No company is exempt from risks in the exercise of its activity. However, in the case of companies in the food sector, any mistake or negligence can have very serious consequences. Mostly in the health of consumers, but also at the penal level by those responsible. Therefore, for these companies, it is essential to have a corporate compliance model.
In the following, we detail what corporate compliance is and why it is appropriate to digitalize everything related to quality and food safety.
But first, it should be remembered that, despite efforts to comply with all regulations, unforeseen events or accidents that result in a felony can sometimes occur. It does not always have to be cases of malpractice as in the recent fuss of meatloaf contaminated by listeria.
Consequently, companies should take all possible measures to minimize this risk and, if it occurs, be able to act correctly and minimize their consequences.
What is corporate compliance?
Corporate Regulatory Compliance consists of all those surveillance and control measures carried out by the company with a double objective.
First, to prevent and reduce the effects of possible violations that could be committed in the exercise of their activity. And, second, avoid or mitigate the criminal responsibility for such crimes.
In this way, the meaning of corporate compliance would be the set of procedures and good practices adopted by organizations to identify and classify the operational and legal risks they face. All this, through the implementation of prevention, management, control, and reaction mechanisms against them.
This corporate compliance plan is usually included in several documents that make up the so-called ‘Crime prevention model’ or security.
In the day-to-day of the company, its implementation can be conducted employing the traditional checklists on paper. However, more and more organizations are choosing to digitalize their corporate compliance model to ensure full observation and avoid risks.
Corporate compliance in Spain
In Spain, companies are not required to prepare and implement this security or crime prevention plan beforehand.
That is, you can design and perform a corporate compliance plan before committing any possible infraction or crime, or do it afterward.
However, the difference between the first and second paths says a lot about the priorities of the company in question. Above all, in the case of such sensitive sectors as restaurants, collective catering (hospitals, residences, schools, etc.), the hospitality industry, the agri-food industry, or supermarkets.
Besides, in terms of legal consequences, this decision turns out being decisive if a crime ends up occurring.
This way, if a corporate compliance model has been implemented before committing the violation and certify that it worked, the company will be exempt from criminal responsibility.
On the contrary, if this prevention plan is implemented after the violation is committed, the company can only reduce the penalty, but not be exonerated.
This criminal responsibility of the company is included in Organic Law 1/2015, of March 30, of the Criminal Code.
In it, criminal consequences are established both for legal representatives or administrators, and for employees.
If a worker commits an offense, the company will have to face criminal responsibility only if it does not have a crime control and prevention system in place, or if it would not have worked effectively.
That is, legal representatives or administrators would be exempted if they had an effective corporate compliance plan.
HACCP System and Corporate Compliance
In any sector related to food, designing and implementing a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan is essential.
It should be remembered that the HACCP plan, or food quality and safety system, is the tool that allows the identification, evaluation, and control of the risks associated with the production, processing, handling, storage, transport, and distribution of food to ensure that these are safe when consumed.
Corporate Compliance Plan with Selfaudit
SelfAudit food safety software has many advantages when designing and implementing a corporate compliance plan.
Among them, the following stand out:
- Increases control and surveillance in all internal processes of the company.
- Simplifies the implementation of corporate compliance measures.
- Facilitates compliance with these measures through a digitalized checklist system, as well as its supervision by the corporate compliance manager or the responsible person.
- Prevents and reduces the chances of committing any negligence, infraction, or crime.
- Allows to identify more easily any irregularity or anomaly and, therefore, act early to minimize or avoid possible risks.
- Protects the company, in case it is an employee who commits the violation because it is proof of the existence of a corporate compliance model.
Therefore, digitalizing the corporate compliance plan with SelfAudit allows you to gain peace of mind and prevent setbacks that may have serious consequences.
Lack of hygiene in handling causes contamination of a batch of duck pâté
To illustrate the meaning of corporate compliance and its importance, let’s imagine a duck pate manufacturer.
This company complies with all regulations regarding quality and food safety. Likewise, the concern for the health and well-being of its clients is their highest priority.
For this reason, they have developed a thorough HACCP plan and have implemented it through food safety software that allows them to quickly detect any incident that could jeopardize the quality and safety of their products.
However, a bad practice by one of the company’s workers causes contamination in one of the production lines, and these lots are sent regularly to different distribution centers.
Thanks to the digital HACCP plan, this violation is detected, and the appropriate preventive measures can be carried out. However, some of the pate’s batches have already reached the point of sale, and different consumers suffer serious food poisoning.
In this case, the company can demonstrate that it had an effective ‘Crime Prevention Model’ and that negligence was the result only of bad performance by the employee, who did not comply with the security measures implemented by the company.
Therefore, the company is exempt from any criminal liability.
Selfaudit, experts in food safety
In Selfaudit, we have extensive experience in the sector of food quality and safety.
Therefore, we will be happy to advise you on everything related to corporate compliance and its digitalization.
So, whether you are responsible for a company in the food sector or the corporate compliance manager, do not hesitate to contact our team and request a demo of our application.