We love our food. In our culture, we have fruits and leafy greens available to us all year round, even if the region is buried under snow. We enjoy international produce and expect to have it fresh and ready for our consumption. However, the nature of importing food means that it travels for long periods of time and across many miles of distance, which leads to the potential of spoiled food.

Food safety in the supply chain has been a popular topic among suppliers and procurement specialists recently, causing a national conversation about the quality of our food shipment methods. When we are careful with food to the point of counting calories, shouldn't our food supply chain be handled with similar care?

Hungry for data
One of the best ways that we are able to monitor the safety of our food as it travels across land and sea is by careful and exact record keeping. Not only will these records be able to account for every transaction between suppliers, but they detail the actions taken in the event of a food safety violation reported Food Safety Magazine. Should a company take all the proper precautions but fail to outline any issues with food or shipping containers  it may be held accountable when diseases spread even if it is not originally at fault.

According to the source these records (including emails that are casual in nature) may be used in court cases and have the potential to be taken out of context. All interactions regarding the safety of our food should be worded thoughtfully to avoid confusion and incorrect finger-pointing.

Food for thought
Since the food industry affects everyone in the nation it makes sense that there should be government intervention when it comes to food safety. The Hill recently reported that the laws in the Food Safety Modernization Act will act as preventative rather than reactive. The only issue with this is that these laws have yet to be passed. There are always various hoops that bills have to maneuver through in order to be passed into law. There needs to be substantial funding to overhaul the food shipment system.

Hopefully Congress can grant the necessary funding for the FSMA to be passed into law and enforce the handling of perishables with care. While the budget is certainly hefty this is not without cause. Should Congress fulfill the need we will be able to properly and safely fill ourselves.

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Carole Boyle

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