The Food Safety Summit continued on Tuesday, October 20, with a keynote presentation entitled “Back to Basics: Consumer-Focused Food Safety.”
The speaker was Will Daniels, president, produce division, IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group. He also provided a Food Safety Summit keynote speech in 2013.
The session looked at a variety of ways to keep consumers safe. Daniels said there should be a focus on protecting the elderly, at-risk individuals, and essential workers.
Although companies have been trying to still produce safe food, they should also look at how to keep employees safe from one another and the virus, and how to protect the human asset from exposure, he said. This can be difficult, because manufacturing facilities are built in that people are close together, and at the beginning of the pandemic, it was hard to social distance. However, face masks/shields and Plexiglass workstations were all implemented within days by some facilities, as well as regular temperature checks.
Communication and leadership will be key during the pandemic, Daniels said. The COVID-19 death toll, as of October 2020, has been equivalent to 80 years of foodborne illness deaths in the U.S.
Daniels recommended focusing more on the consumer, with food safety efforts, in order to prevent more food outbreaks/recalls. He said that there are three factors that influence food safety programs: market, regulation, and the consumer. Also, consumers are demanding more transparency from companies.
He also brought up a good point: Would consumers pay more for food if they knew they were getting a strong food safety program behind it?
Click here to watch this event on-demand.