THE IMPORTANCE OF FOOD SAFETY
Think about the food we eat every day, whether they are fresh foods or processed foods. Are they really safe to consume?
Consumers are concerned about getting access to not only to nutritious foods but foods that are safe to consume. Food safety is important as it helps to protect consumer from the risk of food borne illnesses. It also helps to prevent consumers from risks of health –related conditions such as allergy and even death.
Accordingly, food producers must ensure the safety of their products and reduce the risks of consumer exposure to contaminated or unsafe foods.
Many consumer studies in different countries revealed that more than half of the consumers believed food safety is very important. The top three food groups that they are most concerned are raw meat and fish, followed by dairy milk and egg products and lastly fresh fruits and vegetables.
Consumers expect producers of trusted food brands to routinely conduct pre-shipment inspection, batch testing of food products for safety and supplier audits. Obtaining food certifications and maintaining certified management systems are equally important to assure quality and safety. Research also has shown that 88% of consumers are more likely to purchase food products with labels that clearly state they have met or exceeded applicable food safety standards.
So, what does this mean for food producers and suppliers? In order to meet consumers food safety expectations, producers and suppliers need to focus on three important aspects:
– firstly, apply the farm-to-fork approach to food safety;
– secondly, leverage on the value of third-party testing and certification,
– and finally, focus on prevention, not damage control.
Abd Karim Alias