Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production
Packaged Meat

Lessons learned in 2020.

Posted December 14, 2020 by Roger Beers, Global Director of Food Safety, Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production
Food Safety

The threat of food scarcity, disruptions in the supply chain and limited personal contact created unprecedented hurdles for the food industry this year. The most important lesson learned through these challenges is that a safe and reliable food supply is of the upmost importance to our communities. Without that, maintaining a civil society quickly becomes difficult—something we all experienced amid food hoarding and empty grocery store shelves.

As the threat of food scarcity became a widespread issue in early 2020, millions of people felt the effects of COVID-19 throughout the food supply chain. The pressing need to get food into the hands of consumers in different channels shaped how the industry approached and heightened food safety, ultimately revealing new ways to protect the integrity of foods. While this year has been challenging, it’s come with key learnings and insights that the industry can and should carry into the future to shape a healthy and sustainable food supply.

Prioritizing food safety and essential workers.

The pandemic and its economic impact caused many food processors and manufacturers to tighten budgets and others to close doors altogether. A greater emphasis was seen across the industry on prioritizing food safety and employee welfare despite monetary pressures.

Our very own #ScienceHearted team continued to meet with customers, helping them deliver safe foods to consumers. These dedicated individuals played a critical role in maintaining food safety by continuing to provide technology and analytics to processing plants.

Tighter regulatory and compliance.

Throughout the pandemic and approaching administration change, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the continually changing regulatory and compliance standards. While food safety professionals have certainly done a great job at upholding current standards, we can expect further scrutiny and policing in the regulatory and compliance arena. This is no surprise, though. Standards often change and it’s our job as food safety professionals to learn and adjust to ensure safe food supplies.

Pivoting food production.

Food distribution became widely disrupted in early 2020. Closed restaurants and businesses caused breakdowns and pressure within the supply chain. Processors and manufacturers struggled to convert operations to provide food where it was needed. Changes in packaging and distribution were required to move the food to places it was needed. The paradox of food left in the field or milk dumped down a drain while people went hungry illuminated shortcomings in our food distribution system, which we are working to correct. This brought sustainability to the forefront of many conversations, causing both the industry and consumers to realize that food waste is a luxury that not all can afford.

We saw groups coming together to link food waste with hungry people. We, at times, provided the conduit between organizations to help close the gap between food waste and food needs. The ability to pivot processing, packaging and distribution in a nimble way is an area we will continue to see improve. The coordination of these efforts is one of the most positive outcomes of this year.  

Efficiency in the future.

Although this year has had its pain points, it’s also provided an abundance of growth opportunities for food safety professionals while demonstrating the resiliency of the industry. To continue adapting to the changing demands of the industry and consumers, efficiency is essential across the value chain.

Forging partnerships with companies that have technical understanding of the entire chain strengthens the ability to provide holistic solutions—something ARM & HAMMER™ is proud to provide to customers. And while our team focuses on the animal and food production sectors, our company as a whole is in the business of providing reliable and safe products—from toothpaste and laundry detergent to animal nutrition and food safety technologies—as we work to help better the lives of our customers. This past year has been challenging and evolutionary as we worked to focus on our commitment to consumers while meeting changing situations.

We look forward to facing 2021 with our partners equipped with the lessons we learned in 2020. If you would like to learn more about our portfolio of food safety solutions, please contact me or one of our #ScienceHearted experts.

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