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食品安全,我们共同的责任

(2013-06-28 23:11:28)
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嘉吉

食品安全

中国经济

财经

食品安全历来都是全世界街谈巷议的话题之一,不同的国家、不同的经济发展阶段,对食品安全的探讨热点会略有迥异。

我一直非常关注中国食品安全发展的问题。在中国工作生活的这八年多,和大家一样,我耳闻目睹了大大小小的食品安全事件,对其中那些泯灭良知的个案给社会带来的后果感到痛惜。但我还看到的是,中国政府、知识界和产业界等各方已经开始共同着力,同时新届政府对食品安全监管机构的调整和系列若干铁腕新政策的出台,颇令人憧憬未来。 

尽管如此,在展望未来蓝图之前,我觉得有必要先回过头来探究中国近年食品安全状况频出的背后原因。 

三十年来,中国经济一直以高于世界平均三倍的速度增长。中国只用一代人的时间就追赶成为世界第二大经济体,数以千万计的人民被带领奔向小康,创造了令世界侧目的硕果。相应而言,食品供应链系统则显然滞后,有关将增强食品安全监管提上议程的呼声日益高涨。这是无法避讳的现实,每个国家的食品安全监管都会根据自身国情和经济发展状况不断地完善,发达国家亦是如此。就拿2011年美国国会两院通过的《食品安全现代化法案》来讲,就是美国食品安全监管体系的一次变革,而且这项法案的配套法规也在不断地出台。显然,在食品供应链体系转型的过程中定会伴随重重压力、事故频发的阵痛,而我觉得当务之急是需正视尚未充分整合、整体呈现零散化的食品体系供应链系统。

随着食品安全问题日益成为全社会关注的焦点,食品安全领域正发生着改变,以下便是我个人的一些拙见。首先在政府层面,通过成立新的独立技术评估机构---国家食品安全风险评估中心,推动食品安全标准的制定及修订走向科学化;其次在法律层面,立法过程更加透明化,包括邀请公众为相关法律法规的制定建言献策,对新法规的出台及群众有疑问的地方及时与之沟通。同时政府加大了在食品安全风险监管和评估领域的投资力度,以便积累充足的基础数据,为法律法规的制定更提供更加坚实的、科学的基础。最后,政府和企业的合作也如雨后春笋般涌现,目前,在检测和监督食品安全的环节,政府将更多精力放在对原料及生产流程的监督,而非原来针对终端产成品的繁复浩杂的检测上面

此外,食品行业的公司在推动改革的过程中也起到了举足轻重的作用。所有企业都有着由衷的道德义务为消费者生产安全的食品。从这点出发,其实企业和消费者之间犹如水乳交融一般的亲情,彼此密不可分。对于那些偷工减料的企业,它们绝对不配享有这份亲情,应当被逐出食品行业。其实,食品安全的规则就是应该这样简单!更甚之,对于蓄意扰乱食品供应链正常运转、牺牲食品安全以牟取利益者,应当受到法律最严厉的制裁。至今,每每想起竟有人敢于铤而走险,冒天下之大不韪行如此伤天害理之事,我的心情久久不能平复。

 对于食品企业来说,食品安全的承诺应当是上下贯通的。从首席执行官、董事会、高级领导到员工,人人都应不遗余力地在各自负责的领域推动食品安全理念的传播和落实。需要提及的是,只有部署面面俱到的管理流程,并通过严格无私的执行,才能真正保卫食品的安全。

 除此之外,食品安全还涉及到企业的文化层面。一个企业要想严控食品安全,其员工首先就要对此认可并严格执行流程。这点我很有信心。倘若询问任何一名在食品供应链环节工作的嘉吉员工,问他/她是否关心食品安全,你必然会得到斩钉截铁的肯定回答。在嘉吉,对食品安全有关的管理架构、流程、培训、设备、计划部署以及管理方法已深深根植于企业文化之中,与公司的创业信仰一脉相承,数代以来烙印在企业的灵魂深处。

 如今,嘉吉已经构建出了一套成熟精益的体系覆盖全球。在全球各地,我们采用统一的食品安全标准,来保证嘉吉全球产品都拥有同样高标准的食品安全性。以中国为例,自1992年起,嘉吉就在浙江嘉兴首批境内动物饲料研磨厂内引入了危害分析和关键控制点(HACCP)体系。请注意这是在1992年,即20年之前,而且是在动物饲料厂这一为牲畜而非人类提供食物的加工地,由于考虑到最终由牲畜加工成的食品会被端上人们的餐桌,我们对于牲畜饲料也采取了高标准严要求。到2014年底,嘉吉所有有关食品加工的工厂都必须符合最新HACCP版本FSSC22000的要求。

 谈及各相关利益者在食品安全构建中的角色配合,我们觉得政府应当确保各监管机构各司其职、言出必行,以目前中国国情而言,打造一套以信用为基础的食品安全管理和准入体系势在必行。对企业来讲,对保障生产安全的食品,控制风险,识别生产和供应链流程中的危险点负有不可推卸的职责。目前,国际上在政府和企业界合作方面拥有先进范例的国家,据我们所知有英国,澳大利亚,西欧等。企业和政府合作责无旁贷,一方面,企业须对整个食品安全体系把控到位,理解透彻,以便向政府提供建设性的意见;另一方面政府应提高信息透明度,帮助企业更好地理解相关法律法规。企业还应做到公开向政府汇报食品安全事件,及时通报食品安全问题。

 眼下,已有数家跨国企业已在食品安全领域一展己长,并希望能多尽绵薄之力。在嘉吉,我们并不觉得食品安全知识是企业机密。作为全球食品安全先驱,我们觉得有道义责任与业界同仁分享我们的经验,甚至是过往教训。嘉吉和交通大学的合作项目就是我们分享的渠道之一,最近我们协同其他企业一起,同本地中小型私营企业分享了一些心得。在此,我想再次强调并重申,我们食品行业的企业,特别是企业领导,必须带头持续投入大量精力、资源、人才、手段,通过强大的执行力确保食品安全。

 另外嘉吉还看到,大众对食品安全相关教育和信息宣传的需求呼声渐高相关行业协会和学术机构应首当其冲担负这一重任。最后,企业还可以通过支持非政府组织或者与政府合作,为食品安全教育和信息交流搭建更广阔的的平台。

 食品安全是个相当宽泛的话题。对食品安全成功的把控离不开所有利益相关方的共同努力。作为企业公民的一员,我们有义务遵守所在国的法律和法规,并倾尽所能,汇聚众智实现食品的安全生产;同时我们也必须积极地帮助社会营造良性的食品安全环境。在嘉吉,食品安全是我们全心全意为之奋斗的目标,我们为此感到自豪!

 


Food Safety: Our Shared Responsibility 

 

The topic of food safety is definitely one of the most important families around the world care about. Having lived here in China for 8 years after I feel very close to the events local residents have lived through. These issues were really eye openers for me.

I have been keeping a close eye on food safety issues in China. It is clear that there has been stress for some parts of the food supply chains. For Cargill however, we believe where there is challenge, there is opportunity. It is also a an obligation for us to deploy the best we have.

Food safety, although still a challenge in the fastest large growing economy of the world, is improving significantly thanks to the resolution from the central government as well as the attention it is getting from key stakeholders lead by local government, academia, consumers and industry players alike. Despite the challenges the reaction from key stakeholders and efforts led by government to be part of the global food safety system are encouraging. While an increasingly informed consumers with easily ready means to voice his/her opinion on the subject all joined in the campaign, the new leadership of government has put forward several relentless policies regarding food safety, which strengthened our confidence towards a better future of food safety environment in China.

Before we look to the future we need to ask why as China been one of the most visible countries in recent years when it comes to food safety challenges

In past 30 years, China's economy grew at three times the global average. The size and impact of the economic rise was unprecedented. The world had never seen such a huge amount of sustained growth in such a small amount of time. In one generation the country transformed itself in the 2nd economic powerhouse of the world, bringing hundreds of millions of its citizen into a better-off livelihood. The food system had to change to keep up to match with the rocketing economy. It did. It was stressed. Accidents happened. Having in the midst of this still a heavily fragmented food system stressed the food supply chain.

As a consequence of the increased visibility here are some changes I see from my vantage point. From Government the food safety standard development and revision has become more and more science-based after the new independent agency, CFSA (China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment) was formed. There is more transparency on legislation, calling for the public involvement in the legislation and timely communication with the public on new and questioned regulations. The government has and continues to invest a lot in food safety risk surveillance and risk assessment in order to accumulate sufficient data and provide solid technical support to the legislation. Cooperation between government and the industry is in sharp rise. When inspecting and supervising the food safety, the government now tends to put more emphasis on the supervision of production process rather than that of final products, which is a big progress.

Industry plays a major role in driving this change too. All players have a moral obligation to make sure they are making safe food for their customers. In this respect, together with the consumer, the industry is part of one big family. For those players who have no desire to provide safe foods or are willing to cut corners, they simply should not be part of this family and should exit the business. It is as simple as that. Further, those who knowingly tamper with the food supply chain with unsafe practices in exchange for economic gain should be dealt with the most severe legal consequences. I still have a hard time to reconcile that people would do such things. I cannot conceive it.

For industry players the commitment starts at the top. The CEO, the Board, the senior leaders all have to drive very hard the food safety principles in their respective organizations. From that point, processes and relentless execution matters.

Food safety is also a culture thing. Employees must care. Ask any Cargill employee that works in the food supply chain if he or she cares and you will get a resounding ‘yes”! Food safety organization, training, tools, deployment and management are embedded in our company’s culture. It stems from generations ago and belied in the DNA of our founder owners and continues till this day.

Today we have a sophisticated system to assure our production across the world. Cargill applies one consistent global food safety standard. Some examples here in China. As early as 1992, Cargill applied Hazard analysis and critical control pointsHACCP in our fist animal feed mill plant in Jiaxing, Zhejiang. Now take note. 1992 – 20 years ago; feed plant – for food destined to livestock not people. I think this vouches very well for our concern over food safety. In the end, livestock products end up on our plate. So we care what livestock eats and thus apply stringent standards. By 2014, all Cargill food processing plant will need to be certified by the upgraded HACCP version FSSC22000.

As a leader in food safety we believe government should assure businesses are doing what they said they do! Thus implementing a creditable food safety mgmt & verification system should be in place. Private sector is responsible for producing safe food, for risk assessment and for identifying hazards in the production and supply chain processes. Currently some of the leading countries in the world where we see great collaboration between industry and Government in our views are the UK, Australia, West Europe, for example.

The industry has the obligation to cooperate with government, to truly understand the whole system, constructively provide recommendations, while government should increase the degree of information available to help business get better understanding of regulations. Industry should also transparently inform government of any incident and raise any potential food safety flags.

Several MNC are helping in the food safety arena and are looking at doing more. In Cargill, we don’t think food safety is a secret. We think it is a moral obligation as a leader in global food safety to share our knowledge, even our challenges with the industry. An example of some of the things we do is Cargill Jiaotong.  Recently we have been sharing some of our experience through an academic process with mid-to-small size local private companies.

I want to emphasize and reiterate that the business sector must continue to put immense emphasis, resources, talent, processes and strong execution capabilities around their food safety efforts. It starts with its leaders!!!

At Cargill we also see the need for increased emphasis on education and public information around this issue. Relevant associations and Academia should drive this work. Finally, businesses can support non-government organization as well as government to build up better platforms for education and communication (For example the CFIC - China Food Information Center).

Food safety is a very broad topic. Success depends on the joint efforts of all the stakeholders. As a corporate citizen, we have the obligation to abide by the laws and regulations of the country we operate in, to bring our best processes and talent to manage food production in a safe way, and at the same time, we must have a proactive role to help shape the food safety environment. At Cargill we are doing all that and it makes us proud!

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