Guest Column | December 19, 2017

Why Food Manufacturing Needs An Unorthodox Approach

By Gaurav Tewari, M.S., Ph.D., Sargent Farms

Food manufacturing is not a typical manufacturing operation; it faces unique dilemmas compared to conventional manufacturing. Because of this, the mindset of food manufacturers must also be unique. This article will relate conventional manufacturing operations with food manufacturing and show why the food industry needs a different mindset than other manufacturing. It will also provide approaches to change the mentality of the industry.

Food has limitations. This is because food, outside of salt, was once a living organism and changes with time. It is comprised of organic components constantly going through internal reactions with time and exposure at different temperatures and surrounding gases.

This, in turn, points to the fact that microorganisms, which are limiting the potential of food, grow with the potential of having adverse effects on food. While decades have been spent trying to understand the kinetics of different components of food, there is still a lot of work to be done in the ever-growing field of microorganisms. This is especially true for pathogens, and their inherent — and constantly-increasing — resistance to antibiotics, and the effect of those antibiotics on human health.

Food manufacturing operations requires a different mindset compared with any other manufacturing operation. Other manufacturing sectors, such as auto manufacturing, are not limited by the previously-mentioned limitations and complexities of food. Nevertheless, the mentality of a food manufacturer is similar to that of an automobile manufacturer — they are both in business to make money. For food makers, this mindset needs to be revitalized; otherwise the industry will continue seeing illness and deaths from food pathogens and contaminants, and we shall witness a losing quest to develop “Food Safety Culture.” No matter whether the food industry adopts GFSI standards, complies with FSMA, and/or any other global or domestic regulations.

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