Businesses in food safety have been forced to re-think their priorities, adapt and innovate over the last 12 months.
For some time, there’s been growing pressure from both consumers and regulators to improve standards and visibility in food safety and sanitation practices, with the FDA especially vocal about its concerns.
If this wasn’t enough to make businesses uneasy, the industry was then faced with a global pandemic to navigate its way through.
COVID-19 has caused major disruption to food production and safety. Outbreaks in food factories have triggered shutdowns and multiple national lockdowns have created new, challenging consumer habits.
People have changed the way they shop, with a significant increase in online shopping and customer stockpiling. This has forced food production businesses to adapt delivery methods and adjust to new peaks in the market.
These COVID-19 challenges, plus previous consumer and regulatory pressure, have been a catalyst for change in the industry.
In a new era, focused on innovation and safety, businesses have embraced exciting, new technologies to speed-up vetting processes, while enhancing the safety of their staff or consumers. It’s an exciting time.
I’ve been especially impressed by the work being done by the California-based leader in next-generation DNA-based technology solutions, SafeTraces.
To improve the efficiency and safety of sanitation verification and traceability; SafeTraces has partnered with Corvium, the leader in automation of food risk intelligence.
Working together, they’ve integrated their two innovative technologies: SafeTraces’ rapid sanitation verification solution, saniDART, and Corvium’s automated environmental monitoring platform, CONTROL-PRO. This integration allows food suppliers and processors to schedule, manage and deliver diagnostic testing and results.
It’s a major advance in food safety. The saniDART is the first rapid solution for verifying sanitation effectiveness at a microbial level to receive certification from the AOAC Research Institute. With it effectively managed by the CONTROL-PRO in a single web-based platform, food suppliers and processors can ensure the safety of food effectively and efficiently.
SafeTraces hasn’t stopped there with its partnerships. The company has also entered a global alliance with JBT’s FoodTech solutions to support its worldwide distribution.
The strategic alliance will utilise SafeTraces’ ground-breaking food safety and traceability technology throughout JBT FoodTech businesses. This includes its fresh produce technologies, fresh-cut technologies and coating equipment solutions, enabling rapid verification of sanitation processes and item-level tracking and tracing of food materials.
Instead of waiting for days or weeks to verify food safety, sustainability or purity; the integrated solutions will provide the food industry with actionable results in minutes. Together, SafeTraces and JBT are changing the way safe, sustainable food is produced and delivered.
It’s an exciting era for food safety and there’s lots more innovations coming to market. Fastec Imaging - along with the likes of Stemmer Imaging and DevisionX – uses advanced vision technology to improve workflow efficiency and limit the amount of human contact needed in testing situations, which is vital during a global pandemic.
More innovation is on the way, with companies competing to offer the most innovative and safe solutions.
As a world leader in heat transfer, centrifugal separation and fluid handling; I expect Alfa Laval to play a central role in this new era. As part of a strategy centred around innovation, the company has plans to open an Application & Innovation centre for fluid handling technology.
This will strengthen the company's global position within the food industry, accelerating the development of new product innovations within the hygienic fluid handling technology (including pumps, valves, cleaning and mixing equipment).
The 1,600-square-metre centre, located at Alfa Laval’s site in Kolding, will also be used as a global test facility for food applications where customers can experience the performance of Alfa Laval equipment under actual operating conditions. This should help the company increase the adoption of its future innovations.
With major corporations investing in innovation and an array of exciting technologies already influencing change, the future is bright for food safety.
The challenges of COVID-19, plus consumer and regulatory pressure, have made it a difficult time for many businesses throughout the industry. However, they have responded admirably and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds in this new era of food safety.
If you have any feedback about this article or think I’ve missed anything, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please email me at Sam.Richardson@industrial-cm.com.
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