When what comes first, is safety

The problem

Safe Food Queensland - the regulatory body overseeing all food production in Queensland - couldn't get information from its chicken processing plants fast enough, or uniformly enough, to prevent potentially unsafe produce hitting the shelves. 

The variable, paper-based reporting from the plants only allowed them to discover where the problem lay after it had arisen. Safe Food wanted to digitise these existing systems to make it easier for their staff to identify potential food safety issues earlier, and keep Queensland consumers safe.

The solution

Safe Food asked us to create a platform that would make self-reporting easier, faster, uniform across all plants, and able to be easily learnt and used by Quality Control officers (QCs).

We approached the problem by getting a detailed understanding of the situation. We visited poultry production facilities, and ran workshops with the QCs to understand how the product would be used, and what kind of adaptations were needed to make it work. The QCs' environment, for example, posed a number of challenges, with cold temperatures and thick gloves limiting their dexterity. To solve this, we created a simple navigation structure and increased button sizes to make the iPad app functional and easy to use. 

The app allows QCs to enter data about temperature, pH levels, moisture, and other environmental factors within their processing plant. The data would then be retrieved and stored via web APIs, allowing Safe Food to view the data daily via dashboards, and analyse results against performance targets.

The outcome

The Safe Food app has significantly improved the efficiency of reporting - reducing the instance of human error, providing instantaneous feedback, and eliminating the duplication of process that was inherent in the paper-based system. And the greater visibility it's given Safe Food Queensland has revolutionised the way they can intercede in the distribution of potentially unsafe food. They can now see potential problems before they happen.

The Safe Food App has won multiple awards in recognition of the impact it's having on the food safety industry, including a CRN Impact Award for Workforce Empowerment, and a Melbourne Design Award. Such was the success of the app that its scope has been extended to include red meat and, soon, egg processing.