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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Modern Food Industry Sand Hill Enterprises

Building sand hills may keep people busy enough because the hills do not and will not remain standing for long enough to allow for any rest.  
            . . . and the ultimate accomplishment is. . . ?

 . . . you guessed it: Nothing!

Tom Easley, in a comment posted to the GCSE-Food and Health Protection discussion group, explained how some dairy companies that served as his suppliers in the past deliberately skewed certificates of analysis. You may read his comments here: The Letter of Guarantee and Third Party Certificate Question

We live in a modern food industry world, or do we? With so many players having an almost irresistible bent towards uncivilized behaviour that is driven by greed, it appears hopeless to expect any trustworthiness within the industry. It is sad that we cannot boast about living in more civilized times since transparency remains just as dodgy as in the days when, as Walter Anderson described, "people held red-hot iron bars to prove their innocence or honesty" (Walter Anderson’s comments).

Both then and now, I'd rather have true civilization where greed is replaced by true collaboration with a persistent sense of moral obligation and social responsibility.

is the call to an industry that appears to have lost its way.

Scientific and technological advancement should have made it possible, and indeed makes it possible for businesses to be profitable while remaining voluntarily transparent and morally responsible. Businesses can operate honestly without the need for policing by regulatory and other industry monitoring agencies (the sand hill-building enterprise). Intended as solutions, intensified punitive measures to force compliance often disrupt the precarious compliance sand hills even more and the industry slides further downhill. Are food businesses, the regulators and other monitoring agencies ever going to learn and move past the building of monuments with sand? 
They are not HAPPY; they are MOCKING
With some industry monitoring proposals, complexity and intricate semantics is the order of the day. As confusion builds and the cost of supporting redundancies in food safety management mounts, many businesses, to their own detriment, will continue to engage in shady and destructive practices. Even the most advanced food safety auditing intelligence will soon fall well behind, if this is not already happening. In fact, some food safety assessment schemes are part of the make-work enterprises with the often celebrated virtual success. Meanwhile, consumers continue to die from food poisoning and the litigation industry is growing. Ask Bill Marler how many food safety certificates have prevented lawsuitsFood businesses need to spend more time on the plant floor preventing issues than in the courts defending them.

The sand hill and baskets of water enterprises are multi-billion businesses.
This does not mean that the world benefits from them as the money flows into only a few pockets. The money, in many instances, flows right back out of the pockets of food merchants almost as quickly while leaving a trail of health problems for consumers of fraudulent and hazardous food.

We can do better is the message and determination of GCSE-Food and Health Protection. Among other things, the Coalition’s drive has given rise to the food safety and quality management sophistication of the SSQA Concept that can be easily implemented by any business anywhere in the world without the cost burdens of the equivalent options.
Posted By Felix Amiri

Felix Amiri is the current Food Sector Chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection

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