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Episode 1: Foundations of Risk

Episode 1: Foundations of Risk

Risk Assessment in the Food Industry

In the first episode of Kellerman Consulting’s Risk Assessment in the Food Industry series, we discuss examples of risk assessment and risk management in our daily lives and how to perform risk assessment and risk management in a food facility.

Throughout this series, you will learn different formatting options for risk assessments, where risk assessment is required as part of food safety and quality activities, and how they are used in GFSI programs.

Risk assessment to prevent trips and falls in food facilities. Person's foot is tripping over mat.

We will also address where risk assessments may be useful for business decisions, the employees who should participate in risk assessments in the facility, and how risk assessments are reviewed and updated based on scheduling and changing circumstances. Additionally, we will review sources of information you can use to support the risk levels you assess.

Because many businesses and business leaders are either unaware or disinterested in assessing risk of operations, risk assessment and risk management are infrequently performed in many food businesses. When they are performed, it is often informal and just an understood practice for employees. There are requirements to perform risk assessments and to have them documented for evaluation by regulators or auditors. This can be a source of conflict during an audit due to how different people interpret this requirement.

As we delve deeper into defining risks and how to properly document those risks, we are hopeful that it will help start the process of thinking about risks in your facility, and will also help you prepare those assessments in case a government inspector or auditor asks to see your risk assessments.

We may read articles on the internet, consult with family, friends, neighbors or experts, or trust our instincts when confronted with taking risk, but there are very few rules or documents the average person uses when it comes to addressing risk.Beyond that, whether there is a risk and how big a risk exists is often a source of disagreement between people in our social lives, families and business lives.

Because risk is always present in our lives, and because we aren’t accustomed to actually measuring risk or writing down how we intend to address that risk in normal circumstances, it can pose a big challenge for food and food packaging facilities that are required to identify, assess and manage risk as part of the food safety program.

Each of our clients has a sense of how risky their operations are, and what is likely to go wrong, but often, they don’t know where there must be a formal risk assessment, or how to go about creating a risk assessment or management statement.

In our video on performing corrective and preventive actions, we spoke about performing root cause investigations, and where we are talking about risk assessments, it is a similar idea. The biggest difference is that a root cause investigation happens after a non-conformance occurs, and here, a risk assessment is done prior to, or separate from any specific problem in the facility.

In our next episode, we are going to look at these issues, where you need a risk assessment for the facility.

To learn more, visit the free food safety training videos & resources section of our website.

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