By Claus Heggum, representative for food safety on the IDF Science and Programme Coordination Committee, and Aurélie Dubois, IDF Science and Standards Programme Manager
IDF welcomes the first World Food Safety Day, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018, which will be celebrated on 7 June 2019 under the theme “Food Safety, everyone’s business.”
It is indeed everyone’s business! Without food safety, there is no food security. In a world where the food supply chain has become more complex, any adverse food safety incident could have a catastrophic impact on public health, trade and the economy. From the farm to the table, everyday amazing women and men around the world ensure that our food is safe.
International collaboration is key
As recently highlighted during the FAO/WHO/WTO International Forum on Food Safety and Trade in Geneva, Switzerland, it is essential that scientists, governments, farmers, processors and control authorities collaborate throughout the food chain to keep our food safe. This includes setting up appropriate legislation, import controls and educating consumers on how to respect basic safety rules whilst manipulating food and ingredients.
Science-based standards to ensure safe food – our day to day job
Food safety is at the heart of IDF’s mission. We are committed to safeguarding the integrity and transparency of the dairy supply chain to ensure the safety and quality of milk and dairy products, and to ensure consumers can trust food products that are produced.
Global standards like Codex, which protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade, help to gain that trust. IDF has contributed to the development of standards for the dairy sector since 1903, and has been closely collaborating with Codex since its inception in 1963 to share its standards and expertise for milk and milk products, with safety and fair-trade practices at heart, along with other international organizations such FAO, WHO and ISO.
Developing and harmonizing standards to deliver safe food
For more than 30 years, IDF has contributed to the development and harmonization of key international standards and guidelines on risk management and on good hygienic practices, all aiming at providing safe and sound food. Currently, IDF participates in the development of:
• The Codex revision of the General Principles of Food Hygiene (CXC 1-1969) and its HACCP annex, Codex Committee on Food Hygiene. This document is currently recognized for providing a common ground for the control of food safety worldwide and is required to be regularly updated to ensure it reflects current approaches to food safety control and scientific knowledge.
• The Codex revision of the date marking provisions in the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods. Ensuring harmonized labelling of date marking could address consumer confusion and aims to help consumers make safe and optimal use of foods, including reduction of food waste.
Knowledge that improves the dairy sector
IDF uses the knowledge and expertise of hundreds of passionate men and women around the globe to proactively develop further guidance for the dairy sector. Current projects include:
• Providing practical advice and high-level information on how to manage non-intentionally added residues for non-specialists
• Developing guidance on process environment monitoring for microbiological contamination, triggered by recent outbreaks of L. monocytogenes which were caused by environmental contamination.
Finally, IDF consolidates this knowledge to share experience and improve best practice. For instance, IDF recently published a review on pasteurization covering not only technological and microbiological aspects, but also linking it with nutrition (Bulletin of the IDF 496).
You can count on IDF to continue to contribute to food safety. It’s a mission we strongly believe in.
Visit the IDF website for more information on our work on food safety.