Food safety: Protecting the consumer starts on-farm

  • ​Food safety is critical to brand reputation and, subsequently, the company's bottom line. It begins but does not end at the farm gate. ​
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Fifty-three percent of consumers frequently wonder if the food they buy is safe, according to research conducted for the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance.
 
Food safety has become a top priority among poultry producers today because of its direct and significant effect on brand reputation. The effects of a food recall are always costly and can severely harm a brand's reputation if consumers lose trust.
 
For over two decades, the meat and poultry industries have been following the guidelines of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, or HACCP, a management system for food safety put in place to address potential biological, chemical and physical contamination. This allows producers to identify possible hazards in order to take the necessary actions to reduce or eliminate the risk.
 
There is no silver bullet strategy that has the capability to address every potential threat along the production chain, so producers and plants use a variety of strategies at their critical control points.
 

 Three steps to improve food safety

As stated on the National Chicken Council website, some ways that producers can improve their food safety include:
  • The use of feed additives that can reduce the growth of potential microbial hazards.
  • Approved rinses to kill any surviving bacteria.
  • Metal detectors to make sure physical contaminants are not found in a product.
In addition to food safety systems, producers also need to make sure that their consumers understand proper food handling practices. Consumers should be made aware of the proper way to clean, prepare, cook and chill raw agricultural products in order to further reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses.
 
West Liberty Foods, a leading supplier of sliced meats in the U.S., understands that the concepts of food safety and consumer trust are crucial to success. The company’s chairman, Paul Hill, explained its strategy in a recent Alltech feature story. Learn more about how a brand like West Liberty Foods approaches food safety by clicking on the link below.