Food Safety

Risk management summit highlights food safety as key business strategy

June 26, 2012
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
Risk Management Seminar
The risk management summit was sponsored by Diversey, part of Sealed Air.

More than 200 senior business leaders from world-renowned, blue-chip organizations in the food & beverage, building care, retail and lodging industries attended the recent Risk Management Summit arranged by Diversey, now a part of Sealed Air. The summit was held at the Amsterdam RAI Conference Centre.

The attendees, who were drawn from 18 different countries, heard world-class presentations from global leaders such as ISS, Metro, Coca-Cola, Compass Group, AutoGrill and McDonalds. Lively and fiercely debated panel sessions added different and often conflicting viewpoints on a diverse and topical range of food safety and labor safety challenges in the workplace.

While welcoming the increased attention the summit and other initiatives were putting on risk management, speakers had markedly different views on what the key issues in food safety and labor safety were, and how these challenges should be tackled. The results of live polling of delegates at key moments during the summit confirmed the divergence of opinion on the major threats and the optimum strategies to mitigate or eliminate these risks.

Specifically with regard to food safety, when asked what is the single, biggest challenge for the food distribution chain, three different answers dominated. A majority of 55.8 percent named the complexity of differing regulations across borders. A vocal 13 percent were strongly critical of the sheer cost of implementing food safety measures. For 31.2 percent, the crux of the matter was the practicalities of ensuring collaboration among all parties in the food chain from farm to fork.

When asked to identify the biggest opportunity for food safety compliance, attendees recognized technology as the greatest enabler (40 percent) while common regulations and common sourcing were also popular choices as the single most important factor for 34.3 percent and 25.7 percent of attendees (respectively). Staggeringly, some 18.7 percent of attendees admitted they did not consider and, therefore, were not focusing on infection control as a food safety risk or a threat to their businesses.

This lack of foresight and preparedness drew comment from Pedro Chidichimo, president of Sealed Air Corporation, who said: “We know how to protect what’s important and every day we see the benefit that having the correct people, processes and safety products in place brings throughout the food industry. Given the role risk management must play in business strategy, it is absolutely inexplicable there is any business that is not making this a major focus and ensuring their systems are not as risk free as it is possible to be.”

Consensus was also difficult to find between speakers and in attendees’ opinions when it came to matters concerning the summit’s second focus: “Labor Safety and The Virtuous Circle of Efficiency and Safety.”

Surprisingly when asked what the biggest challenge they faced on labor safety was, only 33 percent of attendees said reducing injuries—trailing behind 52.2 percent voting for increased employee engagement as their biggest challenge. Perhaps more positively, 52.7 percent saw improving the consistency of customer service as the prime result of improved labor safety, ahead of the other popular answers of optimizing operational productivity and reducing employee downtime.

For more information on the summit, visit the summit's website.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Fabulous Food Plant: Paramount Citrus

Learn more about this fabulous food plant in Food Engineering's article, found here.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

What was your favorite part of FA&M 2014?

View Results Poll Archive


Food Engineering Magazine

Food engineering magazine 2014 april cover

2014 April

Catch a preview of the Powder and Bulk Show in this April 2014 edition of Food Engineering. Also, be sure to check out a coffee stick making a real stir and a major advancement in the the pet food industry.
Table Of Contents Subscribe


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!


Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.


FE recent tweets