Collaboration contributes to safer food

Access to safe food is essential for consumers’ health worldwide. This year’s World Food Safety Day and The World Accreditation Day are strong reminders of all industry players’ responsibility to raise the bar on food safety.

Each year nearly 600 million persons fall sick and 420,000 die prematurely from foodborne diseases. Supply chains are becoming more global, product ingredients sources from several countries and products sold across borders.  Increased complexity and international trade demand more proof and control of conformity to ensure food safety in every link. In addition, regulatory pressures are increasing on food safety as well as sustainability aspects such as food waste and natural resources.

The need for control and trust has never been higher. Much has been achieved, but the number of incidents and impact on human lives clearly indicates that there is still a significant amount of work to be done.

On June 7, we celebrate World Food Safety Day. The United Nations declared this day two years ago to draw global attention to the health consequences of contaminated food and water. This edition coincides with The World Accreditation Day on June 9, which is dedicated to how accreditation supports food safety.

“Certification bodies and assurance providers like us can and must play an independent, trusted role to further improve foods safety, create confidence in food value chains and safeguard consumers,” says Joy Laing, Global Food & Beverage Director, DNV GL - Business Assurance. “To do this, accreditation of TIC industry players is essential. It ensures the quality and integrity needed by setting requirements on how we operate as well as the qualifications and competence of our auditors. This is essential to ensure the level of consistency needed to ensure food safety throughout value chains across the globe.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has put the importance of safety and food value chains front and center. It has forced new ways of working to ensure food safety and consistent food supplies, both short and long-term. From supplier qualification, food safety audits and improved infection risk management practices, the COVID situation has forced the industry to find new practices and methods. To change at the speed required while ensuring the same or even improving the level of quality and safety control can be challenging. Robust accreditation schemes and frameworks provide vital foundation for change and collaboration.

“Food safety is defined as non-competitive issue in the food industry. This year’s World Food Safety Day and The World Accreditation Day’s are a strong reminder that we have to approach this issue together. We are only as strong as the weakest link. Each of us have a responsibility to drive progress in the best possible way,” says Joy Laing. “Collaboration is the only way to make a difference today while making significant contributions to the SDGs.”