Amid growing public health risks ranging from foodborne illnesses to viral pandemics, food and beverage manufacturers must be more diligent than ever. However, labor shortages, supply chain disruption, and a rapidly changing regulatory environment make food safety more difficult to ensure. With so many time and resource constraints, businesses may struggle to develop high-quality food safety programs, let alone execute them. That's where third-party food safety consulting comes in. 

4 Reasons to Invest in Food Safety Consulting 

Food safety experts bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, providing invaluable assistance to manufacturers in developing and implementing robust food safety programs. Resource-strapped and industry-leading companies alike can benefit from their support in overseeing compliance, protecting brand reputation, and improving operational efficiency. Here are some of the top benefits of bringing in food safety consulting support: 

1. Investigation Support for Supplier Issues 

Whenever quality issues or other concerns arise with suppliers, food safety consultants can help manufacturers investigate by conducting impartial audits and assessments. Auditors can come on site and review the supplier's procedures and documentation to ensure they comply with regulations, industry standards, and contractual obligations. 

If a problem is found, the third-party consultant also helps identify the root cause of the issue and advises both the manufacturer and supplier on developing a course of corrective action. In the event that a solution isn't possible, consultants can help manufacturers in their search for new suppliers by establishing qualification criteria. If the client chooses, they can even help develop supplier monitoring programs to avoid future issues and ensure ongoing compliance. 

2. Expert Perspective, Design, and Implementation for Food Safety and Sanitation Practices 

The primary focus of experts in the food safety consulting profession is staying up to date on the latest regulations, industry standards, and emerging trends. With this big picture perspective of the industry, these experts can help manufacturers identify potential hazards, evaluate risks, and develop effective strategies to mitigate them. In this same vein, consultants can also provide guidance on developing and implementing food safety management systems as well as sanitation and quality assurance programs. 

3. Minimize Operation Disruptions 

In addition to helping manufacturers develop and implement food safety and sanitation programs, consultants can also advise on creating contingency plans for different scenarios that disrupt operations, such as worker shortages, equipment failure, supply chain breakdowns, environmental issues, or a food safety incident. 

In a high-pressure, high-stakes food safety crisis, leaders may struggle to make decisions that protect both public health and the reputation of their company, and can benefit greatly from third-party perspective and guidance. Consultants can also help manufacturers navigate the challenges of a product recall and collaboration with regulators. 

4. Overcome Short Staffing Issues 

According to analysts, more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs in the consumer packaged goods industry went unfilled in 2022, and these numbers aren’t expected to improve in the foreseeable future. In addition to food safety consulting and training, third-party experts can actually provide trusted and vetted temporary workers to help manufacturers navigate the labor shortage. Many food safety consulting firms have a network of talent who can cover hard-to-fill positions on a short-term basis, either to help manage busy production seasons or to fill in until more permanent employees are brought on board. 

Ensuring food safety takes more than specific procedures and training — it requires manufacturers to build a culture of food safety accountability into every aspect of their company. Leveraging the expertise of a third-party food safety consulting firm can help manufacturers see the big picture of their policies and avoid mistakes that could slow down growth or put public health at risk. But what should manufacturers look for in a consultant? 

AIB International has supported food and beverage manufacturers through these challenges for more than 100 years and is a recognized leader in global food safety standards. Whether you need help implementing food safety and sanitation programs, training employees to meet compliance standards, or staffing temporary workers in your facility, AIB International can help. Learn more about our Assign an Expert services here.

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