By: Cindy Payle
'30% of individuals in developed countries acquire illnesses from the food and water they consume annually' - World health Organisation.
This is one of the many shocking statistics that has come to light through the Global Food Safety Initiative.
In the US an ongoing survey has found that "consumers are highly aware of food safety issues and have a high recognition of third party certification as an effective signal of food safety assurance.?
While South Africans are not as clued up on food safety as their US counterparts, a greater access to information on food requirements and consumer rights is increasing the average consumer?s knowledge of food protection and safety.
Information sources such as Entecom and the Food Safety Network, which is an on-line search portal providing free and easy access to a directory of food safety related information, services and products in South Africa, are examples of user-friendly information gateways.
"Maybe, just maybe, food safety messages are starting to sink in with consumers. A recent trend report seems to show that people are taking more ownership of their responsibilities when it comes to food safety and health.? - Dairyherd network.
Consumers are not only becoming more aware of food safety issues but are realizing that they are responsible for their own health and safety.
"The government cannot protect consumers from the consequences of their own actions. Consumers need to take responsibility and strive to become informed and knowledgeable about food issues in order to make selective food purchases and practice the necessary safety requirements when handling, preparing and storing food? - Food Advisory Consumer Service.
This may be a positive sign for consumers but businesses who do not comply with regulations may face difficulties in future as consumers become more informed. The fact that more consumers are taking steps to become better equipped to recognize low quality foods has added to the pressures of the food industry to adhere to certifiable food standards.
SANS (South African National Standard) 10049 workshop
In South Africa these standards will be based on the new SANS (South African National Standard) 10049, which was published in February 2011.
"SANS 10049 was revised, taking into account the latest requirements from other food standards, such as PAS220:2008, GFSI Ver.6 etc. The document is more detailed than PAS220 to fit a developing market? says Linda Jackson.
Entecom will host a workshop on the new SANS 10049 standard in association with the Food Safety Network, which will be presented by Jackson.
Linda Jackson has been actively involved in the technical committee and the working group which expedited the publication, and can thus provide valuable insight.
The workshop will review the new regulations, compare new requirements against old ones and discuss the potential audit changes that the new food safety regulations may bring.
For more informationhttp go to http://www.skillsportal.co.za/train/training_providers/view/123-entecom… or contact Sarah on 041 366 1970/80