Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 60

Food safety: Produce
The standardization
of traceback
information aids
greatly in recalls.
Keeping produce safe: lessons
from a leafy greens case study
Investigations into foodborne illness outbreaks
could be streamlined and conducted more
effectively when supply chain partners provide
extended product information during tracebacks.
is only as good as the quality of the information that's being shared. GS1
standards are among the food safety benchmarks FMI encourages its
members to adopt.
At the store level, Thesmar said the retail industry has done an
excellent job of maintaining high food safety standards, whether it's
handling whole produce or preparing value-added fruit and vegetable
products instore.
" Knock on wood, we've been pretty lucky -there haven't been any
recent outbreaks linked to store-prepared items, " she said. " There are
protocols in place that are working and protecting consumers in the
process. Because they're so imbedded in their communities, retailers
know and care deeply about the safety of their products. "
Some of those long-established processes include working hard to
make sure work areas are sanitary and that utensils are cleaned and
sanitized in between uses.
On the consumer side, FMI has been working with the Partnership for
Food Safety Education for 20 years to push science-based food safety
messages to consumers, Thesmar said. Partnerships with university
extension programs, the USDA, FDA and CDC have also helped educate
consumers about the risks and to assure them about the high food
safety standards met by retailers and their produce supplier partners.
Thanks to those and other efforts, today's consumers have a good
handle on many food safety basics.
" If you buy a prepared salad, it's ready to eat. But if you buy a head of
lettuce, you need to wash it under cold running water, " Thesmar said,
citing one of many examples.
During COVID, FMI was often fighting an uphill battle to convince
consumers that the disease was not food-borne. People became more
aware of the need to keep their distance and keep their hands clean
while shopping, and Thesmar said retailers did a good job of setting up
sanitizer stations throughout the store.
And while it is now thought that the chances of picking up COVID
from surfaces is very low, in the height of the pandemic many didn't
have that assurance, which also affected consumer confidence in the
fresh produce and other departments.
That said, the produce department did quite well during the
pandemic, Thesmar said, driven by the huge increase in home cooking
and in the desire to eat more healthfully. Also, people overcame any
food safety-related fears they might have had about other people
touching and packing their fresh fruits and vegetables, as sales of fresh
produce online were also robust.
60 - AUGUST 2021
supermarketperimeter.com
Additionally, the use of a standard template called
the Produce Traceback Template to exchange
pertinent product information enhances the speed
of tracing procedures.
Those are among the findings of a report from
six industry organizations based on leafy green
traceability pilots that tracked romaine lettuce
through three separate supply chains, starting with
actual consumer purchases made with loyalty cards
or credit cards. Small teams of industry experts
mimicked the US Food and Drug Administration's
role in conducting the traceback, including
determining the data to be requested and how to
format the requests for such data.
Supply chain members, starting with the pointof-sale
or point-of-service, used the template to
provide key data elements that allowed an item
to be traced back to its source. The expert groups
conducting the traceback analyzed the information
provided by each supply chain node to determine
next steps.
Although the participants stated they would
adopt the template in the future, the pilots
revealed opportunities to refine the template
and highlighted the need for a greater focus on
education.
The pilot report provides guidance on a path
forward for future use of the template including
additional industry training and modifications to
maximize effectiveness and increase ease of use.
The six organizations that led the industry activity
included: FMI-The Food Industry Association;
GS1 US; the International Foodservice
Distributors Association (IFDA); the Institute
of Food Technologists (IFT); Produce Marketing
Association (PMA) and United Fresh Produce
Association (United Fresh).
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Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021

Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - Intro
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 1
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 2
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 3
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 4
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 5
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 6
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 7
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 8
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 9
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 10
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 11
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 12
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 13
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Supermarket Perimeter - August 2021 - 20
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