A single lawsuit can do a devastating amount of damage to any business. If you’re manufacturing food, it’s incredibly important that you take a few basic steps to ensure that your business plan isn’t disrupted by a legal claim. Below are four simple steps that can help you to protect your business from the threat of a lawsuit.
Stay Up to Code
The place to start is not with your food, but rather your manufacturing facility. It is important to make sure that your entire facility is up to code, ranging from your license to manufacture food products in that building to any safety issues that might impact your workers or your product. Starting with a safe facility is the best way to make sure that potentially problematics elements don’t make their way into your food and thus cause you to become hauled into court.
Check for Allergens
Allergens must typically be disclosed on food. Unfortunately, you can only disclose the allergens about which you know. To avoid causing reactions that could lead to litigation, you’ll need to have your facility undergo allergen testing. Doing so will give you a better ability to warn your customers about any potentially harmful impact your food could have. This is especially important when working with or near where common high-risk allergens are handled, such as nuts and shellfish. Knowing to what level your food includes allergens like dairy and wheat can also allow you to properly market to or warn customers who have allergies or sensitivities to these substances.
It’s also incredibly important to package your food correctly. Choosing airtight packaging is the industry norm for a reason – not only does it help you to ensure that your food will remain fresh and untainted, but it helps to remove the possibility of tampering and makes it less likely that outside sources will impact your products. When you can eliminate some of the risk factors, you’ll find lawsuits much less likely. This will also vastly reduce the likelihood of pests getting into your product, causing PR scandals such as pictures of dead bugs in someone’s food.
Follow the Labeling Rules
Finally, you’ll want to make sure that you put all of the relevant information on your labels. Depending on the type of food you manufacture and your local regulations, you may need to individually list not only each ingredient but also any potential allergens that might have been in the manufacturing area and any potential health hazards that might come from the food. Failure to list the relevant facts can leave you open for a lawsuit, so make sure that your labels are correct. You also need to be aware of what terminology you can legally include, such as whether or not ingredients are organic.
Avoiding lawsuits can be done if you’re able to ensure that your food is safe and that you are following the relevant regulations for your industry. Take extra steps to ensure that you know what’s in your food and give your customers the data they need to make safe choices. If you can prove that you acted in good faith, you’ll have an easier time staying out of court.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.