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Remembering Our Frontline Workers on World Food Safety Day

By Laura Dunn Nelson   |   

Intertek Alchemy is joining the food industry to celebrate the third annual World Food Safety Day. The event, established by a United Nations resolution, offers an opportunity to honor everyone involved in growing, processing, transporting, selling, preparing, and serving the food that many of us take for granted.

The U.N. resolution states: “There is no food security without food safety, especially in a world where the food supply chain has become more complex.”

I could not agree more.

COVID-19 produced one of the toughest periods ever for the food industry. Most of the workers lacked the opportunity to work safely from home. Their experiences were unprecedented. And as we reflect over the last 12 months, we extend them a huge thank you for their personal sacrifices, courage, and dedication to the millions of consumers that absolutely rely on their efforts. Through their hard work, the food supply has been robust, resilient, and safe.

As an industry, we have learned to manage change and overcome new challenges. But we must continue to embrace change to address the dynamic challenges of our industry. With investigators returning to food processing plants, restaurants, and grocers, we should be prepared for more scrutiny on our food safety management programs. In addition to renewed scrutiny from regulators, new food safety research and regulations will reshape how the industry strives to maintain a safe food supply.

For example, Cornell scientists recently published their research identifying five novel species of Listeria variations. These findings will require us to re-examine the previously established Listeria identification protocols. Also, we’re witnessing the addition of a ninth new food allergen in the U.S. – sesame. Companies will need to update their allergen training and address the presence of sesame seeds within their product labels.

Both of these changes serve as a reminder about the importance of developing and maintaining an agile food safety culture. This is so important not only for the financial performance of individual companies and their customers, but for the role that food safety plays in rebuilding a strong trade environment, increasing employment opportunities and reducing nutrition-related chronic diseases.

Seize the day! Use this day to recognize the importance of a strong food safety culture in your organization and commit to identifying and implementing at least one new improvement to recognize World Food Safety Day.

Not sure how to get started? Check out our white paper – Building a Mature Food Safety Culture – A Guide to Meeting GFSI Culture Audit Standards. This paper will help you learn how to develop a food safety culture that meets the benchmark requirements of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

GFSI believes a safe and sustainable food supply depends on organizations applying food safety practices across five dimensions:

  • Vision & Mission
  • People
  • Consistency
  • Adaptability
  • Hazards & Risk Awareness

These disciplines must be addressed throughout an organization, not just relegated to
the designated food safety quality control/quality assurance teams.

Changes in our industry are continuous and relentless. It’s important for organizations to adapt to these changes and work to improve their food safety culture. Identify “Change Champions” in your organization that will help adapt to new requirements and implement new processes to mature your food safety culture.

At Intertek Alchemy, we’ll be right there with you with the tools, training, and resources to make it happen.

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