We All Play A Role in Food Safety
By Jenny Obranovich
June 3, 2021
This year’s theme, ‘Safe food now for a healthy tomorrow,” was designed to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, and contribute to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism, and sustainable development. World Food Safety Day 2021 is guided by the belief that the production and consumption of safe food have both short and long-term benefits for people, the planet, and the economy.
To acknowledge the importance of food safety around the world, the World Health Organization has proposed five calls-to-action to help support the 2021 mission.
#1 Ensure it’s safe – Government must ensure safe and nutritious food for all.
The government has stepped in with a few new initiatives that are on the iFoodDS radar and present some notable changes. In July 2020, the FDA developed the ‘New Era of Smarter Food Safety’ blueprint as a different approach to food safety by suggesting ways to leverage technology to strengthen the supply chain, digitize it, and make it safer and more traceable. A key component of the ‘New Era for Smarter Food Safety’ blueprint is Rule 204 of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which establishes additional traceability record-keeping requirements. In line with FDA’s blueprint, the goal is to pave the way for the food industry to leverage more digital, tech-enabled traceability systems.
#2 Grow it safe – Agriculture and food producers need to adopt good practices.
It is up to the growers to assess potential contamination risks on their land and in nearby water and have processes in place to help mitigate those risks. This is important year-round: during pre-season, pre-harvest and in daily operations in the field.
The ability to take field samples and record data in an efficient manner, and to quickly access that data when issues arise or during an audit is critical, as are prevention or taking corrective action when needed. A connected digital food safety and traceability solution eases data capture, gives you real-time visibility across your operations, and helps ensure food safety best practices are standardized and followed by workers. Staff training and adoption of processes are also crucial to your success.
#3 Keep it safe – Business operators must make sure food is safe.
Everyone across the supply chain plays a key role in food safety. Below are just a few ways we can all do our part.
It is critical that growers conduct assessments of both water and land, inclusive of adjacent land, to identify potential food safety risks.
Packers and shippers, processors, and distributors should develop or enhance their Environmental Monitoring Program to include regular testing in each facility to identify problem areas and mitigate risk of cross-contamination. It is also important to closely monitor the safety and quality of products both as they arrive at the facility, and as they leave. Full traceability is critical to visibility and quickly identifying problem areas. Finally, don’t neglect to ensure staff are properly trained and adhere to established GMPs.
While product quality such as appearance and condition is important at the grocery retail level, it is also critical to ensure the produce is safe for the consumer when they pick it up off the shelf. It is important for consumers to feel confident that food safety processes were implemented at every level of the supply chain.
#4 Know what’s safe – Consumers need to learn about safe and healthy food.
While the supply chain has a responsibility to grow, pack, ship, process, and sell safe food, consumers can do their part by engaging and demanding accountability. Packers, processors and shippers can help consumers engage by putting a QR code on their packaging so that consumers can scan it for food safety information and see where their food came from. This transparency gives the consumer the tools they need to feel safe and helps brands build consumer loyalty.
#5 Team up for food safety – Work together for safe food and good health.
Everyone plays a part in ensuring the food we consume is safe and healthy. Through World Food Safety Day, the World Health Organization is working to bring awareness to the importance of food safety and reduce the chances of foodborne diseases occurring globally.
Do your Food Safety processes make the cut? Ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Are you prepared to quickly respond to a recall, outbreak, or audit? We recommend a digital solution that enables you to access real-time data across all your locations anytime, anywhere.
- Do you have a traceability solution that allows you to trace both backwards and forwards?
- Is your staff fully trained on your food safety processes, and do they adhere to them?
- Do you partner with other companies in your supply chain to make sure food handling before and after your part is safe, and recorded properly?
- Do you offer your consumers visibility into where their food came from?
The use of technology across the food supply chain can make the implementation and management of these calls-to-action simpler and more achievable, helping to ensure food safety today for a healthy tomorrow.
iFoodDS is a technology solution that makes food safety, traceability, and quality data instantly visible, and provides the analytics and insights you need to continuously improve your operations.
We are committed to helping advance continuous food safety improvements in the produce industry. As such, iFoodDS supports the critical work of the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) as well as the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand (FPSC). Supporting CPS and FPSC complements our mission to deliver solutions that help food supply chain participants provide high-quality, wholesome produce to consumers.
 ‘FDA Announces Key FSMA Rule to Advance Traceability of Foods, A Major Milestone in the New Era of Smarter Food Safety’ https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-announces-key-fsma-rule-advance-traceability-foods-major-milestone-new-era-smarter-food-safety