Without the technology to test at multiple points along the food chain, even significant increases in end product testing won’t eliminate food recalls or restore consumer confidence in food producers.
As the number of illnesses and deaths from listeria-tainted cantaloupes grows, the safety of the U.S. food supply is again in the spotlight. So too, are the roles and responsibilities of government, food producers, food retailers and restaurants, and ultimately consumers themselves, in ensuring that food is healthy and safe.
Given the increased attention—and food recalls—consumers’ fears are growing. The 2011 Consumer Food and Product Insights Survey produced by Deloitte says that 73% of respondents are more concerned now than five years ago about the food they eat—and that number is up from 65% just last year.
Judging by the amount of food safety testing, the U.S. food industry is paying attention. Strategic Consulting (SCI) has been tracking changes to microbiology testing practices in the U.S. food industry for more than 15 years. Our latest market report, Food Micro—5, shows an increase in microbiology testing in the U.S. food industry of 14.4% since 2008. In 2010, 213.2 million microbiology tests were collected in U.S. food plants with more than 25 employees. Even more important, during the same two-year period, testing for specific pathogens like Listeria and Salmonella increased by more than 30%. read more…