In the UK, a Due-Diligence Defense involves showing that all reasonable precautions have been taken and that careful examination has been applied in regard to EU and UK food-safety law
The Due-Diligence Defense system is the basis of UK food-safety law and cannot be utilized unless the offender has employed a valid, food-safety, risk-assessment system and has diligently kept the appropriate records. The risk-assessment system of choice is Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP). In the global food-supply chain continuity and standardization will be the benchmarks for worldwide food safety and may very well determine a company’s inclusion or exclusion to the global marketplace. Were you aware that the U.S., Canada, and Japan all fall behind the EU on food traceability practices?
Gone, also, are the days of pen and paper, sticky notes, and notebooks for recordkeeping. These methods are no longer acceptable in the UK; it can be expected the U.S. will follow suit. There are many resources for digitizing HACCP and just as many reasons to do it:
Imagine being alerted to a freezer door left ajar on a dock in New Jersey, when you are at the corporate office in California. How much money could that potentially save in how many instances? Temperature variances can quickly become a costly issue. Monitoring temperatures 24/7 ensures the ability to correct a variance before a loss is experienced. Think what it would be like to have records instantly at your fingertips for every one of your facilities, as well as the ability to assess the information in real-time. Envision having the certainty, in the face of an audit, to know exactly how and where to find the appropriate records, and to know the information is true and accurate.
Another resourceful tool for exercising due diligence is free of charge and user-friendly. The FDA is making it easy for even the smallest operation to function at an elevated level. Check out the FDA’s Food Defense Plan Builder. A previous Food Online article provided a number of resources for exploring digital solutions for your facility.
Due diligence is not only the basis for UK and EU food-safety law; due diligence is peace of mind, due diligence is a corporate responsibility. Meriam-Webster defines due diligence as: the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons… In the dictionary of U.S. food safety, due diligence encompasses HACCP, FSMA, and Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs). A strong, food-recall plan and traceability systems are also imperative in the event the worst happens and will be vital to proving your company’s commitment to exercising due diligence.