Software ensures management of food safety and compliance with standards


INNOVATION AWARDS: SAFEFOOD 360:SAFEFOOD 360 has its origins some 12 years ago when company founder and chief executive George Howlett was working as a consultant in the food industry.

“Food businesses must not only produce quality food, they must also produce safe food. This demand is driven by EU and Federal Drug Administration (FDA) legislation and by large retailers like Walmart and Tesco under their commercial standards. Food plants demonstrate their compliance by operating a food safety system which is continuously monitored, audited.

“I was working with the industry on paper-based food safety management systems,” he says. “It never made sense for this process to be done manually but I could never find the software to do the job properly.”

This led Howlett and business partner Philip Gillen to come together in 2009 to develop such a solution in the form of Safefood 360 – an online food safety management software solution. It allows food processing plants around the world to set up, record, manage, track and improve all aspects of their food safety system necessary to meet legal and commercial compliance requirements. For the first time in history, food businesses have access to a best-practice enterprise software solution for the management of food safety for an affordable monthly fee.

The gamechanger for the pair was the fact that the global food industry had come together to establish a system of worldwide food safety standards. This allowed for a single solution to be developed for companies regardless of their location or markets served.

A second enabling factor was the emergence of cloud computing and the concept of software-as-a-service which would bring it within the reach of even the smallest companies.

According to Howlett, there is currently no software application in the market which offers a fully integrated food safety management software application as a service.

“We weren’t the only people to recognise the unmet need of the industry – the pain is shared right across the world,” says Howlett. “That’s why more than 450 companies in 55 countries are already trialling the software.”

The product was only launched in April 2011, and is being trialled by a wide range of firms, from a small wild-game processor in Romania to some of the biggest food brands in the world.

“We now have paying customers in Ireland, the US and as far afield as India.” *

The company has also received interest from eastern Europe and South America.

“We are convinced that Safefood 360 will not only ease the pain felt by food businesses but it will also make a positive contribution towards reducing the rate of food illnesses and product recalls.”

* This article was edited on February 22nd, 2012 to correct a factual error.