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Finishing Strong

I think it goes without saying that this weekend did not go according to our plans.

A new variant, new global restrictions, new disappointments, new challenges for the food industry.

While we are all enraged at the world for shutting us out, there is little you and I can do about that right now. Let’s leave it to the politicians and scientists who continue to fight for our cause.

Let us focus on what we can do. As the food industry – as that essential service everyone depends on.

It’s time to dig deep, again. It’s time to go back to basics. We may have become a little lax in COVID-19 protocols and it’s time to make sure these are top of mind. Let’s make it our collective goal as the food industry to NOT contribute to the 4th wave statistics. And we can do this – together.

An important principle of our food safety culture is caring for our most important assets – our people.

Without them, our FSMS is just a pile of procedures and forms. They make it work. We need them healthy and at work to make sure we can meet the festive season surge.

Time for daily COVID reminder moments, one a shift to ensure consistency. Encouraging one another to continue complying with the company’s requirements is a good way to stress why we do these things – why we need each other.

I was honoured to have shared a podium this week with Anthony Chemaly from IBL, a fellow food safety culture pundit and a food safety auditor that I truly admire. Anthony shared a true gem in his presentation:

“The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”

WOW – what a truth! This applies to every aspect of food safety from handwashing to storage practices. Have you noticed how quickly we develop industrial blindness and do not see our own faults? Worse, how we start to accept them as the norm.

So, this week I want to challenge you – let us walk around with our eyes WIDE open and ensure that we do NOT accept the wrong practices – for food safety, for our health and safety too.

At the beginning of the pandemic, many of you went public with commitments to health and safety and food safety. After a year like 2021, we need to show a united front once more. Why not RE-commit at this time? Let’s show the rest of the world we will not let COVID-19 stop us. It is a good time to remember as South Africans we are resilient and we are better – together.

Let’s finish 2021 strong. We can.

We continue to salute you our #foodsafetyheroes!