Everyone here in the European Food industry have been in such a spin over the past few months dealing with the waves of issues thrown up by the horsemeat scandal that I have worried privately that we are taking our eyes off the bigger picture.
At the time of writing, I am still not aware of any food safety impacts on consumers. Fingers still crossed.
But with everyone so focussed on the protein supply chain and species testing I worry that while the industry is distracted with this that other risks may get missed.
Food safety and supply chain risk management is an ongoing, long term project.
Today I have posted on my Linked in profile about Phosphates used as a pesticides on rice and wheat may have resulted in the childrens deaths in India this week. http://lnkd.in/-YR7Yt Will our UK food industry horizon scanning systems be agile enough to increase surveillance on rice and wheat originating from India, what about finished products containing rice and wheat as ingredients?
I have also posted about the possible Hepatitis A outbreaks linked to frozen imported berries, 10 people in Ireland fall ill with Hepatitis A, FSAI linking this to imported Frozen Berries used in fruit smoothie etc http://lnkd.in/CshVwa This strikes me as something we may hear more about over the coming months.
What really concerns me about this Hepatitis A outbreak is that this appears to have been flagged up over 4 weeks ago by the CDC in the USA and has been linked to 118 outbreaks of Hepatitis A
Food supply chain risk assessment and supplier monitoring systems could be proactive enough to increase surveillance on the implicated products if the industry knows what to look for.
As an industry we are a major contributor of taxes and employment to the UK economy, in return our various government agencies, and I am not bothered who, should be collating this data from around the world, and making it available free of charge to the food industry who can then use their specification management systems and supplier approval management systems to filter what issues may be a food safety risk in their business.
It is not reasonable to expect industry to tackle this alone and be damaged when yet another issue arises.
No matter how good supplier approval management, food specification systems and supplier monitoring is there will be things that slip through the net.
More can be done.