Strengthening food safety together

Protecting consumers from unsafe food processing practices is a shared responsibility. Partnerships help to foster greater innovation, more robust safeguards and streamline processes. Which in turn can reduce food waste, increase efficiency and improve customer satisfaction.

For over 15 years, Fortress Technology and AIB International (AIBI) have pooled their respective food safety, contaminant detection and GMP inspection expertise and shared cross-sectoral insight and intelligence. This partnership of food safety minds and perspectives has assisted multiple UK and global food processors, including a multi-national fast food chain, to develop robust GMP standards.

Pulling in expertise when a project requires it, both businesses have worked collaboratively together to resolve specific production challenges and boost standards on food processing lines. They have also coached front line staff in both businesses, as well as manufacturers, on common hygiene, culture, production, documentation and food safety shortcuts to watch for.

Promoting best practice

Food safety can be a moving target. Workforce patterns change. Seasonal products (and staff) come and go. Packaging materials are replaced with new substrates and labels.  Inspection codes of practice evolve. Critical control points and food defence plans need to be regularly reassessed. And when it comes to hygiene and health and safety standards, food processors cannot take their eye off the ball.

As a machinery manufacturer, Fortress Technology is constantly refining its inspection and contaminant detection features and integrating these onto food production lines. Founded over a century ago, AIBI meanwhile is on the ground in food factories performing GMP inspections, training, & GFSI certifications and helping processors to identify and address gaps in their food safety plans.

Individually, the two companies have clearly-defined business strategies. With food safety the overlapping theme.

To support Fortress with machine R&D, AIBI meets regularly with the team to relay common production challenges and issues that could jeopardise food safety. This information helps Fortress to review and refine machinery, hygiene and communication features, issue new software updates, and develop documentation tools that cannot be performed retrospectively. Protecting workers and mitigating against the risk of the most prevalent contaminant, data and COP risks that might compromise food safety.

To assist AIBI, Fortress delivers coaching, sharing how equipment supports processes, productivity and supply chain transparency. Building this collective knowledge can help AIBI Food Safety Professionals to recognise data, documentation and reporting vulnerabilities and ensure innovative features on inspection plant and equipment are being utilised properly, without compromising food or workforce safety.

Practical support

The two companies have also come together to consult on a number of flagship food safety projects. This includes advising several of the top food companies directly on what they should include in Codes of Practice documentation, audit templates and continuous improvement programs.

Advancing food safety throughout the supply chain and addressing the emerging issues requires an open, joined-up and collaborative mindset. The partnership between AIBI and Fortress is testament that it doesn’t need to have a profiteering agenda. Something that Fortress European Commercial Manager Jodie Curry is eager to highlight: “This partnership has one single mission. To bring industry peers and stakeholders together to protect brands, people and consumers from unsafe food, unethical business practices and catching potential compliance issues before they spiral beyond control.”

To help stay ahead of what’s coming next, several Fortress experts are attending AIBI’s Food Safety Technical Conference this December to deliver in-person training on X-Ray machine features.

Jeff Wilson, Global Vice President, Operations at AIBI comments on the value on this munificent partnership: “Drawing on people’s diverse skills and sharing knowledge ultimately drives better food safety decisions. To validate that the processes of continuous improvements are working, systems need to be tested – be that in an internal inspection, audit, a traceability test, during product changeovers etc.”

Phil Brown, Managing Director, Fortress Technology Europe adds: “Incorporating diverse experiences creates a powerful flow of valuable ideas and concepts that ultimately improve process efficiencies and engage workforces. Having these different perspectives creates an even stronger food safety culture where everyone understands the implications of every decision and recognises the contribution that every colleague makes.”

In 2023, Fortress, with significant input from AIBI, published an authoritative Whitepaper for Food Safety Magazine, aligning food safe cultures to the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety Rules. Click here to view.

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