Using Specification Management to Identify and Manage Emerging Risks in the Food Industry

In the complex and ever-evolving landscape of the food industry, managing risks and implementing control measures effectively is crucial. From new ingredients and technologies to global supply chain challenges and foodborne illnesses, the potential for emerging health and safety risks is on the rise. This being said, with the right tools for managing these changes, businesses can proactively identify and manage these risks, ensuring compliance, safety, and quality throughout the entire food chain. 

Posted on 
May 9, 2024
Laura Foti
CMO, Specright
See Specright for the Food & Bev industry

Emerging Risks in the Food Industry

From supply chain logistics to consumer safety, in recent years the food industry has faced many potential risks. As many organizations experienced, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fragility of global supply chains.

Disruptions of the like can lead to shortages of key ingredients, increased costs, and delays that affect food production and distribution. In the absence of management systems to track supply chain processes, food manufacturers are at even greater risk. 

Additionally, with the rise of new regulatory requirements, locally and internationally, companies in the food business must adapt quickly to comply with the changing food safety standards, labeling requirements, and environmental regulations. 

Those who do not effectively track their food manufacturing processes will risk being non-compliant or worse, putting human health at risk. Food processing safety and control measures are essential to limit any contaminants. 

With such a wide array of risks affecting the entire food industry, there is a need for real-time data and analytics, compliance tracking, and supplier management solutions, now more than ever. Implementing Specification Data Management (SDM) systems can help companies use effective risk management strategies, improving the health and safety of the entire industry.  

5 Best Practices for Food Manufacturers Managing Risks in the Food Industry

As mentioned previously, the food industry is faced with many unique challenges when it comes to managing risks. This being said, by implementing the following best practices, organizations can ensure that risks and hazard identification are underway so that operations can continue seamlessly.

1. Implementing Food Safety Management Systems 

Right off the bat organizations should implement a robust food safety management system to mitigate risks. With such systems in place, organizations are provided with a structured approach to preventing food safety issues. Using such systems can also help organizations adhere to internationally recognized standards like HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) and ISO 22000, as well as any compliance standards from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). 

2. Schedule Risk Assessments

Once management systems are in place organizations should schedule regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards in the production process, from raw material sourcing to distribution. Risk analysis and assessments ensure that any hazards are caught before they travel further down the supply chain, minimizing total levels of risk.  

3. Supplier Management

When it comes to suppliers, companies must establish stringent criteria for supplier selection. This means maintaining close relationships with suppliers to ensure they meet any shifting quality and safety standards. Suppliers should also be expected to complete regular audits showcasing their risk management. With platforms like Specright, companies can access their spec data and efficiently communicate with suppliers.

4. Employee Training and Engagement

Internally, organizations should provide comprehensive risk communication training programs for employees, educating them on food safety practices, hygiene standards, and risk management processes. In doing so employees will remain engaged and well informed, all necessary steps to enforcing safety protocols.   

5. Crisis and Recall Management

In the event of a crisis or recall, organizations should have comprehensive crisis management plans in place. These plans should outline clear procedures for conducting recalls efficiently and effectively. Communication plans aimed at regulatory bodies, customers, and the public should also be established to ensure that everyone is on the same page in the event of a crisis. 

Identifying and Managing Food Industry Risks with Specification Data Management (SDM)

In order to carry out these complex preventative controls and food safety plans organizations must take control of their core data. In the absence of detailed and precise specification data, food manufacturers will struggle to implement effective preventative controls and comprehensive plans. 

With a purpose-built Specification Data Management (SDM) platform like Specright, organizations can take a strategic approach when it comes to food safety risk management. With accessible, up-to-date data organizations can implement supply chain risk assessments and optimize for strategic quality control. 

Health risks such as allergens, proper labeling, and ingredient control can all be tracked with Specright ensuring that food is consistently made at its highest quality.

Beyond safety, specification management drives manufacturing efficiency by streamlining processes. By maintaining strict production quality controls through automated workflows and approvals, organizations can reduce recalls and in return reduce waste.  

In the case of a food safety hazard, access to product specifications and data allows for a quick response and traceability into where risk may have occurred in the food supply chain. Ultimately, this methodical use of data not only supports preventive controls but also boosts overall operational efficiency, enabling manufacturers to adapt quickly to the evolving industry challenges and consumer demands.

The Future of Food Safety and Quality Assurance

As we glimpse into the future of food safety and quality assurance, the integration of Specification Management stands out as a critical force in sculpting the landscape of risk management in the food industry. 

With a spec-first approach, companies can not only improve data quality and traceability but also provide the agility they need to face any challenges or risks head-on.  

Across the food industry organizations are redefining how to manage food safety risks, ensure compliance, and uphold product integrity. By leveraging a Specification Data Management (SDM) platform, like Specright, companies can optimize their operations, improve traceability, and be the change the food industry needs to see. 

To learn more about how your organization can leverage Specright’s SDM platform for food quality assurance check out this blog or request a demo with our team.


Laura Foti

Laura leads marketing and investor relations at Specright. Prior to Specright, she led advertising and analytics at GE Digital, GE’s Industrial Internet software business. Before that, she was a consultant at Deloitte Digital working in enterprise digital transformation, where she helped clients design and deploy eCommerce experiences, develop revenue-driving mobile apps, and reimagine their global digital marketing strategy. Laura was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for marketing and advertising and Brand Innovators 40 Under 40 and 100 Women to Watch lists. She graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She resides in Newport Beach, CA.

Get Started

With Specright’s Solution Suite, you can digitize, centralize, and link your specification data to drive efficiencies, intelligence, traceability, and collaboration within your organization and across your supply chain network.
Get Started