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Top 10 Reasons Why Your Wales Based Business Needs A Food Safety Consultant

Food Safety is a Critical Aspect of Any Food Business

All food businesses could benefit from the support of a food safety consultant.  And businesses based in Wales are no exception.  Consumers are more aware than ever about the impact of food on their health and well-being.   The importance of maintaining high food safety standards cannot be overstated.  Every food business has a moral obligation to protect the safety of its customers.  It also has a legal duty to do so.  And consumers expect that the food they eat is safe.  Nevertheless, food safety is a complex topic.  It is an area that small food businesses often struggle with because they lack technical expertise.  Even larger businesses find compliance with food safety rules difficult.  However larger businesses are more likely to have the resources to employ food safety experts in-house. Food safety consultants play a key role in helping businesses comply with food safety law.  They train for many years to understand food safety legislation and risk management.  Some consultants specialise further to learn about psychology, human factors, and how these factors influence behaviour change.  In this article, we outline 10 reasons why you need to consider using a food safety consultant to support your business.

 

1. To Undertake A Gap Analysis

Identifying and assessing gaps between current and expected food safety practices is vital.  So too is examination of your facilities and documentation.  A food safety consultant will not only identify and assess gaps, but also recommend ways to deal with problems.  If your business is to meet current food safety standards, assessing where gaps exist is critical.  It is the starting point if you want to improve your Food Hygiene Rating.  A gap analysis is also vital if your business wants to keep an existing rating high.  Consultants are impartial and highly trained in their field of expertise.  So engaging a food safety consultant to carry out a gap analysis is invaluable.  They will see things that you cannot see.  You’ll be able to put steps into place to correct problems before they become an issue.

2. To Train & Educate Your Team in Food Safety

A food safety consultant can design a comprehensive training programme for your staff.  One that includes proper food handling procedures, hygienic practices, allergen management, and cross-contamination prevention.  Consultants with experience and skills in teaching and learning will know how to make training sessions engaging and how to make knowledge stick.  A good consultant will focus on setting the right conditions, so that food safety rules can be embedded into work routines.  It is not enough for your staff to have the right knowledge and skills.  If they do not put their training into practice, your business will have wasted valuable resources.  Moreover, if your staff are not implementing their new knowledge into practice, your business will not be able to maintain high food safety standards.  And this is likely to have a detrimental  effect on your Food Hygiene Rating, and may result in enforcement action being taken.

3. To Develop Your Food Safety Policy & Procedures 

Food safety consultants can assist in the development and implementation of robust policies and procedures that are tailored to your business. This could include writing bespoke guidelines (for food storage, temperature control, cleaning and sanitisation, and pest control). Or coaching your staff to understand how to implement the Safer Food Better Business system.  Clear and well-documented procedures are an essential element of a Food Safety Management System.  Your staff need clear, consistent, easy to understand rules.  These rules need to be relevant to the tasks they are completing.  Because if staff do not feel that rules are relevant to their job, the rules are likely to be worked around, or even worse ignored.  

4. To Perform Audits, Inspections & Give You A Birds Eye View

When you are busy working in your business, it is easy to get too close to things.  This means that it can be difficult to monitor practice, with an impartial, objective lens. However, with a food safety consultant on your team, you’ll get a birds eye view of your business.  They will see problems that have become invisible to you.  By performing regular audits and inspections the consultant will be able to identify non-compliance issues and potential risks before these become an issue.  Wouldn’t you prefer a food safety consultant to identify non-conformance issues before the Environmental Health Officer (EHO) does?  If you are not sure about the role of an EHO, or what happens during a food safety inspection, you can find out more here. A consultant can also coach your staff to perform their own inspections in a more effective way. 

5. To Verify Your HACCP Plan

A food safety consultant plays a crucial role in verifying your HACCP Plan.  You’ll gain insight into whether your food safety system is being implemented correctly and to what extent.  To achieve this, the consultant will need to examine your Food Safety Management System. This includes critical control points, monitoring procedures, and corrective actions. Not only will the consultant want to examine your food safety records, he/she will want to observe operations, and talk to staff about food safety practices.  In doing so, your food safety consultant will be able to provide you with an objective assessment of the effectiveness of your existing HACCP system

6. To Keep Your Business Up To Date With Regulatory Compliance

Specialist food safety consultants stay updated with the latest food safety and hygiene regulations and requirements. All food businesses need support to navigate through the regulatory landscape.  This is even more important now that the UK has moved out of the EU.  Regulations are changing.  Larger companies are more likely to have the advantage of employing one or more knowledgeable food safety experts on their team.  Smaller businesses can benefit for example, from hiring a food safety expert on an ad hoc or retainer basis.  This can give a small business owner peace of mind. Knowing that the business is staying up to date with relevant food safety standards and legal requirements will allow you to relax (and sleep at night).  You’ll be able to focus on other areas of the business that urgently need your attention.

7. To Improve Your Food Hygiene Rating

A food safety consultant will work closely with you and your team to develop an improvement plan.  Areas of concern that were identified through your last Local Authority inspection can be addressed . The consultant can help to outline practical steps needed to enhance existing food safety practices and behaviours.  He or she can also support your team to develop newly embedded habits and make these stick.  This is critical if you want to improve a low Food Hygiene Rating, or maintain a high score that you and your team are proud of.  

 

8. To Negotiate With The Enforcing Authorities

Sometimes, complaints of food poisoning or foreign objects in food happen.  This is where the expertise of a food safety consultant can really benefit your business. Some food consultants are able to liaise on your behalf with the EHO (Environmental Health Officer).  A good food safety consultant will speak the same language as the Enforcing Authorities.  They can help gather relevant evidence, and prepare a comprehensive response in support of any alleged claims. Their experience and familiarity with the regulatory environment can assist in negotiating your position.  This means that they can potentially mitigate the impact of any complaint to protect your business reputation and compliance status.

9. To Identify Trends & Business Opportunities

By staying up-to-date with emerging industry trends, consumer preferences, and market demands, a good food consultant can identify new ways for your business to make money.  They will be able to offer suggestions for incorporating popular food trends, such as plant-based options, allergen-free products, or sustainable practices, into your business offerings. This proactive approach will help you as a busy business owner to stay ahead of the competition, attract a broader customer base, and tap into new revenue streams.

10. To Help You Utilise Available Support so that Your Business Can Grow & (if you want) Scale

Some food safety consultants possess additional skills, knowledge and experience, beyond their expertise in food safety compliance. Here are some examples of additional skills a food safety consultant might possess:

 

Business Development and Grant Awareness:  A knowledgable consultant may be well versed in Government grants, funding opportunities and initiatives to support your business. This may include apprenticeship programmes, and other ways to maximise financial assistance for your business. 

Sales and Marketing Acumen: Some food safety consultants may have expertise or experience in sales and marketing.  They may be able to provide valuable guidance on effective marketing strategies, branding and positioning.  Their insights can help you identify unique selling points, target the right audience, and develop impactful marketing campaigns to promote your food products or services.

 Business System Automation and Optimisation:  A consultant with knowledge of business systems and automation can assist in streamlining operational processes. They can suggest tools, technologies, or software solutions to automate tasks, improve efficiency, and enhance overall productivity. This can include digital record-keeping systems, inventory management software, or quality assurance systems.

Digital Skills and Online Presence:  Finding a food safety consultant with digital skills can greatly benefit your food business. It can help you establish a strong online presence. This includes search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques to improve your business visibility in online search results.  In doing so, you’ll attract more customers. 

Content Marketing Strategies:  A food safety consultant with digital skills can support your business by developing a content marketing strategy.  To compete in a noisy world, your business needs to create content to stay top of mind.  By leveraging digital channels, your consultant can help your business reach a wider audience, drive traffic to your website or sales pages, build your email list and ultimately increase customer engagement and conversions.

Meet Infinitas – Unlocking Unique Expertise 

At Infinitas, we go beyond traditional food safety consultancy.  We provide comprehensive services to empower small food businesses to grow and thrive. We are proud to offer insights and access to Welsh Government grants to support your business to employ staff.   We are passionate about developing digital skills (which hopefully will form part of Labour’s new Government policies).  The Welsh Government provides FREE workshops to get you started with digital skills.  You can download your copy here.  You need digital skills to help you market your small business. And to ensure your business survivesl (just think of Covid).  You need digital skills to choose the best cloud based software (systems to support your business), build an email list, and automate your business processes.  Whether you are interested in virtual reality or artificial intelligence technology to give your business an edge, we have the expertise.  

What sets us apart is our commitment to continual learning and staying at the forefront of industry trends.  We understand that compliance is just the beginning.  Our aim is not just to assist you in optimising your operations.  We want to help you enhance the online presence of your small food business, and support you to implement effective digital strategies to help your business scale.  We are not just a food safety consultancy—we are your partners in success, dedicated to helping your business reach new heights.