SHANGHAI (PRNewswire) — The standards of food safety differs when crossing multiple country or regional borders. While "hazard-based decision-making" has been, and often still is, the norm, governments around the world (lead by Codex Alimentarius, FAO, and WHO) are adopting Risk Analysis (RA) as the framework for risk-based decision-making. Unilever has adopted this governmental model to risk-based decision-making and the science/technologies involved in it into our food safety assurance approach to innovating and marketing food products.
Food standards define essential aspects of the safety and quality of food in international trade as well as public health related to food. While food is more and more traded over long distances, there are different food standards from one country or region to the next. Global organisations such as Codex Alimentarius have, under the auspices of the parent organizations of FAO and WHO, guides its members through an evolution of food safety control based on hazards, providing risk-based guidance on the best food safety management practices, and setting standards related to consumer risk. Large scientific bodies such as JECFA, JMPR, and JEMRA provide the scientific input into the risk management committees of Codex Alimentarius.
Importantly, food safety relies on adequate control of all relevant hazards; chemical, physical, or biological. Current best practice systems for food safety management (GAP-GMP-GHP, HACCP) can achieve a very high level of food safety assurance when they are deployed faithfully and consistently, and are based on a sound product concept. It is a misconception that testing alone or even HACCP alone can deliver safe food. Rather, the combination of a good product and process design, good deployment using best practice systems, and selective use of testing for validation and verification is the overall package that is needed for reliable food safety assurance. While this is not a radically new insight at all, current practices around the world do not always reflect this thinking and societies' views of what constitutes a safe food product is a dynamic aspect both in time and in place. Food safety standards and other "metrics" reflecting safe foods vary tremendously between countries and/or regions, and the rational for this is not always evident or scientifically supported.
Food safety management in the international context is constantly evolving since it started to become more harmonized globally over the last 100 years. While "hazard-based decision-making" has originally been, and often still is, the norm, governments around the world (lead by Codex Alimentarius, FAO and WHO) are adopting Risk Analysis (RA) as the framework for risk-based decision-making. This framework provides a structured and systematic foundation for modern food safety management as it supports a responsible move away from mere hazard-based to more risk-based food safety control at the governmental level. As part of the framework and in the area of food safety microbiology, several new risk metrics have been designed to link country public health policies with operational control of the food present on the market. Unilever has adopted this governmental model to risk-based decision-making and the science/technologies involved in it into our food safety assurance approach to innovating and marketing food products. This approach consists of establishing a safe design based on pertinent knowledge/data, informed selection of processes and control measures to prevent, eliminate or adequately control significant hazards, and validation and verification by useful testing during the product innovation and product manufacturing.
Dr. Leon Gorris, Regulatory Affairs from Unilever will share more details and best practices about risk management and how to design and manufacture safe and innovative food products during the Food Safety & Quality Control China Conference in June. Check here more details about his presentation, www.food-safety-china.com