Why is maintaining documentation and records an important part of a small food-processing business?
We recommend as a general practice that food processors maintain records sufficient to reflect important product and business information and practices. Such documentation can be helpful to the processor in several ways.
First, detailed records are extremely important in making management decisions regarding the production, marketing, and financial management aspects. Second, such records help ensure consistency of processing operations and end-product quality and safety. They are more reliable than human memory, and they are a useful tool to identify operational areas where inconsistencies occur and where further employee training may be needed. Finally, maintaining adequate documentation and records of food-processing operations is important if a trace-back investigation of product is ever needed. The documentation is also crucial in terms of helping protect your business in terms of potential liability or if your business should ever become involved in a lawsuit.
Records are most useful when they begin by including the date and time, name of person(s) who completed the record, and the activity or production station being recorded.