Sustainability in our food supply touches on a number of issues, including social, economic and environmental concerns.
Sustainability is “the capability to be maintained over the long term in order to meet the needs of the present without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their needs,” according to Healthy Land, Healthy People: Building a Better Understanding of Sustainable Food Systems for Food and Nutrition Professionals, a primer on sustainability from theAmerican Dietetic Association Sustainable Food System Task Force.
With the increased interest in sustainability in our food systems, many manufacturing companies have started to use certification labels such as: Rain Forest Alliance, Fair Trade, UTZ Certified, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certified, Organic (USA), Organic/Bio (Europe), etc.
An example of a company that is moving towards sustainable and traceable ingredients, Hershey’s foods has committed to the use of 100% sustainable palm oil by the end of 2014.
When deciding the viability of implementing one of these systems, it is important to ask the question of how these programs are related to traceability.
Because sustainability is related to the integrity of the entire supply chain it is essential that all aspects of production be monitored carefully. Traceability becomes even more essential to consumers who are interested in sustainable practices, as they demand to know the origins of the products they are consuming as well as the participation of different parties during the manufacturing and distribution chains. Transparency through traceability will be key in the success of sustainable certification systems.
Dr. Claudia Fajardo-Lira is a Professor in Food Science within the Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science option and is Executive Director of the Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics at California State University, Northridge. She is a member of the Food Science Communicators Committee for the Institute of Food Technologists and served on the Executive Committee for the Southern California Section of the Institute.
In the “Traceability and Beyond” blog series, Dr. Fajardo-Lira brings us news about the latest in Food Safety issues and trends, with a focus on improving quality and appropriate standards in industry.
Learn more about the role technology plays in food safety, compliance, and quality in today’s food processing business – join a panel of experts for Blytheco’s upcoming webinar:
- The Role of Technology in Food Processing Compliance and Traceability – September 25, 2pm ET. Register here.