The Role of Business-Led Food Safety in Sustainable Food Systems
The Linkage Between Food Safety and Sustainability
Food loss and waste pose a major threat to both global food system security and sustainability. Postharvest loss is also lost nutrients and resources. When food is wasted, so are the resources required to produce it, such as land, water and energy. In Africa, with the world’s highest rates of hunger and malnutrition, about a third of all food produced is lost before it ever reaches consumers. Food loss and food safety are intrinsically tied — contamination and spoilage are the results of inadequate hygiene, temperature control and storage. By improving pre-consumer handling practices, supply chains in emerging economies can be better positioned to reduce food loss, face climate shocks and grow diversified local economies.
How BD4FS is Addressing Food Loss
For growing food businesses (GFBs), adopting the appropriate set of food handling practices will improve food safety and contribute to a reduction in food loss. Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS), funded by USAID and implemented by Food Enterprise Solutions, works with GFBs in Senegal, Nepal and Ethiopia to adopt safe food handling practices and build a culture of food safety. By improving food safety management systems, businesses can also reduce food loss, thereby increasing revenue streams, gaining access to new markets, and improving nutrition content. BD4FS works alongside local food safety experts to provide customized technical assistance and training. The trainings prepare GFBs to implement food safety prerequisite programs (PRPs), including measures such as employee hygiene, pest control, and proper storage. These practices help to reduce both loss of water, nutrients, and weight, as well as degradation of the appearance desired by consumers.
BD4FS has also developed a manual of 100 Affordable Food Safety Technologies for GFBs, identifying readily available tools and techniques that GFBs can adopt to safely process, handle, transport, and store foods. Accessible technologies, like insect glue traps for processing facilities, stamps for product coding and traceability, and reusable packaging trays to cushion products during transport can be used to preserve quality and prevent losses.