7 Most Common Near Misses in the Food and Beverage Industry

Food and beverage have several industry-specific safety requirements but near misses and close calls keep happening no matter what.

Recognizing and addressing these near misses is crucial for upholding the highest standards of food safety, protecting consumers, and maintaining the reputation of food and beverage establishments. Let's delve into seven of the most common near misses in this dynamic industry:

1. Cross-Contamination Incidents

Cross-contamination, where harmful bacteria or allergens are transferred between food products or surfaces, poses a significant risk in food handling environments. Near misses may involve instances where potential cross-contamination is identified and corrected before causing harm to consumers. Implementing strict sanitation procedures, separating raw and cooked foods, and providing comprehensive staff training are essential for preventing cross-contamination incidents.

2. Temperature Control Issues

Maintaining proper temperature control during food storage, preparation, and service is critical for preventing foodborne illnesses. Near misses may include incidents where deviations from temperature requirements are detected and corrected before compromising food safety. Regular monitoring of refrigeration units, calibration of thermometers, and adherence to food safety guidelines are vital for ensuring temperature control.

3. Allergen Management Challenges

With the prevalence of food allergies, effective allergen management is essential to protect consumers from allergic reactions. Near misses may involve incidents where potential allergen cross-contact is identified and mitigated before causing harm to allergic individuals. Implementing clear labeling, segregating allergenic ingredients, and providing staff training on allergen awareness are crucial for managing allergen risks.

4. Equipment Malfunctions

Malfunctions of food processing equipment or kitchen appliances can disrupt operations and compromise food safety. Near misses may occur when equipment failures are detected and addressed before causing contamination or injuries. Regular maintenance, equipment inspections, and prompt repairs are essential for preventing equipment-related near misses.

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5. Improper Food Handling Practices

Improper food handling practices, such as bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods or improper handwashing techniques, can lead to foodborne illness outbreaks. Near misses may involve incidents where potential food safety violations are identified and corrected before causing harm to consumers. Providing comprehensive food safety training, enforcing hygiene protocols, and conducting regular audits are crucial for promoting safe food handling practices.

6. Packaging and Labeling Errors

Packaging and labeling errors, such as incorrect ingredient listings or mislabeled expiration dates, can lead to consumer confusion and potential health risks. Near misses may include incidents where labeling discrepancies are identified and rectified before products reach consumers. Implementing quality control measures, conducting label reviews, and maintaining accurate product records are essential for preventing packaging and labeling errors.

7. Sanitation and Cleanliness Lapses

Maintaining a clean and sanitary food preparation environment is essential for preventing the spread of foodborne pathogens and ensuring food safety. Near misses may involve incidents where sanitation lapses, such as inadequate cleaning of food contact surfaces or utensils, are identified and corrected before causing contamination. Implementing rigorous sanitation protocols, providing ongoing staff training, and conducting regular hygiene inspections are vital for maintaining cleanliness standards.


By recognizing and addressing these common near misses, the food and beverage industry can uphold its commitment to food safety, protect consumers, and maintain the trust and loyalty of customers. Emphasizing proactive risk management, investing in staff training and equipment maintenance, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement are essential for ensuring the highest standards of food safety in the industry. Through collective efforts and a steadfast commitment to excellence, food and beverage establishments can thrive while prioritizing the health and well-being of their customers.

Are you looking for a tool to monitor nonconformities or any other issues in your organisation? Falcony | Observe ticks all the boxes for issue management, is easy to customise, enables real dialogue and is a lot more. 

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We are building the world's first operational involvement platform. Our mission is to make the process of finding, sharing, fixing and learning from issues and observations as easy as thinking about them and as rewarding as being remembered for them.‍

By doing this, we are making work more meaningful for all parties involved.

More information at falcony.io.

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