When you think of the weeks leading up to a food safety audit, what comes to mind? Late nights, frantic searches for missing reports, other work falling to the wayside, and stress that affects the whole team? Food Safety Managers are responsible for reports, documents, and binders being current, accessible, and correct during an audit. If your job relates to food safety, you probably know these concerns well.
Compliance touches so many parts of every agricultural operation that it might feel like all you can do to stay on top of food safety, labor regulations, buyer requirements, and every other standard you need to prioritize. On the day-to-day level there are inspections to complete, corrective actions to take, employees to train, and documents to update. Over the long term there are audits that hold your operation accountable for all this work.
Keeping track of your employees’ time requires accurate tracking, coordination between crew leaders and the office, tallying up the time sheets, inputting data, uploading to payroll software, and adjusting for any mistakes. It’s easy for something small to go wrong, like a paper timecard getting lost between the field and the office, an employee clocking in late, or a crew leader forgetting to document a required break.
Last week AgSafe held their annual Innovate Regulatory Compliance Conference with webinars hosted by officials throughout the industry. Douglas Parker, Chief of Cal/OSHA Division of Occupational Safety and Health, spoke about trends in worker safety from 2020. We attended with employers’ needs in mind. These are some of our main takeaways from the session:
Mural City Cellars is a locally-focused urban winery in Philadelphia that opened its doors this year. Founders Francesca Galarus and Nicholas Ducos are passionate about creating and sharing high-quality wine sourced from small, local growers just outside the city. We are lucky enough to have Francesca on the HeavyConnect team as our Product & Growth Specialist. She shared a bit about how she and Nicholas use HeavyConnect to streamline operations for Mural City Cellars.
Time card errors are a high-stakes issue for employers. Simple mistakes can result in lost productivity, employee dissatisfaction, or even large fines.
In 5 years of providing compliance solutions for the agriculture industry, one common request we’ve heard is an easier way to manage quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) programs. Our customers want a way to document their QA results, get automatic alerts, and analyze data. We are excited to announce that our users now have access to new features that make conducting QA and QC with the HeavyConnect app and dashboard simple.
Last week marks ten years since the FDA released the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011 in response to concerns about food safety and outbreaks. The new guidelines required an industry-wide shift in food safety rules and led to efforts across the supply chain to meet the new standards. This milestone is an opportunity to consider whether FSMA has been successful and where the next ten years will take us.
Any organization that wants to stay competitive needs to understand, predict, and plan labor costs. The good news is that just by following legal time tracking guidelines, employers already have enough data to gain a better understanding of their operation. It’s simply a matter of collecting and using that data in the right way.
Since FSMA was introduced in 2011, the number of annual audits an average grower experiences has increased dramatically, all with the goal of improving food safety for the end consumer. Between internal audits, buyer audits, and federal annual audits, growers are experiencing more pressure than ever to rigorously document their food safety program or risk losing buyer relationships and harming their bottom line.
As food safety continues its digital transformation, audits will rely more and more on digital solutions. Growers have the opportunity to transition to digital compliance documentation in order to keep up with more frequent (and often partially-remote) audits. They can be ahead of the curve by going digital now, as regulatory bodies have started requiring that audit documentation be submitted digitally, a requirement which will eventually reach growers.