Food safety in a globalised world

Contaminated meat, mislabeled packaging, tainted baby formula – food recalls have become a regular feature in today's headlines. The reason is clear: we all eat and we want to be sure that what we and our loved ones consume is safe and wholesome.

But has the number of recalls really increased? Is the severity of these recalls rising? How safe is food today in general?

The short answers to our three questions are:

  • Yes, the number of recalls of contaminated food is rising
  • The severity of recalls varies greatly
  • The food on our plates is generally safe, but
  • The food that is not safe must be our chief concern

Why? Just one example: the vast majority of all recalls are triggered by a serious health threat with the potential to sicken people. In many jurisdictions this makes a recall mandatory by law. So while the bulk of our food is safe, missing just one batch that is not can have devastating and even fatal consequences for consumers. In addition, producers may incur severe financial loss and reputational damage.

In this publication we explore the following aspects:

  • The food risk landscape
  • Global trade in food – a growth story in complexity
  • What goes wrong – and how often
  • Food safety and public health
  • The economic impact of food contamination
  • The business impact of food contamination
  • What can be done – for risk management
  • Crisis management in food safety
  • Insuring the food value chain
  • And how we can keep our food safe.