Apart from the famous Mr. Ed, our wise talking horse U.S. TV star, we well know that a horse cannot talk. Therefore it cannot say where it comes from. This brings us to one of the key elements when it comes to food risks and the key challenges for our industry.
Food safety is built on the four pillars of availability, stability, access and use: all four need to be ensured simultaneously for food safety to be achieved. It is described as one of the largest risks in society in the next 10 years by the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report.
Unsafe food can cause many severe and life-long diseases, even death. The WHO estimates that food-borne and waterborne diarrheal diseases kill about 2.2 million people every year. Climate change is contributing by providing warmer and moister environments, in which bacteria grow better.
A recent example is the horse meat scandal (horse meat in beef lasagna) in 2013. While horse meat is not harmful to health and not a direct food safety issue, the scandal revealed a major breakdown in the traceability of the food supply chain, and therefore some risk that harmful ingredients were included as well. Sports horses for instance could have entered the food supply chain, and with them the veterinary drugs which are banned in food animals. The scandal has since spread to 13 European countries.
Because food recalls and food-related incidents are increasing, we need control over the supply chain, a quality assurance on internal processes (selection, auditing, certification of suppliers), and internal process standards (hygiene, quality control, traceability, recall plans etc).
PS: And if Mr. Ed puts you on a trip down memory lane, get the tune right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_PZPpWTRTU
Category: Food security: Food industry