Ensuring Food Safety in today’s day and age, is the most important and critical requirement of the Food industry, considering the increasing food-borne illness globally, with each passing year. With changing times, food safety is directly linked to promoting good health, nutrition, which would in turn ensure a healthy workforce along with a stable economic growth for manufacturers, suppliers, consumers, industry and ultimately the nation. Food Safety is a growing challenge for countries all over the world, and the pandemic that the world is facing today, throws light on how crucial it is, for the very existence of a healthy life and environment.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) releases a Food Safety index of States to measure the food safety on the basis of five parameters namely human resources and institutional data, compliance, food testing facility, training and capacity building besides consumer empowerment. This is to ensure states follow safe food practices and pay attention to nutrition and health.
Amidst its numerous challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic offers a serendipitous opportunity to strengthen India's food safety system. Food safety highlights the hygiene and sanitary requirements, management responsibilities and sector specific requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the food supply chain. Safe food and hygienic practices are the pillars for ensuring food safety, and also form a strong basis for minimizing people-to-people spread and cross-contamination of COVID-19 in food operations. Keeping this in mind, existing personal and food hygiene measures in India need to be audited and possibly strengthened if need be.
Industries processing grains, sugar, edible oils, beverages and dairy products are the major industries constituting the Food processing industry. The key sub-segments of the Food Processing industry include the Dairy, Fruits & Vegetables, Poultry & Meat processing, Fisheries, Food retail etc. Here, we talk about the meat industry specifically.
Top food safety challenges in Meat industry include -
Ensuring all the above mentioned requisites simultaneously, along with maintaining a balance between the supply and demand, is the biggest challenge for any meat industry to uphold its position in the market. Industries, who are able to adapt and improvise their food safety standards through implementation of modern, scientific methods can only sustain and triumph in the present industry
Meat and meat products are the major contributor for protein rich foods in the food industry. Along with this it is also understood that they are also the highest-risk category in the food industry. With consumers today, being more and more informed and concerned about the quality of food they purchase, meeting the ever-evolving meat quality standards has become implicit, throughout all other processes, in the entire supply chain. Meat manufacturers need to adopt new approaches, strategies and services to meet current compliance standards, and expedite their access to the meat market. A predominant approach to this involves meat quality assurance through effective meat quality testing and getting a meat safety certificate through the expertise provided by an internationally recognised meat quality testing service provider. We are a globally accredited meat quality testing and certification provider offering a wide array of analytical services for the testing of raw materials and semi-manufactured or finished meat products.
Meat quality assurance is a proactive and preventive approach to have quality control of meat and meat products. It helps to keep in check whether a safe, hygienic and clean environment is ensured during livestock breeding, processing, supply, transportation and storing. Meat quality assurance includes inspections, lab meat quality testing, audits, meat quality control and meat safety certification as per the guidelines and regulations of the destination market. Lab meat quality testing involves freshness control, grading the meat, tests to identify any residue, stability and shelf life. Meat quality testing is a part of meat quality assurance and they majorly ensure that safe, clean and good manufacturing practices are followed in the complete meat supply chain. Additionally, meat quality control includes tracking of the entire process, identifying if any deviations occur, verifying and maintaining a standard procedure. All these processes are done to eliminate, reduce or prevent food safety hazards. With timely quality testing of meat and meat products, a systematic verification as per regulations can be done, and corrective actions can be taken whenever there is a deviation from the set standards.
With increasing consumer demand for good quality, safe, ready to eat food products round the year, it is important to take a preventive approach to maintain the highest level of meat quality assurance to ensure a stronghold in the national and international market, thus increasing share in the meat trade including exports. Manufacturers must deploy production processes according to the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point), as well as ensure hygienic optimum conditions. HACCP Meat Quality Control Checks ensures conducting hazard analysis, pinpoint critical control points, and establish critical limits, monitoring procedures, establishing corrective actions, recordkeeping and verification of established procedures. All this coupled with safe and hygienic operating procedures will provide the highest level of meat quality assurance. A quality auditor or inspector when inspects, provides a meat safety certificate. This certification is recognised nationally or globally and provides brand recognition in respective markets. Meat safety certificate would help mitigate risk, save time and money, ensure better market access and inspire confidence in consumers and help grab a bigger market altogether.
Addressing food safety challenges is possible, only when the industry takes efforts to improve with changing trends and developments at the forefront of food safety and quality assurance as per regulations and adopting best practices to make food risk-free with the best use of scientific processes, safe for the overall environment. The key to addressing challenges is being informed, accepting change, adopting the evolving developments and implementing new processes with ever-changing and fast-growing times.
The first step towards having a successful business and establishing a brand name for your meat industry, is to have a scientific approach to ensure food safety. For this, you would need a robust quality assurance system and a good tie up with the best of the meat quality testing facility and meat safety certificate provider. We help meat industry suppliers, manufacturers and retailers to ensure that the meat and poultry in their supply chains is manufactured to high standards, stored and distributed under the right temperature conditions, and is compliant with local and international. Visit TÜV SÜD for more information related to food quality testing and food quality certification.