What Makes Food Safety Training Vital?
“The Global Food Safety Testing Market is poised to grow at a CAGR of around 6.6% over the next decade to reach approximately $21.3 billion by 2025. Some of the prominent trends that the market is witnessing include rising awareness among consumers, regulatory issues involved in food contamination and food poisoning, recent technological developments of food safety testing and growth opportunities/investment opportunities.”, according to the report- Global Food Safety Testing Market Analysis & Trends – Industry Forecast to 2025, by Research and Markets.
Food safety is critical. However, the food industry often lacks the manpower which leads to constant rotation of staff, many of whom are unaware of the safety requirements for handling and packaging food. Moreover, the food safety industry relies on the specific skill-sets to mass produce products under precise safety regulations, which means that new or old the employees or staff need to be well trained. Various other factors too make training crucial. And as discussed in an earlier post eLearning is a good fit when it comes to food safety training.
But, the training requirement isn’t just for upgrading skill-sets. Here are some other factors that make food safety training vital.
As the report states, “Based on food type, the market is categorized into fresh & frozen fruits & vegetables, meat & poultry, processed foods, dairy products and other food types. By product type, the market is segmented by software tracking systems, disposable gloves, disinfection products, smart labels & tags and diagnostic products.
Depending on technology, the market is segregated into rapid and traditional. Furthermore, rapid include immunoassay-based, convenience-based assay, PCR-based assay and other molecular-based tests. Traditional include agar culturing.
In terms of target tested, the market is segregated into toxins, pathogens, food allergens, GMOs, pesticides and chemical residues. Furthermore, pathogens include listeria, salmonella, campylobacter, E. Coli and other pathogens.”
That is just a single source view about the segregation within the food industry and aspects that influence food safety. The software systems, the list of toxins to be aware of and the safety regulations are often long and complex, and the employees involved have to be well-versed in order to ensure that the safety norms are met. Training becomes very important here, and eLearning in that can be the perfect channel for iterative learning, reinforcement and performance support.
Technology takes care of many aspects in food safety. Machines are often used in packaging and in testing to measure, collect and interpret data on sanitation controls. While this helps in maintaining consistency and keeping up the pace without additional recruitment, it also requires the existing employees to know about the in and out and the workings of the machinery. The maintenance, cleanliness etc. of the machine also requires human intervention, which in turn requires periodic training and updates.
Yet another aspect of food safety is that the product formulations, the processing stages and the types of reagents, cleaning agents etc. are constantly being changed to meet the regulations, increase shelf-life and to curb the impact of any new food-pathogen. All of this requires the employees to be up-to-date about the day to day changes in the industry. Training hence, is almost an everyday aspect in food safety. While traditional training methods can be slow in this aspect, eLearning can be the just-in-time solution for everyday learning needs.
Organizations that specialize in food safety and hygiene, need a well-oiled training mechanism in place to support proper functioning. The training programs here should essentially support training, re-training, learner monitoring, evaluations and learner support too. Training hence plays an important role in maintaining the food safety standards and ensuring the quality of products being distributed for human consumption.
What are your thoughts on food safety training? Do share your comments.