US: Walmart asks meat industry to break with tradition
Food safety professionals need to break with tradition and to be more imaginative and creative in dealing with food safety issues, Frank Yiannas, vice president for food safety for Walmart, told the 750 delegates at the Global Food Safety Conference in London at its closing session on Friday.
He identified several trends in food safety that had come out of the conference, including:
* Increased surveillance and the use of more technologies in surveillance of foodborne disease outbreaks
* The importance of ingredients as a cause of half of the disease outbreaks in the United State in recent years
* The significance of social media is giving early warning of foodborne illnesses, and
* The role that human behaviour played in causing and preventing food-linked diseases.
Yiannas also made a plea for the industry to learn from other disciplines and for the regulators to understand that they should design standards but should not be prescriptive about solutions.
Collaboration and leadership, not just management, were also on his list of future actions to deal with food safety on a global scale.
Speaking to Meatingplace after his closing speech at the conference Frank Yiannas said, “Walmart introduced an important initiative in April last year requiring US beef suppliers to further protect customers against foodborne illnesses by incorporating leading-edge food safety standards. The meat supply chain can’t rely only on testing and inspection. Validated scientific evidence is crucial.
“Looking to the future, my call to the conference today is for the food safety community to break with tradition. We need to change behavior and cultures and use the new technologies to achieve better food safety. This applies equally to the meat supply chain and the industry can learn from other disciplines and show creativity and leadership in food safety.”