Feed Bites

Animal Food Safety is Team Sport

Written by: Gary Huddleston   |   December 8, 2022

Feed safety

It has been a magical season for my beloved Tennessee Volunteers football team. While they still have some work to do on the defensive side of the ball, the offense has run like a well-oiled machine. In 12 games, they scored a total of 568 points, an average of 47.3 points per game! That high-powered offense was the best in the nation and has led to 10 regular season wins, much better than past seasons. I even had the pleasure of smoking the traditional cigar in Neyland stadium after beating Alabama for the first time since 2006.

So, what has led to this impressive turnaround from Volunteer teams of the past? I’m convinced that familiarity with the offensive strategy and game plan of the players have led to this tremendous success. Every offensive player on the team knows their part and how it fits into the overall game plan. And when every player is committed to executing their individual assignment, points are scored at an extremely high rate!

Let me switch gears, now, to the point of my blog: do you think of the execution of your food safety plan as a team sport?

Manufacturing safe animal food is not the result of the efforts of only a few select individuals in your facility. It takes a village of committed employees to make safe animal food become a reality.

How do you create that village of committed employees? Think back to my football analogy:

  • Are your employees familiar with your food safety strategy? Do they understand why you have a food safety plan? Do they know that they are “qualified individuals?” The American Feed Industry Association has an excellent resource for familiarizing your employees with the Food Safety Modernization Act requirements and some of their basic duties as a qualified individual in an animal food manufacturing facility. Our Qualified Individual Training can help you develop that familiarity among your employees with your food safety strategy.
  • Do your employees understand their individual food safety duties within their own job descriptions and how they fit into the overall facility food safety plan? Do they understand how to properly execute those specific food safety duties in their jobs? This is where more specific job training is important. Employees that work in bulk receiving have different food safety duties than employees that work in batching, packaging, loading, etc. Facility supervisors must ensure that their individual employees are well trained in the food safety requirements of their jobs.

When you see a football team scoring lots of points, chances are the offensive players are very familiar with the playbook and the game plan. But, I can also guarantee that the linemen know their blocking assignments, receivers know their routes, running backs know where the holes in the defense are supposed to be and the quarterback knows the right plays to call. Are your employees familiar with your food safety plan and do they know how to successfully execute their food safety duties? Those two things will create a well-oiled food safety team!

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