Recap Sanitary Design Roundtable – User Experience Of The Overall Risk Assessment Tool

Sanitary Design Roundtable – User Experience of the Overall Risk Assessment tool

On March 10, bakery and supplier members gathered to share their experiences using BEMA’s Overall Risk Assessment (ORA) tool created by the Baking Industry Forum (BIF) committee. During the roundtable, moderators Karl Thorson of General Mills, Jeremiah Tilghman of Flowers Corp., and Delia Justable of Forbo Siegling checked in with ORA test case users/panelists Richard Ybarra of Publix, Audrey St. Onge of Lallemand and Jason Stricker of Shick Esteve to get their first impressions of the ORA tool.

Over the recent months, the three panelist companies have put the ORA tool through its paces to identify the food safety risk in their manufacturing environment(s). Many used the ORA tool in combination with existing company processes, finding the tool to be a good way to connect the dots and spark conversation and awareness among its users.

Adaptive and Flexible

During the call, each panelist highlighted their use the tool and offered suggestions for making it better/more intuitive for users. A common desire shared was for flexibility, adaptability, and easy access, including suggestions to enhance the support of associated documents and links and the ability to ‘ping’ participants notifying them of a change in the document.

Other suggestions included using the document in SharePoint to identify those who can access and comment on the document in live form. Panelists suggested pulling in elements to provide a wholistic view of the tool, using the checklist to analyze and compare against risk assessment practices already in place. This could include the addition of data filters for quick access to the questions that have been answered along with the possibility of tying the tool into a workflow such as a Access database.

Next Generation Users

Panelists hypothesized using ORA as a teaching tool for those new to industry risk management practices. The tool could also be shared with customers who are in the early stages of product planning as a way to hold all industry players accountable. One roundtable participant suggested sharing the tool with younger employees to get a fresh viewpoint from a generation that did not grow up using tools such as Excel and SharePoint.

Download and Share
The ORA tool is available for download on the BEMA website. Its Excel format offers built-in flexibility for sorting, the addition of links to key documents, and a comments section to facilitate critical conversations. It can also be incorporated into an existing assessment option or serve as a jumping off point for individuals and companies working on a project for the first time.

To learn more about incorporating the ORA tool in your organization, contact Kelly Allen at or Delia Justable at Stay tuned for more details about the Q2 Sanitary Design roundtable coming soon.

About the Baking Industry Forum
BEMA’s Baking Industry Forum (BIF) is composed of a small group of bakers and suppliers who come together to discuss topics and issues facing the commercial baking industry. The group is a strong resource for ideas and expertise based on research and years of experience. In the past, they have tackled issues such as preparations for FSMA, training, hiring veterans, safety, lean manufacturing, and sanitation and conveyor efficiencies. To learn more about BIF and the ORA tool, email

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