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Accuracy of data underpins food safety, says Ecolab

Company official discusses feasibility of minimum standard in transport refrigeration and cold storage

| | Dec 19, 2018 | 4:30 pm
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Dr Ruth Petran, Vice President RD&E Food Safety and Public Health, Ecolab

Dubai, UAE, 19 December 2018: Given that temperature control largely underpins food safety, especially in a country such as the United Arab Emirates, with its high-ambient conditions and reliance on imported food, Dr Ruth Petran, Vice President RD&E Food Safety and Public Health, Ecolab, stressed that while it is important for stakeholders to embrace and draw insights from emerging technologies, such as blockchain, which improve traceability throughout the cold chain, equal importance must be placed in ensuring the accuracy of the information being integrated as data points.

“If there are mistakes or missing parts in the data, the chain is broken,” Dr Petran said, stressing that the capacity to gather data, is not nearly as important as the quality of the data and how it is used, so that the right information is passed on to the necessary individuals. This, she said, will lead to a more holistic overview of the cold chain, allowing decision makers to look at opportunities for improvement and identify areas that require fundamental changes throughout the process – be it with regard to the equipment in use or best practice in transit – to ensure food safety parameters are being met.

Discussing the feasibility of having minimum standards in transport refrigeration and cold storage facilities, Dr Petran said, making sure that vehicles are equipped and capable of maintaining temperature parameters “is a good line in the sand that should not be crossed”. She added, “There needs to be some sort of tracing to verify that vehicles have the necessary mechanics and equipment to maintain the temperature of food at 4 degrees C or below.”

Dr Petran said that the scope of standards could cast a wider net and include improving traceability related to the practices of individuals receiving and handling the food, from the point of delivery, as the vehicles enter the backdoor of food retail facilities’ cold stores. She added that in addition to maintaining the temperature of the food supply, standards could also implement best practices for cleaning and hygiene of food transport vehicles, to guard against possible cross-contamination from prior loads of food.


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