September is National Food Safety Education Month. In honor of this, I’d like to take a moment to share how the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) advances food safety throughout the year to ensure Americans have access to much-needed safe and nutritious food options year-round.
- Lead with science
AFFI invests in scientific research to help the industry and regulatory authorities make better risk-based decisions. AFFI’s research has also guided the development of best food safety practices to prevent foodborne risks from farm to frozen food facility to freezer to fork.
- Develop and disseminate best practices
Based on science, AFFI works with its members and the broader frozen food industry to develop best practices aimed at the control and prevention of foodborne risks. AFFI’s Food Safety Zone serves as a one-stop food safety resource for all frozen food companies. This website allows manufacturers to search for, access and incorporate food safety practices, created by food safety professionals FOR food safety professionals. The tools are available for download so they can be applied to the food safety plans of our industry companies.This year AFFI expanded its Food Safety Zone to include a new Enteric Viruses Control Program (EVCP) aimed at preventing and controlling Norovirus and Hepatitis A throughout the global frozen fruit supply chain. AFFI’s Food Safety Zone is also home to the Listeria Control Program aimed at Listeria monocytogenes prevention and control. These resources are designed to empower food industry employees to make food safety decisions that drive a positive food safety culture and ultimately, prevent foodborne illness.
- Collaborate to educate
We must ensure consumers understand most frozen foods are intended to be cooked and to follow the package cooking instructions. There’s strength in numbers when it comes to sharing this knowledge. That’s why we collaborate with AFFI members and other organizations on educational strategies that effectively bring food safety messages to consumer audiences.We also collaborate with other organizations on educational opportunities for the frozen food industry. For example, earlier this year AFFI, in partnership with the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI), launched a Listeria Control Specialist certificate program for food safety management in food manufacturing facilities. The curriculum is based on AFFI’s Listeria Control Program©.
Just last month, AFFI and IFPTI developed a food safety freezer management course to be taken in conjunction with the original Listeria Control Specialist certificate program. You can learn more about the course at www.ifpti.org/lcs.
Additionally, AFFI’s “Listeria Stops Here” toolkit for frontline operations personnel helps to build recognition for and understanding of the specific risk related to Lm in food production.
AFFI invites every domestic and international food safety professional to avail yourself of one or more of AFFI’s food safety offerings available on our Food Safety Zone. Together, we can take an active role in preventing foodborne illness by driving a food safety culture that empowers employees to make critical food safety decisions and take preventive actions.