Investigations are being conducted in the aftermath of recent news that many British food factories are failing to comply with hygiene regulations. Supermarkets and large food chains are already reviewing who they do business with, with customer trust a priority that could impact any contracts.
This effect is not limited to businesses that have direct customers. School and colleges are also considering changes to their choice of suppliers. It is critical that food factories can not only build trust but maintain it — the horse meat scandal in 2013 is proof enough of the damage of lost trust.
2020 Vision knows what your food factories need, from both a security and a business perspective: protecting your brand’s image and being the top-choice supplier that big businesses can trust.
So, what security systems should you have in place? Why are they needed? And is crime a growing problem in food factories? We look at these vital questions below.
Critical security systems:
There are a few actions you can take to ensure both customer satisfaction and desirable brand image. These steps will also provide the vital customer knowledge that you are not afraid of proving your compliance with the required legislation.
- Access control systems—to protect all areas of your business, you must start with access control systems to ensure a barrier between the production and any potential threats from unauthorised characters. If access is gained through a staff card, management within the factory will be able to determine who can and can’t access specific areas on the operation site.
- CCTV—if cameras have been put in place around your business premises, it will present a message that your factory is not afraid of recording footage and presenting it to the appropriate authorities if certain reports do arise about your production.
All slaughterhouses in England will be required to have CCTV installed by the end of 2018. The purpose of this is that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) will gain unprecedented access to footage within a 90-day period after reports of the inhumane treatment of animals.
If this requirement is being put in place for slaughterhouses, should the FSA rule the same for food factories? This would mean they would be able to gain access at any point and could reduce the number of investigations.
Protecting your customers
- Customer reassurance—as food factories don’t operate openly and everything is hidden away, this instantly creates suspicion from a consumer’s perspective as they will be the ones buying the final product once distributed to stores around the country. CCTV will counter this issue as it shows that operation centres have nothing to hide — giving them the ability to publish any footage if accused of misconduct.
- Maintaining quality —using more advanced CCTV within food factories will enable production companies to watch over the production line and maintain the standards that they sell themselves on. Sometimes, a human error is unavoidable on a production line after several hours of non-stop work — being able to detect it instantly is essential.
CCTV, at its core, deters crime. If you’re operating as a food factory in the UK, you’ll know that your industry discovers criminal activity of all kind. 2020 Vision, to back up the reasoning for security systems in food factories, has looked at the crime rates in this sector:
- 89% of manufacturers around the world were impacted by fraud in 2016. This went up to 96% in 2017 showing that criminal activity is ever increasing in this industry.
Type of crime:
- Information theft and compliance breaches accounted for 30%.
- Theft of intellectual property stood at 26%.
- Junior employees were the most likely staff members to commit a crime — 39%.
- Temporary manufacturing workers covered 37%.
- Those in senior/middle management positions were at 33%.
To combat the rise in crime within food factories, and to prioritise protection of the British consumer, food factories should hold themselves to the same standards as slaughterhouses in the UK.