systems for people to thrive in FSQ.


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