Food safety is and remains a top ten concern for food manufacturers and other food businesses. But a series of major food poisoning outbreaks and contamination incidents over the last three years have served to focus the attention of the media, consumer groups and enforcement authorities worldwide on the activities of the food industry as never before. This critical environment is set to become a key driver for food businesses to strengthen the measures they take to ensure the safety and traceability of their products. The pressure to introduce more robust systems and technologies is growing as the requirements of legislation and the demands of key customers continue to expand.
Conversely, while industry safety practices may be under the spotlight, the growing demands on businesses may also present an opportunity. Early adoption of developing technologies and systems for managing food safety and traceability can demonstrate corporate responsibility and commitment to the protection of consumers and shareholders. For some businesses, a visibly responsible attitude to food safety is set to become an asset, which has the potential to deliver added value and competitiveness, if communicated effectively.
This report brings together the major food safety challenges currently facing food businesses and the complex driving forces being applied to the industry. These drivers are then related to some important technologies and systems being developed to enhance the management of food safety and traceability. Those technologies are analysed and compared in terms of their likely impact. The potential for change presented by key future developments is examined and a framework for a business strategy to cope with growing demands for food safety and traceability is presented.
Key features of this report
? An overview of the broad range of food safety threats facing businesses and an analysis of the main sources and causes of those threats.
? An assessment of the key influences driving food safety and traceability enhancement including legislation and the demands of major customers.
? Comparative analysis of significant new food processing methods and other ancillary technologies and their likely impact on food safety.
? Assessment of the potential role of new packaging technologies in food safety assurance.
Scope of this report
? Gain a broad understanding of the strategic significance of product safety and traceability in the overall context of the modern food industry.
? Assess the potential for investment in food safety and traceability technologies to provide real benefits and a competitive advantage for your business.
? Be aware of the range of new food safety technologies and services available to businesses, their benefits and drawbacks and their potential to provide return on investment.
? Understand the real potential for food safety benefits to be gained from new packaging technologies.
? Gain an insight into the importance and value of effective traceability systems in managing food safety.
Key Market Issues
? The key threats to food safety and their sources can be identified, but threats can also arise from unexpected directions. How can businesses best prepare themselves for rapidly emerging threats?
? Many technologies have been developed and marketed with a view to enhancing food safety, but which of them have the potential to provide real business benefits in the long term?
? The potential role of ‘smart packaging’ in food safety is much hyped, but the real benefits may be limited by current technology. The development of nanotechnology applications is set to alter the equation dramatically.
? Pressure to improve the traceability of products in the food supply chain beyond current legal requirements is growing. Will the technologies currently available, or close to market, make this possible?
Key findings from this report
? Contamination problems originate from well regulated domestic suppliers as well as from imported products.
? Manufacturers need to establish as much control as possible over their supply chains.
? Food safety is becoming an important factor in the overall issue of corporate responsibility.
? The demands of retailers and customers now have a strong influence on food safety policy and practice in many businesses.
? Some alternative food processing technologies have food safety and quality advantages, but these may be outweighed by increased costs, regulatory hurdles and consumer resistance.
? Many active and intelligent packaging technologies add significantly to production costs and potential benefits are still uncertain.
? Traceability is a vital element of food safety in terms of identifying and controlling contamination incidents.
? Managing traceability data using ‘cloud computing’ software solutions accessed via the Internet is a cost-effective way to deal with growing future demands for traceability data.
Key questions answered
? What are the most significant threats to food safety faced by manufacturers and other food businesses?
? Where do the majority of reported food safety threats and food contaminants originate?
? What are the human and financial consequences of a failure in food safety management or a contamination incident?
? How are businesses responding to growing food safety demands from retailers and other customers?
? Can novel food processing technologies and systems make a meaningful contribution to food safety?
? Does new packaging technology have a real role in product safety in the food industry?
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