Food Safety and Shifting Global Pressures: Are We Ready? Part 2

Posted: Tuesday, August 14 2019

In the first part of this two-part series on Food Safety and Shifting Global Pressures, we looked at how the Environment, Logistics and Technology pose threats to the safety of the global food system. Today we finish up with three additional pressures: The Impact of Labour Dynamics, Government Policy and Consumer Preference.

By Jennifer van de Ligt, PhD

The Impact of Labour Dynamics

It’s said that more than 28% of the global population is directly or indirectly employed by agriculture. However, labour shortages exist globally, forcing the food industry to increasingly use mechanization and temporary and day labour. Within the United States, many food companies find themselves perpetually understaffed and/or reliant on day labour which means that in the context of food safety, the training of employees is essential. Unfortunately, many companies may be operating with a labour force that is minimally trained at best. Mechanization may alleviate personnel shortages, but it does not solve food safety issues. Rather, mechanization presents a different host of food safety concerns – for example, the sanitization of processing equipment and dealing with unintentional environmental/soil contamination resulting from mechanical harvesting.

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