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Taking a digital approach to food safety

Digital innovation and disruption spans most aspects of society, and food safety is benefiting from emerging new capabilities and developments, participants learned at the ninth annual Maple Leaf Foods Food Safety Symposium.

According to symposium speakers and panelists, the power and pace of digital innovation is introducing profound changes and opportunities that have the potential to significantly benefit how food safety is conceptualized and managed.

At the event, more than 250 registered attendees from 130 companies and organizations were represented discussing latest developments, issues and trends in food safety. This year's event was themed "Food Safety in a Digital World." The event challenged participants to think about how technology can help reimagine food safety progress and performance, challenging thinking about traditional and status quo systems in which food is produced to explore futuristic but tangible examples of how the digital landscape is changing and impacting food production.

Speakers covered a broad range of technology-related food-safety topics including traceability using blockchain technology, DNA-based analytics, using analytics to drive cultural change, and regulatory developments such as risk based modeling to drive outcome based inspection.

Symposium speakers included:

  • Frank Yiannas, vice president, food safety and health, Walmart
  • Paul Glover, president, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Hugo Andres Gutierrez, vice president, quality, food safety & regulatory affairs, The Hershey Company
  • Tom McGinnis, partner, Deloitte & Touche
  • Martin Wiedmann, professor of food safety, Cornell University
  • Tom Zander, senior vice president and general manager, food & beverage, Ecolab
  • Randy Huffman, chief food safety and sustainability officer, Maple Leaf Foods
  • Andreas Liris, chief information officer, Maple Leaf Foods

"The annual Maple Leaf Foods Food Safety Symposium is a key part of our deeply entrenched commitment to be a food safety leader in the world," said Huffman. "As today's symposium demonstrated, food safety is constantly evolving and organizations must embrace continued investments and innovative approaches."