In this exclusive video interview filmed after Food Manufacture’s food safety conference, Watkins said preparing a recovery strategy was even more important now that new sentencing guidelines – which could result in multimillion pound fines – were introduced earlier this year.
“You never know where food safety challenges will come from, so being prepared is the number one thing,” said Watkins.
Recovery and mitigation strategy
That involved first recognising the nature of the problem and setting in motion a pre-planned recovery and mitigation strategy.
“We have seen lots of recalls which caused catastrophic problems because the manufacturer involved initially failed to accept there was a problem.”
Important elements of any recovery strategy involved agreeing in advance of any food safety challenge who to involve in meetings, he said.
‘Keep the business operating’
“Know the key people to be invited to contribute,” said Watkins. “Those involve your insurers, your lawyers, your public relations people. It is vital to have a plan in place so you can keep the business operating and understand the core issue, so that you can fix it.”
Areas to study in advance of a problem arising were contamination challenges, environmental topics, people – including immigration and legal working – and transport subjects.
“Identify the core themes, so when an issue does occur, you have the solutions in place and are ready to go,” said Watkins.
Food Manufacture's 2016 food safety conference – Boosting consumer confidence in times of change – took place in London on Thursday October 13 2016.
The conference was sponsored by Appetite Learning, Glass Technology Services, Sealed Air, Testo and the University of Greenwich.