New technology will have a major impact on the food industry in the next few years, Food Manufacture magazine’s 2017 Food Safety Conference will be told.
The event in Leamington Spa on June 22 will look at a raft of subjects affecting the industry – from how Brexit will affect food production regulation to anti-microbial resistance and managing supply chains safely.
Find out more about the conference here.
One of the seminars will look at new science and social media and the impact they are having on food safety.
How will new scientific discoveries change food production and inspection?
The Internet of Things, where machines such as robots used in the food manufacturing process are being given internet access via a hub, and the use of nanotechnology in production processes, are two areas where novel technologies are changing risk assessments.
Wearable wireless technology is set to have a major impact on the industry’s hygiene inspection and training systems.
Global Food Division has been trialling smart glasses with built-in video cameras for its hygiene and safety experts. This technology will soon allow remote access to inspections for questions and training, and the real-time recording of inspections. The company has been working with Google technology during the trial.
Nanotechnology involves using materials at the nanometre scale, one millionth of a millimeter.
Technology is now set to enable manufacturers to add nanoparticles to food – either tiny forms of existing ingredients or perhaps new chemical structures.
The Food Standards Agency would have to assess the food safety implications of this kind of manufacture and authorise it, after taking advice from an independent committee of experts, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP).
Consumer concerns and ethical issues would be considered.
These areas will have a major impact on the potential risks which producers need to flag up to their insurance brokers.
How will social media and big data affect the future of the industry?
Experts have been looking at the impact social media and big data can have when it comes to monitoring outbreaks of food poisoning.
The Food Standards Agency has been using social media such as Twitter to help it spot illness outbreaks two weeks before more traditional systems – thanks to the use of hashtags like #barf by Twitter users. This data can then be fed into the health system to help them prepare for the spread of any outbreak. Geo-located tweets can sometimes track outbreaks to one source.
The use of keywords like sick and vomit on restaurant review site Yelp has also been monitored.
The FSA can also look at social media pictures which show unsafe food preparation and storage practices.
Big data is a useful tool. Algorithms can look for key phrases to feed into analytics which can be used to create digital models of food safety for different areas.
How will new technology affect your food manufacturing company? Will it help reduce your potential risks or add to them? It’s important that your insurance brokers are made aware of all the changes to your technology so they can risk assess it accurately.
Do you need advice on implementing new science in your food business? Call our food industry insurance experts on 02920 470375 and see more about out services here.