Consumer Confidence – Whether a manufacturer, ingredient supplier or restaurant, the consumer is counting on us to provide safe and wholesome food. The food we make provides nutrition, energy and enjoyment for the consumer. They should never become sick as a result of consuming our product and should have full confidence we are doing everything in our power to process, store or prepare food in the safest way possible.
The Bottom Line – No food company wants to experience a recall, outbreak or lawsuit. This can cost the company thousands if not millions of dollars. Not only does it hurt the people sickened but can hurt our own employees who may be left unemployed as a result of the costs associated with food-borne illness. Consciously investing in food safety will protect our customers, the company and the bottom line.
Public Health Impact – According to the CDC, food-borne illness is still a significant public health burden in the United States. Each year the industry and medical costs associated with food safety exceed 15.5 billion dollars. While we have come a long way since the days of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”, there is still a lot of work to be done. We are making food for ourselves. We all need to be invested in a culture of food safety that will bring positive change to public health and reduce these numbers.
The Perpetual Challenge – The food industry never stops running as we are constantly consuming food to ensure our survival. The complex global web of producers, distributers and retailers that has become our food system presents incredible challenges and immense problems to solve. While we wish to eradicate foodborne illness, the current reality is we have to continuously work on the problems because the industry, agriculture and consumer behaviors are constantly changing. As humans we love being able to challenge ourselves and solve problems.
Serving and Protecting – Many of us in the public health, hospitality, food service and technology industries have a strong sense of service. We want to help others and increase the overall health of the population. It comes from our instincts to protect our people for the benefit of everyone. We want people to be well fed, healthy and enjoy life to the fullest. We have to give the utmost importance to serving their needs and protecting them from foodborne illness. We have the keys to the factory and the responsibility to protect our customers.
An Art and a Science – Food safety management relies on scientific disciplines such as chemistry, microbiology and physics. But it also incorporates the need for creativity, communication and social skills. Most of us in the food science world have to be able to creatively come up with solutions or communicate science to the public. And since everyone has to eat, it’s no easy task to reach everyone. We are also coming up with new innovative ways to manage our food safety systems. Something like a wireless temperature system would not be possible without ingenuity, creativity and good science.