Records & The Law

Today’s food industry is fraught with regulations and mandates that can seriously affect your operations.  While this is not a legal treatise or recommendation (please consult your attorney for those), the following points illustrate how critical accurate recordkeeping for food safety, quality control and employee welfare is key to a successful and sustainable business.
  • SCATTERED RECORDS.  Do you know where all your data is?   In most organizations, records and files are spread across a wide range of departments, applications, media and physical locations, all managed by varying personnel.  In fact, many busy CEOs don’t know where it all is and who is in charge of what.   This makes it extremely challenging and costly to find and access records in case of an investigation or audit. Having all your pertinent records “at a click” is smart and safe.
  • COSTLY AND INEFFICIENT.  Scattered paper records throughout the company are not only risky, they devour time, money and resources. Not only do they take up too much space, but they can often lead to unbudgeted expenses when the company is required to respond to an e-discovery or audit demand.
  • INABILITY TO PLAN FOR THE FUTURE.  Electronic records have the important benefit of providing upper management with concrete planning tools for growth and investment.   Being able to chart and analyze areas of critical needs and thus improvement, or trends that can make it more competitive, is what separates a successful business from the others.
  • LEGALLY-INDEFENSIBLE.  According to research by Iron Mountain, 63% of companies are at risk of not having a legally-credible argument in case of investigations since they don’t have uniform or accessible records.  The report also notes the risk for non-compliance with many of today’s stringent food regulatory laws.  This also means that records not be “backdated” as can easily be done with paper or spreadsheet logs. In short, in these litigious times, food manufacturers and distributors must safeguard against the threat of lawyers and consumers that seize on any opportunity to bring legal action against them.  Ensuring you have done your due diligence keeping accurate records is critical.
  • LEGAL PRECENDENTS.  This summary  regarding recent legal decisions on food safety cases is useful to know.