It isn’t often that issues of food safety go viral on social media, but in early July the stomachs of the nation collectively turned after learning about the #IceCreamChallenge.
Understanding The Challenge
The challenge started when a teenage girl near San Antonio posted a video to Twitter. In the video, she opened a carton of ice cream in a Wal-Mart freezer aisle, licked the ice cream, and returned the container to the freezer where some unsuspecting customer would later buy it. Her video sparked a small wave of copycats and a much larger response of public disgust at the thought of the innocent frozen treat being contaminated for fun.
The perception that any carton of ice cream for sale could have suffered tampering has businesses scrambling with defense plans to reassure customers of the product’s safety. Photos have popped up from around the nation, depicting retailers locking ice cream freezers and posting signs to ask an employee for assistance.
While the term has not been mentioned in widespread news coverage, the ice cream licking provides an illustration of why a food defense plan against intentional adulteration is essential for any food processor or manufacturer.
What This Means For Food Safety
While food defense plans focus primarily on severe terroristic attempts to contaminate large batches of food with harmful substances, they are also necessary simply to prevent the more likely scenario of a disgruntled or immature employee tampering with a product on the line. Given the risks to public safety and to brand image protection, what can you do to ensure that your products are protected against intentional adulteration?
Third-party food safety audits provide an excellent answer. Whether your facility is audited to the GFSI standards of SQF or BRC or against the FSMA standard, an audit that reviews food defense plans provides feedback on the effectiveness of your plan. Certification also clearly communicates to your customers that you are proactively protecting your products from tampering at your facility.
Not sure where to start? Reach out to Safe Food Certifications today to ask about the process of having a third-party food safety audit. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org