— OPINION —
On July 29 the International Food Industry Think Tank discussed “Energizing Food Safety and Quality Assurance Transformation Process.” That discussion inspired the launching of the Safety, Security, and Quality Assurance (2S-QA) Movement on Aug. 2. The premise for this movement comes from this understanding:
“If we do not energize the Food Industry Transformation Process through the direct actions of every stakeholder, our good intentions, aspirations, and proposals will only hover aimlessly in the space of academic and theoretical discourse without realizing desirable results.”
By coincidence or through providence, the Netflix documentary “Poisoned: The Dirty Truth About Your Food” (Soechtig, 2023) was also released on Aug. 2. It calls for action to prevent future food-related tragedies. The food industry needs a radical paradigm shift along the lines of the proposed SSQA transformation recommendations:
A transition from restrictive and confusing rules to having useful tools; from an obsession with superficial third-party certifications to fortifying food operations against food safety and quality failures; from rights and responsibility contracts to participatory alliance agreements; from collaboration with separate interests to working together with synchronized interests; from micro-managed to auto-managed systems; the transformation of operation personnel into active safety, security and quality assurance practitioners; the transition of managers from fire fighters to visionaries; from certification scheme owners to technical information providers; from certification bodies to facilitation service providers, from auditors to facilitators. Regulators are expected to maintain their role of enforcing the laws and regulations as the only necessary and legally enforced rules.
If you have seen the documentary “Poisoned,” how did it make you feel? To stop eating would be an impossible position to take in response to the documentary. To eat, with one’s fingers crossed shows a blind trust.
Uncertainty about what one person could do to prevent food poisoning outbreaks tend to force people to take the fingers-crossed approach. Hopefully, that uncertainty will give way to increased assurance as we develop and deploy relevant actions. Where we have complete control over our food, for example, in our gardens and kitchens, we could act to prevent hazardous food contamination.
Realistically, we do not have complete control over every item of food that we need. We depend on other people and food companies. As such, we need the collaboration and cooperation of everyone throughout the food supply network. We need to deploy the SSQA participatory alliance (SSQA-PA) strategy. Predictably, the 2S-QA movement will accelerate the development and deployment of SSQA-PA strategies.
Under ordinary circumstances, the required level of collaboration and cooperation may seem impossible. However, the direct and consistent mobilization of all stakeholders through the 2S-QA Movement should help. Food safety, security, and quality assurance efforts need to be maintained by individuals, businesses, corporations, academic institutions, industry associations, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, community associations, governments (law enforcement and regulatory agencies).
Problems often arise where the parties that must collaborate have different motives. Identifying and agreeing on what really matters unifies the motives and focus of collaborators. It may take time for the diverse groups to agree on what really matters and be committed to a unified focus. At the same time, reaching a consensus could happen quickly through the deliberate mobilization. If we become rightly motivated and mobilized, things could rapidly improve to the benefit everyone and the planet.
The 2S-QA movement and the “Poisoned” documentary have the capacity to fuel the needed mobilization. The industry must stop practices that caused past tragedies and the chronic health problems that victims are still experiencing.
The 2S-QA movement provides a platform for us to decisively act. We can and must act, right where we are, in our kitchens, workplaces, through broader industry engagements, through national and global programs. This movement should be supported by anyone who wishes to engage in direct and progressive action. Food business managers are encouraged to follow the SSQA Implementations Manual (Amiri, 2022) as their pathfinder guide.
The 2S-QA movement, as a universal mandate, exists to galvanize and energize industry stakeholders with the anticipated outcome of an equitable, trustworthy, and healthy food system for the benefit of all consumers and the planet. You have the choice of how you wish to participate.
We must together drive observable good results both in the short and long terms. Hopefully, the results will prove the usefulness of our collective engagement. Visit the web site for additional information: https://afisservices.wixsite.com/2s-qa-movement
Amiri, F. (2022, December). Global Consumer Protection SSQA Development and Implementation: A Manual for the Food Industry. Retrieved June 16, 2023, from Afisservices.com: http://www.afisservices.com/gcse-fhp/SSQAFullManual.html
Soechtig, S. (Producer). (2023). Poisoned: The Dirty Truth About Your Food [Motion Picture]. Retrieved August 2, 2023, from https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/81460481?src=tudum&trackId=259776131&trkId=259776131
About the author: Felix Amiri is the Technical Director at Amiri Food Industry Support Services (AFISS). He leads an International Food Industry Think Tank with meetings held monthly. Felix teaches part time at Conestoga College, Institute of Food Processing Technology, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, and regularly engages in industry discussion panels. He leads the Safety Security, and Quality Assurance (SSQA) Development Academy. He recently launched the SSQA-Based 2S-QA Movement (details available upon request).
His published works and books include:
The Safety, Security and Quality Assurance (SSQA) Implementation Manual. Felix has written several articles dealing with different matters pertaining to the food industry.
His published books, available on Amazon, include:
Food Protection Diaries
FSQA–Efficacy versus Compliance
FSQA-Commitment Plans for National & International Regulations
FSQA-A Survey of Food Laws and Regulations
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here)