The tool, known as Bowtie, presents relevant information in a simple diagram that resembles a bow tie. According to Campden BRI, the tool can ensure plans are clear and easily understandable by staff at all levels.
Andrew Collins (pictured), food safety management systems lead at Campden BRI, said the current focus on allergen management and food safety culture had put great emphasis on communicating risks.
“Having begun to introduce Bowtie to the food and drink industry, we’ve found it’s perfect at improving risk communication by allowing food and beverage organisations (FBOs) to visualise and easily adapt their processes instead of relying on potentially unclear and less dynamic charts and tables.
Identifying risks and adapting
“Put simply, food businesses can use Bowtie to improve their current food safety system by proactively identifying risks and easily adapting their system to incidences and occurrences. Since identifying this tool in other industries that manage risk, we’re keen to help the food sector understand and use this method to help them do the same.”
The level of detail in the Bowtie can be filtered to ensure the right information is communicated to the right user and presented at a business levels that may be generic, or at an operational level that contains more detail.
“For example, senior managers can see their food safety management system without all the detail an auditor or the technical manager would need,” Collins continued. “More importantly, factory operators can easily see the whole process so they understand not just what they need to do but why they need to do it.”
Campden BRI said that this visual adaptability not only avoids confusion and helps improve safety culture, but also allows FBOs to identify more barriers by illustrating where they could lose control of a hazard.
Bowties created for each stage of the supply chain can link up to provide FBOs a timeline perspective from farm to fork, allowing them to track hazards for traceability and identify appropriate barriers.
Bertrand Emond, professional development and culture excellence lead at Campden BRI, added: “A strong and positive culture is about ensuring all employees do what they should when they should, and this can’t be achieved without good communication.
“By making this communication visual, Bowtie helps staff understand the hazards and risks in their business and appreciate the impact of their actions on the consumer, company and themselves.”
Meanwhile, food safety consultant Alec Kyriakides outlined three areas to focus on to enhance consumer protection at the Society of Food Hygiene & Technology's online summer lecture.