eFood Safety Systems

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.

AMC consists of three parts:

  1. Policies: Lay out a clear instructions for your employees to follow.
  2. Training: Ensure that your employees are trained to your policies so that they know them and can follow them.
  3. Monitoring and Verification:  A way to ensure on a regular basis that the policies are being followed (including recording important food safety measurements (e.g. temperatures).

Chances are if you observe a restaurant, grocery store, manufacturer or foodservice operator using AMC, you’ll see staff using paper checklists or logs to monitor the food safety of their operations.

One solution to this is a digital or electronic food safety management (eFS) system or eAMC (electronic Active Managerial Control). The goal of an electronic (or computerized) food safety 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, temperature sensors can be placed in all of an operator’s cold holding equipment.  The sensors report the cold holding temperature 24/7/365 in real time.  The eAMC 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 eAMC system is often a computer based software program that can be programmed to perform many different tasks.  Policies can be stored for retrieval in a few “clicks”.  Corrective actions can be attached for access only when needed.

Another AMC requirement is training of staff.  With constant turn-over, and other staff issues, this can become a paperwork nightmare.  An eAMS 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.