Responsibility of Food Companies for Food Safety


This topic was moderated by James Swi-Bea Wu, Ph.D. and Chin Kun Wang, Ph.D. and included four lectures.


Roy Biggs, Ph.D., Manager, Food Safety & Quality Assurance, New Zealand spoke about the impact of company actions on public health and also about industry sector partnerships with government. Dr. Biggs reviewed the public health impacts of a Salmonella control program by a poultry company in New Zealand. Dr. Biggs examined some of the drivers of the programs and gave an overview of effective actions as well as actions that did not lead to significant impact. Dr. Biggs concluded with comments regarding business responsibility towards consumers and the respective roles of companies, industry sectors, and governments in safeguarding public health.


Ian Jension, Ph.D., Manager, Market Access Science and Technology, Meat & Livestock Australia discussed managing safety and quality through supply chains using beef and lamb as examples.


Dr. Jension provided examples of how the beef and lamb industries continually develop their systems to meet customer expectations for safety, wholesomeness, and other quality attributes, and discussed situations in which internationally accepted approaches to food safety cannot be applied to production, processing, and delivery systems. Approaches such as statistical process control (SPC) and quality systems management have been applied in the food manufacturing industry for many years. Dr. Jension described that quality systems can be very useful if managed well, but do not always provide knowledge of the parameters that must be controlled to achieve a safe food product. Dr. Jension noted that though a number of successful approaches to ensuring the quality and safety of food products have been introduced, no single approach can comprehensively address all food safety issues.


Y. Martin Lo, Ph.D., Associate Research Scientist, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland gave a lecture entitled, “Global Responsibilities, the Past, Present, and Future of Food Safety and Related Issues.” Dr. Lo shared lessons learned regarding food safety and related issues around the world, including criminal adulteration, incorporation of genetically modified organisms (GMO), and climate change that have or could drastically impact global food supplies. Dr. Lo indicated that agricultural sustainability and environmental impacts of food production need to be properly addressed. Dr. Lo stated it is critical to identify crucial factors impacting food safety in order to enable the food industry to develop the most effective food safety strategies.


Andy Hwang, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Eastern Regional Research Center, ARS, USDA, USA discussed the safety of ready-to-eat foods and concerns and intervention strategies regarding the safety of ready-to-eat foods. Dr. Hwang discussed concerns and interventions regarding the safety of ready-to-eat-foods (RTE), which are products intended to be consumed without additional preparation or cooking and are most frequently stored at refrigeration temperatures. Dr. Hwang noted that demand for RTE foods has increased steadily due to convenience, lifestyles, and increasing consumption of food away from the home. A comprehensive understanding of food safety concerns, the possible causes of the contamination, and the applicable intervention measures are critical for designing processing and handling practices for safe production of RTE foods.