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Food safetyglobalstandardssathguruwriteup

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The overview of #foodsafety and health - the requirement of harmonising #global #standard, article credit - Balkumar Marthi, Faculty, #Global #Foodsafety Management Course.

The goals of this course are to ensure that regulators, food processors and distributors engage together to understand the needs for a science-based approach to delivering safe foods. This course is an important element of the continuous learning that is required by all stakeholders to understand evolving food safety risks and how to mitigate them.

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Food safetyglobalstandardssathguruwriteup

  1. 1. 1 Food Safety & Health – The Requirements for Harmonised Global Standards Food Safety - The Global Context: The processed foods industry around the globe continues to mature and evolve as it seeks to address the ever-changing needs of consumers. In the current environment of massive environmental (climate) change, growing populations to feed and changing consumer habits (as described below), the food industry faces major challenges. As a consequence, food safety assurance becomes even more critical and both industry and governments need to rapidly address the changing global context that defines their existence. Food Safety cannot be looked at in complete isolation. The perspective in Figure 1 below very clearly represents what its role is in the “new” global environment. Figure 1. The Global Context for Food Safety The environment that we are faced with brings several challenges. Some examples: • Food Security and the planet ability to feed the world is increasingly under pressure as the population of the world increases. Availability, access, quality & sustainability are all important influencers. • New raw materials and new processes bring the risk of new contaminants – both from harvesting/farming as well as cross-contamination in process. • Migration of chemicals from packaging materials and the use of chemicals in primary production and in processed foods are increasingly tightly regulated due to public concerns.
  2. 2. 2 • Food adulteration is an important global problem, as is the re-use of food waste. • Environment and climate change could potentially drastically alter the behaviour of especially biological contaminants. • Consumer demands for naturalness and authenticity will fuel the need for monitoring and traceability systems that guarantee these characteristics (see Figure 2). • Changing demographics of consumer populations, the globalization of food trade and technical ability to assess hazard levels with ever increasing sensitivity pose particular challenges to stay ahead of emerging food safety issues and to differentiate real from perceived risks. Figure 2: What the Consumer Wants from Foods – Evolving Trends A holistic, integrated approach based on the principles of “Safety by Design” remains the bedrock for developing and implementing effective Food Safety Management Systems. This approach relies on ensuring that safety is “designed into” every step of food processing, thus ensuring that the ultimate product is free from safety risks under all conditions. The system is illustrated in Figure 3. The “Safety by Design” approach relies heavily on a complete understanding of the entire food supply chain from Farm to Fork.
  3. 3. 3 Such knowledge will allow practitioners to identify precisely where interventions are necessary to assure food safety and take appropriate action as illustrated below: . The likely actions that can then be taken are: 1. Reduce the likelihood of introducing a hazard that may adversely affect the safety of food at later stages of the food chain 2. Reduce risks by taking preventive measures to ensure the safety and suitability of food at an appropriate stage in the operation 3. Reduce risks of contamination by taking effective contaminant control measures during transportation and distribution 4. Reduce risks of mishandling by consumers by providing labeling & safety information & general hygiene knowledge It is now obvious that for such an integrated system to work, there is a crucial need for very solid, sound scientifically-validated knowledge. This knowledge is then applied to carry out science-based risk assessments, which then form the basis of - science-based – effective actions and preventive measures. This grounding in science is essential to the development of an objective food safety system. It is also very obvious that there needs to be very close collaboration and cooperation between (a) Regulators (who are responsible for science-based risk assessments, who make the “rules” and then monitor their effectiveness) (b) Food Safety Practitioners (who implement the rules and manage/mitigate identified risks in their processes) (c) Consumers and Civil Society (who are the key stakeholders and recipients of the benefits of a safe food supply and who also have a role to play in mitigating food safety risks). Global Food Safety Standards, therefore, need to be harmonised across the playing filed to ensure that these are easily adaptable and applicable to local realities, can be easily implemented and monitored, do not create a technical barrier to trade, and most importantly, protect the health and safety of consumers worldwide. In this context, the Codex Alimentarius organisation and the standards and practices developed therein are a fundamental global reference for harmonised standards. While countries and continents have their own specific interpretations of standards, they are fundamentally based on science-based risk assessments. What is key is that these standards and their application be uniform and transparent across the globe.
  4. 4. 4 This article serves as a useful introduction to and in setting the overall context for the Sathguru Cornell Executive Education’s (http://www.sathguru.com/executive- education/home.html) 4-Day Global Food Safety Management Program to be held in January 2019. The goals of this Program are to ensure that regulators, food processors and distributors engage together to understand the needs for a science-based approach to delivering safe foods. This Program is an important element of the continuous learning that is required by all stakeholders to understand evolving food safety risks and how to mitigate them. Specifically then, the First of two lectures that I will be delivering as part of this Program is entitled: “Food safety and health - global standards and compliances”, I will discuss the genesis and rationale for how science-based food safety standards are developed around the world; I will also discuss specific requirements and examples as a means of illustrating the process. In the second lecture – “Farm produce traceability and supply chain management” – I will elaborate on how prevention of contamination in the supply chain (or the source) is an effective means of ensuring overall food safety, the role of efficient traceability, faster detection techniques in containing the impact contamination incidents should they happen, and I will also make a case for why organisations need to ensure that these processes are an important part of an overall food safety plan. Balkumar Marthi August 28, 2018.

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