Increasingly complex and rapidly changing patterns in global food consumption, manufacturing and retailing are creating a whole new range of problems in food safety, according to Lincoln University Senior Lecturer in Food Microbiology Dr Malik Hussain.
With commercial reputations on the line, the situation has prompted him and his colleagues, Senior Lecturer Dr Sue Mason and Associate Professor in Toxicology Ravi Gooneratne, to organise a range of food safety short courses for industry professionals, with the first three courses commencing in April.
The courses are run through the Department of Wine, Food and Molecular Biosciences, and will involve participation from industry experts from the likes of AgResearch and The Institute of Environmental Science and Research.
“Food is becoming very complex, and even a simple meal cooked at home or foods bought from the supermarket can easily contain ingredients from several countries or continents.
“This complexity, in what is also a highly competitive global industry, requires a sound understanding of what food safety means from ‘paddock to plate’. This is vital to protecting the health of consumers and the commercial reputation of food manufacturers,” says Dr Hussain.
It’s a sentiment shared by Associate Professor Ravi Gooneratne, who notes how food safety is gaining global attention, mainly due to an increasing awareness of food poisoning incidents around the world.
“Food safety education and training is crucial for food scientists and staff across the whole food industry. Every member of the food supply chain has a part to play in food safety.
“The rapid and detrimental effects on a company or country’s reputation from food safety issues should be obvious now,” says Associate Professor Gooneratne.
The industry courses in April include a basic two-day course in practical food microbiology, a one-day course in Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (a globally recognised food safety system for safe food production), and a half-day course on meat product quality and safety and meat industry legislation.
“These professional development short courses are designed to provide meaningful training that can help industry professionals mitigate risk, but they are also open to members of the public with a general interest in the topic,” says Dr Hussain.
More information on the courses can found at www.lincoln.ac.nz/dwfmb