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Professionals at TÜV SÜD Food Safety Institute (FSI) assisted in the successful implementation of its new e-HACCP solution in support of employee restaurant operations at the company’s corporate headquarters in Munich, Germany, bringing state-of-the-art technology to the operation’s hygiene management system.
Traditionally, the implementation and management of hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) systems in food operations has relied on the use of paper-based forms and checklists to collect essential information on food safety and hygiene risks in food production and distribution facilities, retail establishments and restaurants. These forms provide the documentation required to verify compliance with HACCP requirements codified in regulatory schemes in the European Union (EU), the United States and other countries, and are regularly reviewed during periodic inspections and audits specified by these regulations. But paper-based records are time consuming to produce and archive, and complicate efforts to conduct a more in-depth analysis that might reveal safety concerns.
Concurrent with a physical renovation of the employee restaurant at TÜV SÜD headquarters in Munich starting in 2018, operations managers also were interested in finding new approaches to the collection, use and maintenance of HACCP data. Specifically, they were seeking technologies that would not only reduce or eliminate altogether the use of paper records, but which would also shift responsibilities for data recording from managers and supervisors to those employees directly involved in food handling and processing operations. They believed that this approach would provide more accurate and timely data that could be accessed and reviewed by management, either onsite or remotely.
Fortunately, the search by restaurant management for an alternative solution to its HACCP data collection process coincided with the introduction of TÜV SÜD e-HACCP solution by the company’s Food Safety Institute (FSI). Based on the comprehensive, cloud-based platform developed by German start-up company flowtify, TÜV SÜD’s e-HACCP programme provides a complete digital solution for the collection and storage of HACCP data as required under most regulatory schemes applicable to food producers, distributors, retailers and restaurants. Also available in an app format, the flowtify software can be downloaded to a variety of handheld devices, greatly facilitating the on-site collection and processing of data. The data collected through TÜV SÜD’s e-HACCP programme is also consistent with the requirements of the EU’s Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004, supporting regulatory compliance efforts.
Restaurant operations management at TÜV SÜD’s offices in Munich were already working within the paper-based HACCP structure previously recommended by FSI professionals. Nonetheless, the introduction of the e-HACCP programme involved intensive training in the flowtify platform, the reporting dashboard and the app for handheld devices and tablets. Then, working together, members of the FSI and restaurant management developed new digital versions of existing forms and checklists compliant with HACCP principles, and defining protocols for access to the forms and sign-off privileges. Finally, the teams established user accounts, set up electronic notification systems, and addressed all remaining administrative issues prior to launching the e-HACCP programme earlier this year.
From beginning to end, the implementation process for the e-HACCP programme in the company’s restaurant operations was completed in less than one month.
Like any change, the introduction of the e-HACCP programme has required some adjustments. For example, responsibilities of restaurant employees have expanded to include using handheld devices equipped with the flowtify app to collect data at critical control points in the operation’s food handling and preparation processes. At the same time, restaurant management reports that employees have quickly embraced the new technology. Equally important, having employees collect data has helped to increase overall awareness of the specific issues that can affect hygiene, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the restaurant operation’s food safety efforts.
From management’s perspective, the introduction of TÜV SÜD’s e-HACCP programme has also resulted in significant efficiencies in managing the collection and analysis of data. Data is now available for review in real-time, allowing employees and managers to quickly identify deviations from established procedures that could result in potential hygiene issues. The digital solution also provides guidance on the course of action required to address such deviations, reducing remediation lag time and helping to minimise the risk to food safety. And, because information is immediately available to everyone with access to the flowtify platform, regardless of their location, total oversight has dramatically increased, further reducing hygiene-related risks.
As this case study illustrates, the right technology can contribute to significant improvements in food safety hygiene management and operations and help reduce the risks from unsafe or contaminated food products. Backed by the experience and technical expertise of the food safety experts at TÜV SÜD’s FSI, the e-HACCP programme offers state-of-the-art data collection and analysis capabilities that eliminate paper records, streamline data collection activities and support more timely analyses of actual food handling and preparation operations. Combined with TÜV SÜD’s advisory services in HACCP compliance, the e-HACCP programme provides a complete solution for food operations, regardless of their size or complexity.
TÜV SÜD is a trusted partner of choice for safety, security and sustainability solutions. It specialises in testing, certification, auditing and advisory services. Since 1866, the company has remained committed to its purpose of enabling progress by protecting people, the environment and assets from technology-related risks. Today, TÜV SÜD is present in over 1,000 locations worldwide with its headquarters in Munich, Germany. Through expert teams represented by more than 24,000 employees, it adds value to customers and partners by enabling market access and managing risks. By anticipating technological developments and facilitating change, TÜV SÜD inspires trust in a physical and digital world to create a safer and more sustainable future.