The group’s President’s Award is a new category in its Global Food Industry Awards to be presented next week in Cape Town, South Africa.
IUoFST president Geoffrey Campbell-Platt said the award recognises efforts to sustain traditional foods and bring them to a wider number of consumers. “Cargill has been recognised for its food safety leadership, its collaboration and commitment to improving access to food and to ensuring food safety through education,” he said.
The complexities of safe food
Cargill’s simple definition of food safety is “protecting people from illness or injury from handling or consuming food.” This can be more complex that it seems, says the firm, because of varying practices and legislation in different countries.
As a focus for its food safety initiatives, Cargill says it is working towards transparent, harmonized and science-based global food systems.
These, it says, are based on the standards and principles of Codex Alimentarius, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) principles, and the International Plant Protection Commission (IPPC) principles for plant health issues.
“We are working alongside governments, industry and NGOs in order to promote food security – enabling all people, at all times to have access to a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious and affordable food,” said Luis Fernandez, head of Cargill’s food technology applications in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The company told FoodNavigator.com that it follows six basic principles to achieve food security. These are: sustainable production, efficient use of markets, free trade, food safety, investment in agricultural research and public/private sector cooperation.
Food security initiatives
A key part of Cargill’s approach to food security includes partnerships with industry, government, academia, consumers, government and non-governmental groups, it said.
For example, the firm is a founding member of the groups Safe Supply of Affordable Food Everywhere (SSAFE) and Global Initiative on Food Systems Leadership (GIFSL). SSAFE is a non-profit group that supports the adoption of international science-based food safety, animal health and plant protection standards. GIFSL is an international consortium of educational institutions working toward global food security and sustainability.
In other initiatives, the company also taught small poultry farmers in Thailand and China on avian influenza, and trained Thai government officials to conduct polymerase-chain reaction (PCR) testing for the H5N1 strain.
Cargill also said it is supporting efforts to help farmers adopt sustainable agricultural management practices, improve land use, increase the quality and quantity of their crops, and promote safe and efficient working practices.
These efforts, said the firm, are contributing to an improvement in farming methods and efficiencies in pesticide and fertilizer use, and increasing farmers’ incomes in areas with low education and literacy levels.