Cargill & Tyson Foods bring food safety to the fore

Food experts faced off at the GFSC 2014 event in a game of Food Safety Jeopardy.

A trio of industry leaders recently gathered in a battle of wits, presented in a game-show format, to see whose knowledge of crucial food safety issues is the most impressive.

In a set-up closely resembling the popular US-based TV game show Jeopardy, the three food experts faced off in Food Safety Jeopardy. The Global Food Safety Conference (GFSC) session was designed to be at once entertaining and informative.

Contestants included Ali Badarneh, industrial development officer with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Austria; Leigh Ann Johnston, communications and sustainability director of Tyson Foods USA; and Roger Bont, senior director of corporate food safety, quality and regulatory with Cargill USA. Playing the part of Jeopardy host Alex Trebek was motivational speaker Craig Zablocki.

Laughter from the contestants and audience indicated everyone enjoyed the game. However, questions focused on serious issues of concern to food safety professionals across the board.

Resource management

Johnston successfully answered a question on the importance of food firms engaging in responsible sourcing, to better manage and mitigate supply chain risk.

Leading companies know the decisions and actions of their supply partners, or lack thereof, can impact their brand and reputation,” she said.

On a roll, Johnston also answered a question on the importance of proper resource management, including water. She explained Tyson recently formed an internal water council to perform life-cycle assessments surrounding the company’s water use.

The goal is to study the water landscape around the world, look how it’s impacting Tyson operations across the globe, and then set effective short- and long-term goals,” she said.

Zablocki added producing food products (in growing vegetables, raising livestock, producing foods, and cleaning up) can consume a striking amount of water. For example, he pointed out, producing all the ingredients it takes to make an average hamburger requires consuming 634 gallons along the supply chain.

Food security

Badarneh chimed in with an answer highlighting the importance of achieving food security everywhere. Producing sufficient food for the exploding world population will require an estimated 60% increase in global agricultural production, he said; regions like the Sudan could help meet the requirement but only if peace and stability are achieved.

Bort cloaked his food safety knowledge by delivering entertaining (albeit incorrect) answers to Zablocki’s questions. The point tally at the conclusion of Food Safety Jeopardy put Badarneh as the victor.

Wrapping up

Stefano Crea, vice president and global director of food and beverage for Food Safety Jeopardy sponsor DNV-GL, wrapped up the game by pointing out the game touched upon many of the key components of an effective food system.

To have food, we need to cook—for cooking, we need good ingredients, and good recipes,” he said. “Today, we have been talking about the ingredients, and the best recipe to do this is collaboration.”

Food Safety Jeopardy took place at the Global Food Safety Conference, an annual conference focusing on various aspects of food safety and security. The 2014 event was held in Anaheim, California, and is presented by the Global Food Safety Initiative and the Consumer Goods Forum.

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