The day has arrived, when no one, anywhere should Assume…
[uh-soom] Show PA verb, as·sumed, as·sum·ing. verb (used with object)to take for granted or without proof!
When it comes to food safety, “assuming” can kill you! Consumers in the past have been raised with the mindset that it is safe to assume that everyone, everywhere is doing everything they can to make our food safe, mostly because they were! However, consumers are learning that this is an old truth. The world has changed in such a way that it has affected the faith and confidence in the means by which our food is imported from around the world to how it is served on our dinner plates.
We are discovering that less than 2% of Canadian food is inspected at our borders. Which would be perfectly fine, if everywhere around the world had excellent, high standards for food safety, but they do not! Food arrives, is distributed into warehouses, travels to our grocery stores or restaurants and is on our plates before day’s end.
The global and domestic production, distribution, and preparation of our food is a massive undertaking. The food chain has multiple critical steps, passing through countless government agencies, organizations, companies, and peoples. An informed consumer grasps the folly to trust and assume, without documented, verified proof that each and every step is handled with the utmost care and consideration for safe consumption.
Our assumption days are done. Consumers across our land are beginning to comprehend, realize and expect confirmation, substantiation, verification, and evidence that our food producers, distributors and handlers are really doing what they say they’re doing in protecting and providing uncontaminated food.
Retail food outlets, from grocery stores to street vendors, must take heed, not to make the fruitless assumption that their customers will continue to blindly trust them and take their word that the food is safe to eat. Meanwhile, daily reports of food-borne illness outbreaks and food recalls have begun the undermining of the general populace’s confidence and assurance.
We have the Power, Intellect and Technology to achieve the transition from “assuming” to “assuring”. The power and voice of the consumer is still viable in this world today…united together to demand proof through every means possible, including the universal benchmark of certification, will go a long way in establishing a new era for the food safe culture. Intellect is our weapon against presumption, to plan and work toward averting potential disasters by empowering third party, arm’s length governing bodies to oversee the safe principles and practices for food safety. And technology is allowing for quicker and more convenient ways to communicate, and monitor the ongoing day to day details of the process of safe food production.
As another new day begins, and the confidence builds, consumers everywhere can sit down, this evening to a plateful of food and enjoy their contribution to the overall food safety conscience by simply not assuming it is safe.
From the desk of Skye Marie, CEO of HACCPCanada