Leatherhead Food Safety Day – Joining the Pieces Towards Food Safety Intelligence
Written by Cronan McNamara
Dr. Josephine Head is on a mission to sign up volunteers for the upcoming food safety revolution. In her talk, “Joining the Pieces – Towards Food Safety Intelligence”, Dr. Head introduced emerging smarter methods for food safety management.
Dr. Head emphasised how food safety management has not fundamentally changed in the last 20 years. It is her belief that in order to deliver a secure, safe and sustainable food supply over the next 40 years in the face of significant challenges (Foresight, 2011), food safety management will require a quantum leap forward to a more robust, proactive and science-based system at an industry wide level.
Dr. Head also explained that smarter solutions are currently available and must be adopted on a basis of continuous collective industry improvement. She listed Creme Food and the QADEX Xpert-Ease system as leading platforms with the potential to deliver her vision of a secure, safe and sustainable food supply.
The QADAX Xpert-Ease system is a new Leatherhead initiative that is being launched at the Leatherhead Food Innovation Day on the 19th September 2012.
Stephen Whyte, Business Development Director at QADEX, demonstrated the advantages of the system. Xpert-Ease will instantly alert brand owners whenever a food safety incident (e.g. a contamination) or regulatory change impacts their business, providing instant answers to many questions including:
- What raw materials are impacted?
- What finished products are impacted?
- Which geographical markets are affected?
- Which plants are the products manufactured in?
- Which batches are affected?
The goal of the system is to provide a link between Leatherhead and its members so that members can receive alerts and track food safety issues from raw commodities to finished products.
Cronan McNamara, CEO of Creme, explained the practical applications of Creme Food for consumer risk assessment for the food industry. Cronan explained how contamination incidents can be managed using Creme Food. In particular, he showed how concentration data of the contaminant in raw food commodities or finished products can be easily translated into consumer exposure and risk results using the Creme Food database and model. Cronan also demonstrated how a breach of a legal limit of a contaminant in food may not necessarily result in an unsafe consumer exposure level.
The Creme Food system when combined with Xpert-Ease will not only alert manufacturers to the occurrence of a contamination incident; but will provide information on the potential severity of the incident for consumers. This information, which will be invaluable to the industry in understanding the risk, will be provided in an automated Creme consumer exposure report. The automated report will allow organisations to be proactive and to provide timely and detailed information to all stakeholders (including regulators, retailers, consumers, suppliers and manufacturers) in the case of a food safety incident.
Dr. Head wrapped up by discussing how further tools, methodologies and standards will be integrated with the system in the future including HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points), Certification standards (e.g. BRC, British Retail Consortium), Food Allergen standards (e.g. VITAL – Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling) and RASFF (the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed).
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