Safety Zone
By: James Marsden
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Keeping small businesses in business without sacrificing food safety

Source of Article:  www.meatingplace.com

(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)

One of the problems facing regulators and the meat industry is how to implement effective food safety processes in small and very small plants.

Many of the food safety technologies that have emerged over the past 15 years are expensive and engineered for large volume plants. These include systems that are essential for control of pathogens during the slaughter process (i.e. thermal pasteurization of carcasses).
 
Food safety requirements are identical for all companies, big and small. It is important that small businesses have access to affordable food safety technologies that allow them to meet regulatory and consumer requirements and still remain viable. 

Small businesses actually have some advantages over large companies in terms of implementing changes.  The decision making process is less complicated and small companies can usually act more quickly.  It is also often easier to accommodate process changes in smaller plants. Some of the most innovative food safety systems have been implemented by small businesses.

Clearly, there are competitive and consumer benefits associated with maintaining a large number of meat and poultry companies.  Despite trends in concentration, there are still several thousand active meat processing companies in the United States. These companies provide tens of thousands of jobs and in many cases anchor the communities where they are located. Consumers enjoy a wide variety of products because the industry is not limited to a handful of large companies.

Small businesses will remain viable only if technology providers make the effort to engineer food safety technologies so they are not limited to large volume plants and provisions are made that make necessary food safety innovations affordable.  The federal government and state governments could make technologies more affordable by providing tax credits and other incentives for small businesses that make food safety related investments.  

Compromising on food safety is not an option.  Meat and poultry products must be safe for consumers regardless of whether products are produced by the largest company or the smallest company.  By helping small businesses implement safe food processes and stay in business, everyone benefits.

6/12/2009 11:58 AM 

 

 

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