To explore all of the components of food safety, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Soybean Value Chain Research hosted a webinar in February 2017 entitled “Hygienic Practices for Food Safety in Soy Dairies.” The webinar brought together soy food entrepreneurs around the globe to engage with food science experts at American and African universities and development practitioners with experience implementing food safety programming.
Hygienic practices for handling, preparing and storing food not only preserve the food’s nutrition and protect consumers from food-borne illness, they also help producers reduce food waste, garner trust to their brand and increase business profits. Food safety is especially important for producers who serve those with compromised immune systems (including those living with HIV/AIDS and other illnesses), the elderly, pregnant women and infants.
Proper food safety practices are necessary not only to protect the health of the consumer but also to build a business. Ensuring the quality of a product helps a business maintain a good reputation, and ensuring hygiene in all aspects of production helps a business become certified by its national bureau of standards or food and drug authority. This certification is the prerequisite for a business to commercialize by increasing its production scale and selling its product on the national market.
The webinar featured presentations by large-scale and small-scale soy food operations in Africa, an officer from the Ghana Health Service who oversees food safety programming, and Professor Matthew Stasiewicz, Assistant Professor of Food Science at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. Prof. Stasiewicz discussed methods for soy-specific food safety, since every food has different spoilage points and preservation needs. To watch the webinar and access the presentations, click here.