The FDA food code is a strong proponent for “Active Managerial Control (AMC)”. AMC is essentially that the person-charge actively manages food safety controls in his or her operation. Chances are if you observe a restaurant, grocery store, manufacturer or foodservice operator using AMC, you’ll see staff using paper checklists to monitor the food safety of their operations. However, AMC is a challenge when the manager already has 80 hours of work in their 40 hour work week.
The solution to this is a digital or electronic food safety management (eFS) system. The goal of an eFS system is to get food safety data into an electronic form. At the very minimal end, the data is captured as static data or simply a PDF or photo of a paper form. At the opposite end, the data is captured into a database that permits data analysis and reporting. For example, one use case connects IoT temperature sensors in all of an operator’s cold holding equipment to the eFS system. The data syncs in real time. The eFS system is programed only to notify management IF and WHEN a temperature deviation occurs. If the system is working effectively, there is no time and effort expended by management until a deviation occurs.
The eFS system is a computer based software program that can be programmed to perform many different tasks. For example, why wait until there is a cold holding deviation due to malfunctioning equipment. It is possible to use special mechanical sensors to indicate when cooling equipment condensers are overworking. Maintenance can be dispatched for repair BEFORE a deviation exists.
Another AMC requirement is training of staff. With constant turn-over, and other staff issues, this can become a paperwork nightmare. A eFS system can provide on-demand training videos and assessments. Training videos can be linked to processes, ingredients, and equipment. Imagine that each standard operating procedure (SOP) had both a written text form and a video demonstration.