By Ali Asgar Abbas
Foodborne diseases in the United States significantly impact human lives, the national economy, and the food industry. As such, this industry must comply with the food safety rules and regulations mandated by the FDA and FSIS—governing meat, poultry, and egg products only.
Even though food safety certifications help strengthen the nation’s food security system and reinstates consumer faith in the manufacturers, tedious and time-consuming verification and validation processes make it difficult to authenticate them.
Food manufacturers can validate documents, combat fraud, and make the whole process more transparent by relying on innovative blockchain solutions.
Importance of Document Validation and Verification
Food manufacturers must obtain and maintain certain documentation, such as government-generated manufacturing licenses, required permits, allergen statements, ingredient declarations, GFSI certification, and HACCP.
Securing these documents and validating their authenticity is a complex and expensive process that manufacturers often bypass. It also makes the verification process less effective as it loses its efficacy.
Verification and Validation is Required for Best Practices
Validation and verification play a key role in initiating, adopting, re-examining, and auditing food safety systems and documents.
Validation and verification play a key role in initiating, adopting, re-examining, and auditing food safety systems and documents. For instance, obtaining the GFSI certificate ascertains that a food manufacturer follows the best farming, packaging, storage, and distribution practices. But what happens after the manufacturer obtains the certificate?
The initial validation by GFSI must be followed by internal verification to ensure that the established practices are being followed accurately. Again, validation processes are performed to re-examine and document the scientific evidence that proves the authenticity of the food safety systems.
But small or mid-size businesses often lack the expertise to re-examine the validation of established systems. This is where external experts come in for audit purposes. They validate the systems and document the scientific evidence.
Validation and verification are ongoing activities for the food industry, and changes in operations, food safety goals, manufacturing ingredients, and process trigger revisions in the process.
Given their importance, there are serious consequences of ineffective document validation and verification to the food industry.
Consequences of Ineffective Document Validation and Verification
Ineffective document validation and verification lead to insurmountable challenges for the food industry as they ensure that the manufacturers are not just following the government regulations but also proactively taking steps to strengthen the food system.
Since the verification and validation documents are sensitive, they must be protected against bad actors and hackers to maintain their authenticity and prevent duplication. This is necessary as the alternative could lead to loss of consumer faith, damage your brand’s goodwill in the market, and result in expensive penalties.
Though these are not the only consequences. Some other consequences include:
Lack of transparency and reliability: Involved stakeholders may lack access to pertinent data, making it difficult to rely on the ongoing food safety system and processes.
Lack of faith in current validation and verification documents: If involved individuals can’t verify the authenticity of validation and verification documents, it shakes their faith in the documents and, by extension, the manufacturer and the industry.
Lack of document authentication resources: Since document verification and validation require time, experts—internal and external, and money, authenticating them is not even in the realm of possibility for most small and mid-sized businesses.
This necessitates the implementation of systems that promote the two processes and secure the resultant documents to promote trust, transparency, and reliability.
Employ Blockchain-based Solutions to Authenticate Document Validation and Verification in the Food Industry
Blockchain will be instrumental in securing verification and validation documents. It makes the documents immutable, protecting them against hackers and bad actors.
Moreover, documents uploaded on a blockchain network can be viewed by anyone but not edited since all edits are recorded separately on the blockchain, safeguarding the sanctity of the original documents. This feature also helps in authenticating the validation and verification processes in minutes without incurring any extra costs.
A single source of truth also keeps everyone on the same page and prevents confusion. Additionally, blockchain promotes the storage of files so that you can access all related files without sifting through multiple paper documents.
About the author:
Ali Asgar Abbas is a technologist and strategist renowned for his entrepreneurial skills, passion for excellence, and humility. He has over two decades of experience in the IT industry and has handled numerous blockchain projects globally. Ali is the founder of ProofEasy, a visionary leader in the software integration industry. With a strong focus on developing enterprise-grade solutions, he has consistently provided exceptional outcomes for his clients and partners. His passion for preventing fraud drives him to develop simple and user-friendly software, making blockchain accessible to the masses.