Navigating Food Safety During A Crisis

We are living in extraordinary times; all of us are facing challenges that just a few weeks ago, we could never have imagined on a personal level - let alone having to deal with these from a business perspective.

Due to the unprecedented impact that COVID-19 is having on the food industry, we have recorded a webinar; 'Crisis Management - Are You Ready for a Disruption?' to guide food safety professionals on what should be included in any crisis plan and pivotally - how to ensure that it is effective during an actual crisis. With 38% of webinar attendees stating that they believed that their organization was ‘somewhat prepared’ to handle a crisis, the case for robust crisis plans for businesses worldwide has never been stronger. Nobody said they were equipped to manage a pandemic, and this is understandable.

"...38% of webinar attendees stated they believed that their organization was 'somewhat prepared' to handle a crisis..."

Let’s start by going back to basics. By definition, a crisis is a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. It can also be defined as a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.

During the webinar, our food safety professionals highlight that key to the success of any crisis plan is flexibility – decisions will have to be made before, during and after a crisis and these factors considered. To support what is often real-time decision making - and none more so than now given the current global context of an active crisis - the case for flexibility is clear. It is apparent that we are dealing with a situation that is changing daily; supply chains are being stretched, with grocery store workers and distributors taking on added risk to support consumers worldwide to keep food on the table.

Along with sharing useful guidance on actions to be taken during a crisis, we also take a deep dive into other areas of potential food safety crisis including recalls, facility disruptions and food fraud to name but a few. We highlight the key role that regulatory authorities and governments often have to play in times of crisis and explain how you can link your plan to these valuable resources to help mitigate risk. We also focus on GFSI benchmarked standards such as BRCGS, Safe Quality Food (SQF) and FSSC 22000 and explain the importance of embedded documented procedures to effectively manage a crisis that could impact food safety, legality or quality.

Lastly, but most importantly, we explain that fundamental to the success of any crisis plan is employee responsiveness and engagement underpinned with robust procedures. We highlight the importance of having the right skill sets and if not – how you can get these through training and third-party resource. We also explore tone of voice and timing in relation to internal and external communications and look at additional overriding factors that need to be considered such as response mechanisms for emerging risks as well as learning from crisis situations to drive continual improvement.

By taking the time to watch the webinar, we hope that you will emerge with a clear understanding on the importance of not only having, but developing and implementing a crisis plan to protect your brand - and your customers - in challenging times. Keep safe everyone.

To learn more please visit our complimentary Crisis Management and Brand Resilience resources, or contact us for more information.
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