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Food Safety: Romney and Obama Focus on Different Solutions

In Christine Groman’s recent Scientific American blog, she reported on the presidential candidates responses to the food safety question in a larger questionnaire. The question was:

Question #7. Food. Thanks to science and technology, the United States has the world’s most productive and diverse agricultural sector, yet many Americans are increasingly concerned about the health and safety of our food.  The use of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, as well as animal diseases and even terrorism pose risks.  What steps would you take to ensure the health, safety and productivity of America’s food supply?

The Republican response not surprisingly tended to minimize government and regulatory role. One of the secrets to the success we have enjoyed in the food safety arena is that there has been a long term collaboration between public and private sectors to produce the substantial increase in food safety levels we have observed. FDA and GFSI both deserve kudos. We should strengthen the abilities of all not minimize any.

The Democratic response focused on the changes in bacterial infections as shown in the chart below.

foodbourne bacterial infections 2010

It would be great if the food safety community can leverage this questionnaire to bring greater awareness the status of food safety programs. These data should be emphasized in public discourse so the public can see where we have had success and where we need improvement.

Perhaps we can even get to the point of explaining that active process management programs in conjunction with HACCP based food safety programs are at the heart of the modern FSMS as defined in ISO 22000, the GFSI audit schema and the Food Safety Modernization Act. John Surak and I first demonstrated that linkage in a 1998 article Integrating HACCP and SPCwhich examined the role of an SPC based process management program in maintaining safe food production in a Butterball Turkey plant. As we said about those findings, food safety is ultimate justification of high capability manufacturing. 


GFSI Compliant Food Safety Management Systems Webinars Now Available


Webinars investigate how food processors successfully deploy and use ISO22000 and GFSI compliant systems to enable quality operations and safe food. 

Commercial standards such as the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and ISO22000 dramatically shape how food processors run their operations.  Implementing a food safety management system compliant with these audits and standards is essential for market success. The Northwest Analytical webinar series, The Compliant FSMS enables food-industry management to design reasonable strategies to comply with these requirements and dependably produce safe food while protecting the company’s brand.

Four webinar recordings are now available:

1. Comprehensive Strategies to Protect Your Brand

David Acheson, M.D., Managing Director Food and Import Safety Practice, Leavitt Partners

Dr. David Acheson began the series with his insights into the food industry regulatory and commercial landscape. In his talk he:

  • Discussed the current pressures and challenges facing the food industry
  • Defined the changes from a regulatory and congressional perspective
  • Discussed the status and implications of pending US food safety legislation
  • Provided insights into future trends
  • Presented a forward looking strategy for brand protection.

2. Building a Corporate Food Safety Culture

John G. Surak, Ph.D., Surak and Associates

Building a culture for food safety starts with top management developing a strong commitment for food safety. In this webinar, Dr. Surak focused on using the elements of ISO 22000 to accomplish the following:

  • Linking the food safety management system to the corporate business system
  • Linking the quality policy to the corporate culture
  • Developing effective food safety objectives
  • Increasing the effectiveness of management review

3. Process Improvement with GFSI Compliant Management Systems

Tatiana A. Lorca, Ph.D., Manager of Food Supply Quality Assurance, EcoSure

Dr. Tatiana Lorca discussed the Global Food Safety Initiative and how their benchmark and recognition process drives improvement and cost efficiency. Topics presented:

  • What is the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)?
  • How the benchmark and recognition process drives improvement and cost efficiency across the food supply chain
  • How the GFSI requirements incorporate the principles of the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle into the recognized programs and thus help drive improvement within a certified business
  • Four of the most widely used food safety management systems (SQF, BRC, FSSC and IFS) and their requirements highlighted from a process improvement perspective

4. Increase Food Safety, Reduce Risk, and Achieve Operational Effectiveness and Compliance

Deborah Kacera, Industry Solutions Director, Pilgrim Software

Deborah Kacera discussed how following the process requirements of the GFSI schemes yield analytics that foster growth and compliance and support:

  • Management Reviews
  • Supplier Performance Inputs and Ratings
  • Decision-making based on predictive actionable intelligence
  • Feedback into your Food Product Design and HACCP Plans

All four webinar recordings are available for immediate viewing at: http://www.nwasoft.com/FSMSWebinars.htm .

FSSC 22000 gains full approval from GFSI

FSSC 22000 has officially been accepted to the Global Food Safety Initiative list of approved audit schemes. The Consumer Goods Forum release is below:

FSSC 22000 Successfully Benchmarked