Minimizing Pathogen Disruption

June 21, 2023

Food safety issues have the potential of causing disruption to production operations. Automating your environmental monitoring program (EMP) is a critical step in alleviating food safety–driven performance issues.

When a pathogen is found within a production environment, especially within a food contact zone or surface, a series of corrective actions must be launched. These actions can include a complex number of interdependent steps to ensure that the pathogen is removed, and verification of this result is documented and logged for future audit and inspection purposes. As corrective actions are being deployed, disruption to production is an almost certain result.

According to KPMG1, 42 percent of food and beverage executives feel that losing share to lower-cost producers is the biggest threat to their business model, and 46 percent say costs of inputs or merchandise is the greatest threat to their company’s profit margins. To optimize operations, these companies have invested in automated systems that help keep plants running at top capacity.

However, the occurrence and frequency of food safety issues increases the risk of system downtime. If a pathogen detection occurs, for example, a machine, conveyor system, or other equipment may need to be temporarily shut down for unplanned cleaning—or in extreme cases, torn down altogether for deep cleaning.

Research shows that downtime can reach an astounding 500 hours per facility annually, leading to overall costs that some studies put in the range of $20,000 to $30,000 per hour on average. In especially severe cases, an entire line could be shut down while more extensive investigatory testing is performed. This all results in production delays that inevitably yield an unexpected cost to the business.

The ability to reduce production downtime caused by food safety issues has become an important focus of many food safety and production leaders. The difficulty of achieving this objective is highlighted by the fact that a food safety program, when deployed correctly, will naturally unearth pathogens, bacterial organisms, and other contamination issues that can cause production delays.

This makes it essential that information collected as part of an EMP be accessible and rapidly utilized to enact corrective actions to reduce the impacts on production. Further, it becomes imperative that EMP data is fed into an analytics program that allows food safety professionals to discover the root causes and trends that lead to issues—thereby enabling a more proactive and preventative approach that can head-off issues before they cause production delays and shutdowns.

Let one of our food safety automation experts walk you through a demo of Neogen Analytics and we can show you how it works.

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Category: Food Safety, Consumer Goods, Dietary Supplements, Food & Beverage, Pharmaceutical & Biotech, Microbiology, Pathogens, Environmental Monitoring