Special Session at GFSI Explores Food Safety Culture in the Food Service Industry

eFOOD-Lab_International_01_2016

Special Session at GFSI Explores Food Safety Culture in the Food Service Industry 34 1/2016 eFOOD-Lab international Global Food Safety Conference 2016 Sponsored by SGS, the Shaping Food Safety Culture in Food Service – Challenges, Opportunities and Key Drivers special session at GFSI 2016, attracted an audience of more than 100 delegates. Author: Evangelia Komitopoulou, PhD. Global Customised Solutions Manager, Food Safety & Quality, SGS Group Management ltd, Place des Alpes 1, CH-1211 Geneva, Email: food@sgs.com Food-borne disease outbreaks are on the increase. Globally, thousands of people are affected every year, and in Europe 1 in 5 outbreaks implicate the food service industry. Despite the different preventative and control measures already in place in the food industry, as well as in catering and food service environments, cases continue to rise, worldwide. Speakers from the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotana Hotel Group and Taylor Shannon International, led by Peter Hvidberg, Global Business Manager, Travel & Hospitality at SGS, explored the global threat posed by unsafe practices in both food production and handling. A lively and informative session, the speakers looked at the global scale of food and waterborne diseases and their impacts, the key barriers and drivers to compliance behaviors within a food service establishment, and how a food safety culture can build on the foundations of established food safety management systems and improve performance in the food service industry. EU Statistics Set the Tone Opening the session and introducing the subject of food safety culture in the food service industry, Mr. Hvidberg set the scene with statistics to demonstrate the extent of food and waterborne disease outbreaks in Europe. A recent report published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), confirmed that in 2013, the European Union (EU) saw: • 5,196 food-borne and water-borne outbreaks • 43,183 human cases • 5,946 hospitalizations • 11 deaths In these figures, 22.2% of outbreaks were associated with restaurants, hotels, cafes, pubs and bars (EFSA Journal 2015; 13(1): 3991). The figures speak for themselves, but in the 21st century social media can exacerbate the reputational damage to businesses. Bad news travels faster now than ever before. Common Causes Publicly available recall data and the media coverage of outbreaks often point to manufacturers and processors being the primary cause of contaminated foods. However, in many cases food safety system failures are manifested through breaches of food safety regulations and protocols, post processing e.g. failure to ensure critical procedures (cleaning, separation of raw and cooked meat) are effectively followed, insufficient food safety related records kept, ineffective training, etc. Food handling errors such as inadequate cooking, inappropriate time/temperature controls and cross contamination have also commonly been implicated in food-borne outbreaks. In the USA, the most recently published CDC figures indicate that in the period between 2009-2012, restaurants accounted for almost two-thirds of norovirus outbreaks, and catering or banquet facilities accounted for 17%, implicating food handler intervention in 70% of cases. Areas to Address To ensure food and consumer safety, as well as to protect businesses and brands, Mr. Hvidberg listed some of the areas that need to be addressed, including: • Safety system failures • Breaches of food safety regulations


eFOOD-Lab_International_01_2016
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