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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Thinking Globally Acting Locally
The above quotation is well known and is particularly applicable to the food industry where food may be produced in one country and eaten in another. It was also used as the basis for organising a conference on Breaking News in Practical HACCP and Food Safety held in Johannesburg, South Africa in May 2005. This two-day conference brought together a selection of local and international speakers and was convened by Consulting Microbiological Laboratory, a leading provider of testing services in the southern African region. Topics ranged from the safety of produce, local and international audit standards and auditor registration schemes, regulatory perspectives and overviews of food safety history and research to practical aspects of cross contamination control in foodservice, microbial biofilms and their control as well as design and management aspects of high risk processing facilities.
Broadly speaking all topics related to global trends and their application to local operations. Two quotations by speakers were particularly reflective of this overall theme:
Food safety does not happen by accident
A country gets the food poisoning it deserves
In the first instance it was emphasized that the whole process from growing, harvesting/production through processing, transport, retailing and consumption requires constant management and verification. These functions all concern people, processes and products which necessitate the formulation of management systems designed to address the many potential safety problems that can affect the food chain.
In the second instance it is recognised that the adverse publicity associated with food poisoning can easily affect the entire industry in terms of lost export quotas, decreased local tourism potential and loss of international reputation of the country of origin. Production of food to internationally accepted quality and safety standards is therefore one of the foremost priorities for a developing country like South Africa in order to realise the full potential of exports as an earner of revenue.
The papers contained in this issue of BFJ are a selection of those presented at the above conference.
Alex von Holy and Denise LindsayGuest Editors