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World Food Safety Day

Ian Duffield
Jun 7, 2020 8:29:45 AM

World Food Safety Day is today! It’s not one of those days that gets very much advertising; there are no Hallmark cards and no special shopping days in the stores. We don’t have World Food Safety Day barbecues or parades, but maybe we should.

field-workers-outdoorWhat could be more important than acknowledging the importance of global food safety and recognizing the people who help make it so – many of them the lowest paid workers in the world, earning pennies for backbreaking work.

We continue to hear of outbreaks, almost on a daily basis – 11 in May alone, according to the CDC. Thankfully, such outbreaks generally have limited impact due to the prompt action of the various players and the swift communication channels we have at our disposal. We also know that occasionally they can be disastrous to families and to entire industries, and the many small farmers who are often severely impacted.

FDA-signOn the plus side there is more activity in the realm of food safety than ever before. Science gets better and better, technologies for tracking and tracing are improving, and governments and other organizations are more motivated than ever to take action. A good recent example is the latest initiative from the FDA to create a strategic technology blueprint for food safety.

We are learning from the past mistakes. In California, the catastrophic spinach outbreak of 2006, led to industry led action that resulted in the creation of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement which was a pre-cursor to the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Technology companies, including Procurant, are making strides to introduce better systems for the perishable food supply chain. Solutions like our SureCheck food safety and task management solutions are in use in thousands of retail outlets and restaurants around the world. Innovations such as those from Apeel seek to extend the useable lifespan of our produce. Rules for labeling, while still confusing, are slowly being rationalized to provide more useful information to consumers.

NDRC-foodwaste_report_2017We’re slowly learning about food waste and realizing that we do actually grow enough safe food for the whole world, but our need for perfection and poor management sends 30-40 percent into the trash before it can be consumed.

The innovations and progress in food safety in countries with more developed solutions are accelerating progress in regions all around the world. This is particularly true in Central and South America, Africa and Asia – regions that are critical in supplying year round food to the rest of the world.

Yes, there is a lot to celebrate on World Food Safety Day, so break out the balloons and barbecue!

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