That’s the view of the president of the US Institute of Food Technologists Colin Dennis, who will chair the event: Safer food and drink – from the harvest to the home – next week.
The events of the past year had confirmed food safety remained a concern for the food industry, Dennis told FoodManufacture.co.uk ahead of the conference on Tuesday (September 29).
For example, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) published its strategic plan for 2015 to 2020, its Scientific Adviser's report on foodborne viruses and has created the New Crime Unit in response to recommendations in the Elliot Report,” he said.
“Central to much of the activity will be establishing effective means of information gathering and analysis and knowledge management.”
The use of up-to-date science, evidence and information is crucial for both industry and government in ensuring food is safe and that there are efficient and sustainable food supply systems, Dennis added.
Also early in the year the British Retail Consortium published Version 7 of its Global Food Standard, which requires a documented vulnerability assessment on all raw materials, signalling the rising importance of threat analysis critical control point, he said.
Food safety making the headlines
- FSA’s strategic plan, Food Crime Unit and foodborne viruses report
- Food safety recalls
- BRC’s Global Food Standard Version 7
Dennis added that despite the improvements achieved in recent years, breakdowns in food safety management still occur regularly as evidenced by the range of issues relating to the FSA’s food alerts and associated recalls.
“Salmonella, listeria, clostridium botulinum, illegal dyes and foreign materials such as glass and metal have been the causes again this year,” he said.
Case of listeria
“Both the EU and the FSA have reported increases – 8.6% and 5.3% respectively – in the cases of listeria monocytogenes, an organism to which the elderly – over 60 – and the immunocompromised are particularly susceptible.”
This organism has caused illnesses and deaths in the USA from the consumption of ice cream, a product not previously implicated, Dennis added.
“Thus it is critical that events, such as this Food Safety Conference, are held to provide a forum for up to date developments to be shared and debated by delegates from government, industry and academia,” he said.
he Food Manufacture Group’s Food safety conference: Safer food and drink – from harvest to home – takes place at the Lowry in Salford, Manchester on Tuesday September 29.
For more information, including how to book, click here.
Watch out for multimedia coverage fo our one-day conference from next Wednesday (September 30).