According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report of 2013, the global food wastage is estimated at 1.6 billion tons of “Primary” product which is equivalent to edible food wastage of 1.3 billion tons.
In an era where we are still faced with famine in certain countries, population growth, depleting natural resources, and consumer demand for non-preservative and organic agricultural products food preservation and safety has become even more critical.
The primary step is to comply with updated version of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe, by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.
This was accomplished by establishing new safety standards for Agricultural and Dairy producing farms and holding importers accountable for the safety of their products thru design of standards which minimizes risk of illness from food borne pathogens.
Furthermore NASA’s Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) are applied as a systematic approach to food safety in all stages of food chain, from food production and preparation processes to packaging and distribution.
Despite the prevailing food industry’s regulatory standards, it has unfortunately been observed that agricultural, dairy and food products can and has been deliberately contaminated.
For instance in 1984 at Dalles-Oregon, the Rajneeshee religious sect contaminated salad bars at local restaurants to disrupt the local elections.
Another incident in 2002 at Nanjing, China deliberate food poisoning is attributed to more than 28 fatalities. To combat these treats and mitigate such occurrences, the Threat Assessment Central Control Point (TACCP) is extensively applied. This is also covered in British Standard Institution documents PAS 96:2014 (Guide to protecting & defending food and drink from intentional attack).
In short TACCP or food defense is a risk management methodology that aligns with HACCP but has a different focus that requires direct input from employees of different disciplines.
Therefore through Food Safety Supply Chain System, the food fraud occurrence can be prevented by advent of following standards and guides:
- Food Safety – HACCP hazards
- Food Defense – TACCP threats
- Food Fraud – VACCP vulnerabilities
As we all agree that food quality is a measure of how well a product meets a set of manufacturers’ specifications. This simply begins with quality ingredients which are derived from quality vendors.
Through RFID and AI concept even the quality control & sanitization feedback provided to the vendors achieves best results. In this manner vendors can also be rated on quality of their products in addition to their prompt delivery and shipping schedule.
While food supply chain has become increasingly global, and with increasing demand on requirements of extra add-on to manufacturing, use of paper work is now been replaced by cloud & software tools to provide more accurate tracking, tracing and elimination of contamination.
While abiding the concept of proper documentation, the food quality and safety solution need be maintained thru process of Audits & Compliance, Traceability & Recall Management and Corrective/Preventive Action (CAPA).
Key to this point is redundancy where solutions are able to talk to each other, share & exchange data between different applications and deliver the data in a meaningful way for FSQA (Food Safety Quality Assurance) team to act upon efficiently.
Also manufacturers of food processing facilities must focus on IIOT networking and ensure that the purchased food processors are capable to implement USGBC’s Green Technologies to achieve sustainability targets.
In conclusion staying on the forefront of economic growth in food safety industry requires cutting-edge information from authoritative international agencies where food safety, regulatory challenges, sustainability, operational efficiencies and digital measures matters. It is anticipated that with new wave of automated digital & robotic manufacturing, demands of feeding growing global population will be embraced, strictly adhering to food safety regulations.