Best practices for record keeping in the food industry with AI technology

Record keeping is an essential part of food production and distribution, and the use of artificial intelligence technology can make the process more efficient. This blog discusses the basics of record keeping, its importance, and some best practices for successful don’t. Further, discuss how technology can help deliver tailored solutions to your specific needs.

What is record keeping?

Record keeping is the process of tracking information about events and activities that occur within a business. It can help you monitor and track your business’s performances, potential risks and issues, optimize your business processes, and more.

Different types of record keeping may be suitable for your business: manual or automated. Manual isn’t involve recording data by hand in a central location. Computerized systems use computer software to automatically capture data from various sources and store it in an organized database.

Why is it important to keep track of food production, processing and distribution?

It is important to keep track of food production, processing and distribution. It is one of the steps we can track our activities in our food processing -to be able to find what went wrong when there is

Food-borne illness occurs when meat, poultry or vegetables contaminated with bacteria enter the human body. Annually, the Government of Canada estimates that there are at least 4 million cases of foodborne illness annually (Food Poisoning- Fact Sheet). Meanwhile, in the US, the CDC estimates that about 48 million people get sick each year, and 3,000 people die from food-borne illnesses (Estimates of Food Borne Illness in the US).

Proper record keeping can help identify potential problems early by identifying which products are being processed incorrectly or produce pathogens. By tracing the path of a product back to its source (or places where it was stored), you may be able to find out who handled the food improperly and prevent future incidents.

In addition to preventing illnesses, proper record keeping also helps businesses comply with government regulations like those about hygiene standards and nutrition labelling for foods sold in retail stores. That includes complying with the US FSMA requirements and the Safe Food for Canadian Regulations. It also enables businesses to investigate compliance issues after they occur so that corrective action can be taken as needed.

What happens if I don’t have the record?

This is a hard-to-digest fact– If you don’t have the record,  the activities did not happen.

What that means are essentially most of the situations below, if not all:

You have no zero defence to say that you have done what you need to ensure the food you manufacture, store, distribute and/or sell is safe.

You are not meeting regulatory requirements.

All of the above situations don’t help, especially in the event of a massive recall.

What Record do We need to Keep?

We do a lot of paperwork in the food industry to trace our processes and ensure that they are completed correctly and timely.

Here is a quick list of records that you will need to keep:

  1. HACCP plan approval
  2. CCP Record
  3. Corrective Actions and Preventive Action Record OR Non-Conformance records
  4. Daily monitoring records such as cleaning records, washroom cleaning records, waste management records, etc
  5. Monthly records such as monthly site inspection, monthly cleaning records, etc
  6. Validation records such as CCP validation, allergen validation, cleaning and sanitation validation etc.
  7. Calibration records such as thermometer calibration, metal detector calibration, pH meter calibration etc
  8. Verification records such as mock traceability records, training quizzes etc
  9. Supplier approval documentation such as specification, nutritional information, allergen information, supplier approval questionnaire, food safety certificate and report, etc
  10. Other supportive documents for your food safety program such as SQF Management Meeting Report, meeting report, internal audit, ISO 17025 records, laboratory report, certificate of analysis etc.


Best Practices For Record Keeping

You must follow the industry’s best practices for record keeping. Here are some dos and don’ts.

  • You must use a pen. The use of pencils is not allowed.
  • You must not scribble or use a whiteout. You can make all corrections by crossing with one line, initial and indicating the correct information. Document records on time, not before or after the fact.
  • You must never fake a record. If discovered, most fake records can be an automatic failure in a food safety audit.
  • You must organize your record and keep them securely. Best practices for managing your record are keeping it in a folder and having the most recent record at the top of the folder.
  • You should never just pile the paperwork as it would be hard to find the record when you need them for an audit, inspection, or program verification.

Common Challenges for Record-Keeping and how technology can help!

Over the years, we have observed the following challenges/ failures for consumers that production staff often struggled with.

Record-Keeping Challenge #1: No time

Ever heard this from the staff? We heard this a lot, and often, it is due to the speed of the production schedule. To prevent this from recurring, ensure that you include record-keeping time as part of your production.

How can technology help?

Some AI technology does not allow for the next production if the first production data is not properly logged. Some can even enter the data for you, so it is automated.

Record-Keeping Challenge #2: Accustomed to scribbles or using whiteout

It is more psychological for someone to completely erase the wrong information than to correct it and still have the inaccurate information visible. We see it a lot. The solution is to ensure that we train our staff on the best record-keeping practices.

How can technology help?

I guess with technology. It is way harder to scribble, and technology such as blockchains can help track the mistakes.

Well, mistakes happen, and we must ensure they are properly corrected.

Record-Keeping Challenge #3: Misplacing documents

This is very common, especially with the amount of data. Good organizational skills give you an advantage. Be sure to file them at the right location and not mix them up.

How does technology help?

Technology can help you to be paperless -that means you could get rid of all, if not most, paper records.

Record-Keeping Challenge #4: Missing Corrective Actions

This is the top mistake because many food production facility documents are filed without proper verification and corrective actions. To prevent this, you can ensure that you have a regular verification schedule to verify the documents randomly.

How does technology help?

Most software can flag parameters that are out of range, so you can take action. Some will even generate a deviation report for you to stay open unless the responsible personnel correct and close the deviation report.

Use of AI technology for Record Keeping

With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), food businesses can automate their record-keeping processes. This will make identify food safety hazards, manufacturing, and packaging problems. Doing so will allow you to take corrective action before any serious harm comes to your customers or employees.

Food businesses need accurate records that will allow them to make informed decisions about their products and operations. AI technology can help streamline this process by automating many routine tasks that would otherwise require human input.

Here are four main benefits that come with using AI technology for record-keeping
1) Food safety risks can easily be identified and tracked- If there is a problem with a particular batch of food, AI systems can quickly search through all relevant records to find out where the product was made and how it was processed. This information is then used to create a timeline detailing what happened from start to finish.

2. Improved quality control – With automated ingredient tracking, food producers can identify potential contamination more quickly than ever before and take appropriate action before it reaches consumers’ processing time – Food industries rely on a wide range of data inputs to make informed decisions about product formulation and production schedules. By automating many routine tasks, AI-assisted record-keeping reduces the overall processing time required by businesses.

3) Quality control procedures can be properly documented- When various steps in one process affect other parts of production, clear written instructions telling people exactly what needs to happen at

4. Increased accuracy – With enhanced information capture capabilities enabled by artificial intelligence (AI), food businesses can achieve higher levels of accuracy when recording vital business data such as sales figures or inventory levels. Accuracy leads to fewer errors, increasing efficiency throughout an organization’s record-keeping.

Food businesses rely on accurate and up-to-date records to make informed decisions, protect the company from fraudulent activities, and comply with government regulations. Unfortunately, traditional record-keeping methods can be time-consuming and error-prone.

SFPM Consulting work with a food safety software system that uses AI technology to automate and improve record keeping. The resulting system is efficient, reliable, and easy to use; it allows food businesses to focus on their core operations while the software takes care of the tedious tasks associated with record-keeping. This system also helps food businesses objectively track their supply chain to identify potential problems early on – preventing them from becoming major issues.


It is important to keep track of everything in the food industry – from production to distribution. This is where AI technology comes in, as it can help you correct any mistakes or deficiencies in your record-keeping.

By following the best record-keeping practices (and food safety software), you can be ahead of the record-keeping requirements, stay compliant with all current food safety regulations, and maintain better organizational efficiency. Thanks for reading!


Author: Felicia
Felicia Loo is a Certified Food Scientist and registered SQF Consultant, focused on assisting food business to obtain food business license, achieving effective food safety management system and automate food safety system.