HeavyConnect Blog

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Food Safety

Strawberry fields

How Top Operations Create a Food Safety Culture: An Interview with Red Blossom’s Director of Compliance

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HeavyConnect Team

Carole Patterson is the Director of Compliance for Red Blossom, a strawberry grower with nationwide distribution and growing operations in the US and Mexico. Over the past 5 years, Carole has defined and executed Red Blossom’s food safety plan to support the company’s compliance initiatives. Carole joined us to discuss one of the most top-of-mind terms in the compliance world: Food Safety Culture. Our interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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Labeled lettuce packed on a trailer

Guide to FDA’s Proposed Food Traceability Rule: What Has Changed in 2021?

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HeavyConnect Team

Although prevention is the gold standard in food safety practices, most pathogens aren’t entirely preventable and outbreaks are still inevitable. When a foodborne pathogen sickens consumers, a fast response can literally save lives. During E. Coli outbreaks in romaine lettuce between 2018 and 2021, there wasn’t sufficient accessible electronic data to allow a quick discovery of the source. Although the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) required some traceability recordkeeping, the rules weren’t stringent and allowed for paper and other manual methods of sharing records. 

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E. Coli in Leafy Greens Called a “Reasonably Foreseeable Hazard” by FDA: What Does it Mean for Growers?

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HeavyConnect Team

After a new wave of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) outbreaks in romaine lettuce that started in 2018, leafy greens have been synonymous with risk even for those outside the food supply chain. Since the outbreaks, the industry has started taking additional steps to reduce the hazard and make leafy greens safer for consumers.

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Inspecting tomatoes at a facility

Why Facilities Should Document HACCP Compliance With Digital Tools

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HeavyConnect Team

Your HACCP plan is a proactive approach to food safety management that aims to stop problems before they occur. You’ve already put in the time to thoroughly evaluate your facility’s processes, identify every potential risk, and get your organization on board with the necessary precautions. But did you know that a paper-based HACCP plan might still be costing you time and money?

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Workers processing lettuce

Ten Years of FSMA: Are We Headed in the Right Direction?

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HeavyConnect Team

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.

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Using a mobile app to fill out digital reports

Preparing for a Food Safety Audit With Digital Tools

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HeavyConnect Team

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.

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