Common cause


I don’t usually, if ever, review industry trade shows on this page, even when they’re our own events. However, I am going to talk about the Food Safety and Security Summit held earlier this month in Washington, DC, because I think there were some important things going on there that would be of general interest to the contamination control industry and certainly to contamination control professionals already involved in, or looking at, opportunities in the food industry.

The first thing I noticed is that there were in fact “contamination control” people at the event-both exhibiting and attending. And, there were also food industry people speaking the language of contamination control. In the past, my experience at food industry shows, and with the food industry in general, has been that the language-or at least much of the terminology-used is different. For example, where we talk about contamination control, sanitization and disinfection, they generally talk about cleaning, sanitation and hygiene. Where we talk about contamination and cross-contamination control and verification, they talk about quality control and hazard analysis. I believe that the not-so-subtle differences in mindset associated with these different terms are slowly beginning to change. And that is good.

The food industry also appears to be more openly accepting of and honestly attempting to address the very real problems of contamination control it clearly faces. This is also a welcome change from the often knee-jerk defensiveness, denial, and sometimes outright belligerence shown in response to even mild criticism of its practices, or lack thereof, in the past.

Finally, and perhaps more important and telling than anything else I noted, was the amount of intelligent questioning going on, and the clear desire of many food industry professionals to learn everything possible about available contamination control technology and established contamination control standards and practices, as well as proven contamination control testing, validation and monitoring programs. And that’s definitely good.

To ensure a safe food supply, the contamination control professionals within the food industry must work aggressively to advance a policy of dramatic improvement in food processing and packaging operations as well as enforceable standards across the board, and to eschew those who would instead advocate denial, avoidance or reticence.

CleanRooms will continue its efforts to bring our industry’s experts and technology together with those food industry professionals responsible for product safety. And we will also continue to encourage increased collaboration between those government agencies responsible for regulation, inspection and enforcement of critical food safety protocols and practices.

John Haystead,