Consumers rarely see the rigorous processes to ensure that food is safe for their families. But, before it reaches their tables, procedures and precautions are implemented at all stages of the food supply chain — growing, processing, distribution, and preparation — to ensure a safe and delicious meal. These stringent steps help prevent foodborne illness and keep people safe and healthy.
The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and its member companies are committed to advancing food safety practices across the supply chain and helping to raise the bar on food safety. Continue reading to learn more details on how AFFI and frozen food processors and ingredient suppliers work to elevate the industry’s food safety programs and promote food safety in recognition of World Food Safety Day and throughout the year.
What Is World Food Safety Day?
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) developed World Food Safety Day to highlight the importance of global food safety.
While food safety is a year-round commitment for AFFI, World Food Safety Day provides an opportunity to recognize the many ways America’s frozen food processors and ingredient suppliers can advance their food safety programs.
FROZEN’S COMMITMENT TO FOOD SAFETY
Food safety is a top priority for America’s frozen food industry, and AFFI works to support and facilitate this commitment. Over the past several years, AFFI has collaborated with multiple partners to advance food safety in the frozen food and beverage industry using evidence-based tools.
AFFI’s strategy focuses on three areas to assist:
- Scientific Research: Invest in scientific research to further advance the understanding and control of Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) and enteric viruses
- Elevate the Industry: Develop and disseminate improved food safety and manufacturing best practices across the supply chain
- Safe Cooking and Handling: Educate consumers on the importance of following validated cooking and handling instructions to help ensure food safety
To support this strategy, AFFI launched a comprehensive site where the frozen food industry, including processors and ingredient suppliers, can find resources and information to assist in their company’s food safety programs and initiatives. The Food Safety Zone, launched in 2019, equips frozen food companies with tools such as:
This is a free, online tool for Lm prevention with a multifaceted library of resources, guidelines and procedures.
- Listeria Control Specialist certificate program
This program is offered in partnership with the International Food Protection Training Institute. Available in both English and Spanish, it is designed for food safety management professionals in food manufacturing facilities who want to acquire expert-level knowledge to control Lm within their facilities. In addition, the course is also highly beneficial for regulatory officials, sanitation and quality professionals, and construction and maintenance contractors who must consider food safety.
The Enteric Viruses Control Program is a free, online tool to help companies prevent and control norovirus and hepatitis A throughout the global frozen fruit supply chain.
- Enteric Viruses Control Specialist certificate program
New in 2022, the Enteric Viruses Control Specialist certificate program helps organizations train operations personnel, and food safety and quality managers, and develop expertise among staff to understand risks associated with enteric viruses in food production. Available in English and Spanish, the certificate program helps staff learn best practices for preventing and controlling the spread of these pathogens on the farm and in facilities.
JOINING TOGETHER IN SCIENTIFIC COLLABORATION
In addition to promoting manufacturing and training programs within the industry, AFFI also facilitates collaboration and exchange on the latest science in food safety, and experts within the frozen food industry and scientific leaders come together to share and learn.
For example, AFFI launched the inaugural Food Safety Forum in 2021. This annual event brings together global research experts, industry professionals, and food safety policy leaders to discuss the latest science and policy implications impacting the frozen food industry. Topics have included Lm and non-cultivable foodborne pathogens, such as hepatitis A and norovirus. The event creates a venue for subject matter experts to advance the scientific knowledge of food safety in support of public health.
SAFETY REMAINS A TOP PRIORITY FOR FROZEN FOOD
Whether on World Food Safety Day or year-round, AFFI remains committed to delivering resources that elevate food safety across the frozen food supply chain. Through the tools and materials AFFI provides, the institute helps the industry identify potential food safety risks and implement best practices for control and prevention of these risks. With a focus on continued collaboration and scientific research, AFFI members come together to advance food safety for the industry and support policies grounded in science. Visit AFFI’s Food Safety Zone today to learn more about the year-round commitment to food safety.