Food Safety and Traceability


Food safety is an important issues in today’s overpopulated global market. Key global food safety concerns include: the spread of hazardous bacteria, chemical food contaminants, new food technologies assessments, and building strong food safety systems to ensure a safe global food chain. Though regulatory demands are key to food safety, there are also strong business reasons for adopting ever more stringent food safety procedures. Corporate responsibility is a key issue for businesses, as is the protection of shareholder value. A solid food safety record will become a valuable asset in the future and has potential to reverse consumers’ faltering trust in business and government. An international traceability system can be the solution to differing national standards of food regulation.

The most important factor driving the implementation of food safety and traceability for food manufacturers is international legislation. Any food business must first and foremost comply with its national requirements of food safety and hygiene law. However there are also strong external pressures to exceed the standards set out in legislation. Chief among these are the demands of customers, especially the large retail chains, which are pressing for coordination among third party certification schemes.[i] We need to take the impetus off consumers’ responsibility for monitoring food safety and put it on international regulatory commisions like the World Health Organization.

Read More Here!


[i] Lawley, Richard. Food Safety and Traceability Strategies Key Hazards, Risks and Technological Developments. Rep. Business Insights, 2010. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. p 66. <http://www.eularinet.eu/img/contents_archives/document/11/10/21/39_2011_10_21_07_38_02.pdf&gt;.

 

Ahhh… My Day Off


Crazy… I actually don’t wake up to a sophisticated alarm embedded in the headboard of my bed.  Not because there isn’t one there, but because today is Sunday, my day off from work when I can finally play a round of golf.  I shouldn’t really call playing professional basketball ‘work’, though.  I play for the Mobile Frackers, a new NBA franchise that was started in 2018 by a group of oil barons.  Since all vehicles, planes, and boats became solar-powered (due to a breakthrough in research by Sonny Jacobson, a Bucknell grad), the need for oil is significantly lower than it was 10 years ago.  I guess the oil barons made a smart move by getting out of the oil industry and investing in hoops.

Anyways… I get out of bed and go downstairs to see my personal chef, Cheyenne Peppers, making me breakfast.  “I’ve made your favorite!” she exclaims.  “Chilaquiles?” I ask with a smile on my face.  “You’re the best!”  I hastily sit down at the kitchen counter, grab my fork, and dig in.  “These are terrible,” I tell her.  “You’re fired.”  Of course I’m only kidding; Cheyenne and I are great friends.  She is the girlfriend of my manager, Petey Manavich.  They both live with me in my condo in Mobile, AL, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

MOBILE FRACKERS

MOBILE FRACKERS

As I eat my delicious Mexican dish, I pull up my computer on the kitchen counter.  First I check my U, the app I developed several years ago that has revolutionized how people across the WORLD manage their lives.  U is not a social media platform.  (I would tell you more about it, but this is something I’m actually working on.)  Finishing my last bite, I yell out to Petey, “you ready to get your ass kicked today?”

Petey and I hop in my solar-powered Range Hover.  We joke about how funny it was when I had that piece of shit ’02 Acura RSX two-door.

2002-2004 Acura RSX photographed in College Pa...

I really hated driving this car 10 years ago.

Pulling up to the valet parking at Moose Country Club, I am greeted by Parker, one of our younger employees.  “Good morning Mr. Muscala,” he says.  “Please…call me Mic,” I tell him.  I got a lot of crap for changing the spelling of my name a couple years ago, but it has helped my rap career immensely.  Despite my appearance, I have garnered a decent amount of respect in the rap industry with my two albums “Six Foot Eleven” and “Mic Jawz: Great White”.

After shooting a disappointing 78, I tell my caddy Jeff Greens to schedule me for another tee time next Sunday.  My golf game has really improved, but only being able to play once a week makes it difficult.  As Petey drives us back to the condo, we put on some instrumentals and start freestyling.  I’ve been so lucky to have him as my manager — we’ve been friends ever since 2nd grade.

Cheyenne has dinner ready for us when we get back.  Steaks from the grill and corn on the cob, lathered with butter and salt.  Sunday is when I pay less attention to the healthiness of the foods I eat – it keeps me sane throughout the grueling week of workouts as I prepare for the upcoming season with the Frackers.  I check my U one more time before bed and set my alarm that is, in fact, embedded into my headboard.  730 AM it reads.  Time for another week to get better.  As a 31 year-old professional basketball player in the final year of his contract, I need a big year if I want to remain in the NBA and get another contract as a free agent when the year is over.

Then again, when I first signed with my agent over 10 years ago, he mentioned it wouldn’t be terrible if I went to Spain to play ball for the final couple years of my career.  Guess we’ll just have to find out.  ¡Buenas noches!

 

Would you like to Supertax that?


I don’t know if you all were aware but apparently physical health is a problem in our country. Obesity is an issue. Heart attacks are an issue. Diabietes is an issue. Cancer is an issue. A percentage of these issues derive from the same source: fast food. It’s not a big secret that fast food is bad for you. Fast food has extraordinarily high calorie content, saturated fat content, and sodium content. Sure, a few more calories, a little bit of saturated fat and food heavy in sodium is ok once in a while but when different types of fried potatoes make up a large percentage of your daily diet you’re bound to run into some health issues.  A sad reality is that our poorest communities are subjected to these health issues because of how cheap a 20 piece of nuggets at McDonalds is ($4.99). Far too often is the most unhealthy food also the cheapest; Far too often our poorest citizens are also  the most obese. To effectively and efficiently become a healthier population, we need to disincentivize this unhealthy behavior. What if we placed a tax on fast food the same way we placed a tax on cigarettes? This could potentially counter the social cost that we incur as a result of an unhealthy poorer class. Benefits from this proposed tax include long term economic benefits incurred from healthier more productive workers, reduced counts of health issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and extra tax money for the government to use at their discretion.

How a Reduction in Food Waste Can Save the Planet


“Currently, more than 48 million Americans live in households that struggle to get enough to eat, while the amount of food thrown out in the United States every year is enough to fill the Rose Bowl to its brim. Redistributing only 2 percent of food waste would end hunger in the United States.”

-Jonathan Bloom

 

American society is currently plagued by the idea that it is necessary to offer oversized portions of food. I first became aware of the alarming issues that coincide with food waste in America during my time as a member of the Bucknell Dining Sustainability Club. As Sustainability Ambassadors, we are tasked with the job of trying to make Bucknell dining more environmentally friendly. We encourage dining services to work with the local food producers and have them offer more organic options to students. We have been responsible for changes such as the switch to a tray-less cafeteria, and recently, this year, have been working with Jonathon Bloom, the author of American Wasteland. Last semester, he gave a speech to the student body about the problems of food waste, and together with our club, we performed a waste audit in the cafeteria. We collected 93 pounds of food waste during a 2-hour collection period, and just last week collected 55 pounds for our second follow-up waste audit. Bloom was there to educate students about these issues and spoke about disturbing statistics such as the estimate that 25% of all the food Americans bring into their homes, goes to waste.

bucknell food waste

Food waste is a problem for 3 main reasons: ethics, the environment, and economics. The ethical issue is the injustice that so many people in this country are going hungry while such a large proportion of food is going to waste. The environmental dilemma behind this waste concerns all of the natural resources that are intensively used in food production. Large amounts of water and gas are wasted when we have produced large amounts of food that will never be eaten. Finally, economics is the last main reason that we need to be worried about food waste. A significant expense is incurred by agricultural producers, consumers, restaurants, and stores on foods that end up in the landfill.

Now, the next question is what we can do to solve this problem. Personally, as consumers we have a few options to make a lasting impact. We can focus on smart shopping by planning meals and making lists about what we actually need to purchase. We can limit our portion sizes and increase our knowledge of food. We can also volunteer at food recovery programs that redistribute extra food to people in need. In addition, Bloom often challenges the people he meets to buy 25% less food than usual at their next trip to the grocery store. On a larger scale, Bloom suggests that the best way to prevent food waste is to ban organic waste from being accepted at landfills. He says that this would make people think twice about how much food they are buying and would promote better ways of using food purchases. This ban tactic has successfully been implemented in other countries, as well. To save the world we need to put a conscious effort into what we consume. The reduction of food waste can ultimately protect the environment, fight hunger, and save money.

Wegmans: Raising the Bar


Introduction

Wegmans Food Markets has revolutionized the term “grocery store”. Gone are the days when most grocery stores look and feel the same. Although Wegmans was founded in 1916, it seems that Wegmans has really just started taking off since 1993 when the first of many stores were opened outside of New York state.  This business that started as a fruit and vegetable cart has evolved into a mega-store, and it now sets the standard for pleasant shopping and dining experiences. Wegmans is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States and has raised the industry standards through its phenomenal product quality, plethora of options, top notch prepared food, and impeccable customer service.  Since its launch, this family-owned grocery chain has been a model for ethical business operations while earning impressive profits.  The company has balanced the importance of these two and has become a seemingly model company for how to go about doing business.

History

In 1916, John Wegman opened a fruit and vegetable cart and called it the Rochester Fruit & Vegetable Company.  Since that time, Wegmans has been a first-mover in many instances.  By 1931, Wegmans stores include meats, produce, groceries, dairy, and baked goods.  The next year, Wegmans becomes the first grocery store to introduce refrigerated display windows and vaporized water sprays to keep produce products fresh.  Less than a decade later, Wegmans is the first store to offer frozen foods to consumers.  After that, the East Rochester Wegmans store is one of the first to utilize laser scanning to read codes printed on products.  Starting in 1979, Wegmans creates it own brand to sell in stores, usually for cheaper than the brand names consumers recognize.  Starting in the 1980s, Wegmans became increasingly innovative in its programming: Wegmans created a scholarship program, work-scholarship connection, shoppers club electronic discount program, strive for five program, and “Food You Feel Good About” program.  It appears that all of the hard work pays off.  As of 2013, Wegmans has been recognized as Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” sixteen times, and Wegmans has been in the top five of that list for nine of those years.  That’s not all.  Wegmans also was recently ranked number one in a Consumer Reports survey on the country’s favorite grocery chains. (Perman 1) Last, but certainly not least, Wegmans has been recognized as one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere Institute.  Clearly, Wegmans is doing something right.

WME2013_main

Company Values

Ever since founding the grocery chain, the Wegmans family has believed, “[…] that good people, working toward a common goal, can accomplish anything they set out to do,” (Wegmans Company Overview). Day after day, Wegmans employees strive to live up to the company motto: “Every Day You Get Our Best”.  What sets Wegmans apart from its competitors and other companies in general is how much they care about people and the community.  Wegmans is a phenomenal example of a stakeholder-focused company.  Its top priorities are its customers and employees, not just making money.  It seems that this family-owned grocery company views its employees and customers as parts of its extended family and treats them all that way.  Since its founding, Wegmans has created many departments to satisfy just about any customers’ needs.  These departments include: Market Cafes, Ready-to-Cook meals, Bakery, Patisserie, Deli & Cheese Shop, Nature’s Marketplace, Food from Around the World, Pharmacy, Complements, Floral Shop, Greeting Cards, Gift Shop, Cosmetics, Bath and Body, Wkids Fun Centers.  While many of these are staples at other grocery stores, Wegmans has gone the extra mile with its selection in those departments and has raised the bar with unique ones like Patisserie (a French pastry shop) and Wkids Fun Centers (babysitting children ages 3-8 while parents get shopping done).  Customer service at Wegmans is also clearly a well-known edge the company has on the industry.  I read all about the attentive employees and “nearly telepathic level of customer service” in many articles I came across. (Wegmans Company Overview)  As I looked into this exemplary customer service, I found Wegmans’ very own Youtube Channel.  On this channel were many interesting videos that featured its own employees who discussed their Wegmans working experience.  The first video I watched was called “Wegmans Company Culture”.  In this video, store manager Kevin Lang said, “If you are very good at taking care of employees and are concerned about their well being not only at work but at home, and you’re concerned about how much they know about what they are doing at work, how much they enjoy coming to work, they’re going to take that and they’re going to turn that around and be concerned about how they serve customers.” Here’s a company that truly understands the importance of employee morale.

wegmans-food-markets

In another video, “Making a Difference—A Wegmans Who We Are Value”, Susan McAndrews explains that she is so happy to “work for a company that absolutely supports what [she wants] to do and also gives [her] the resources that [she needs] to do that and do that efficiently.”  Kevin Young explains, in another video, “Caring—A Wegmans Who We Are Value”, that Wegmans supported his goal of going back to school for a bachelor’s degree and allowed him to have a flexible working schedule while doing so.  Wegmans offers its employees great benefits and even an employee scholarship program.   The company also helps its employees learn about their own departments outside of the stores. “It sends butchers to Colorado, Uruguay and Argentina to learn about beef. It sends deli managers to Wisconsin, Italy, Germany and France to learn about cheese,” (Rhode 1).  Since the program was launched in 1984, Wegmans has covered more than $85 million in tuition expenses. (Wegmans Company Overview). Finally, Marie Panara describes one of the highlights of her work experience in the video, “High Standards—A Wegmans Who We Are Value”.

615 WegmanFamily2

One day at work, Danny Wegman was walking through the store and talking to customers and employees alike; he came over to Panara, shook her hand, and said that he is so happy she is with the company.   This brief interaction between Danny Wegman and Maria Panara is a great example of Kant’s theory in action.  “Always treat the humanity in a person as an end, and never as a means merely,” (Bowie 4).  By making each member of the Wegmans team feel special and wanted, the employees are happy to come to work and help customers with anything they need.  There’s probably no better moment than hearing one of the founders of the company tell you how happy he is to have you working with him.

Over the years, Wegmans has become increasingly well-known for its charitable donations and community service initiatives.  In 2012, Wegmans donated 16 million pounds of food to food banks in the US.  As stated on its company overview page, Wegmans focuses its “commitment to the community” in five areas:

  • Food for the needy
  • Strengthening neighborhoods
  • Helping young people succeed
  • Healthy eating and activity
  • Support for the United Way as an effective way to fund programs that make a difference.

(Wegmans Company Overview)

After reading about Wegmans’ business practices and its care for people and the community, I started thinking about Donaldson and Hartman.  In Hartman’s article, “Donaldson on Rights and Corporate Obligations”, he explains Donaldson’s three duties that every company should fulfill.

“1. The duty to avoid depriving people of their rights

2. The duty to help protect people from such deprivation

3. The duty to aid those who are deprived” (Hartmann 163).

Later, Hartmann adds his own “fourth duty” to the list, “avoiding helping to deprive”. (Hartman 165).

As I stated previously, Wegmans focuses on the people first.  I think the second, third, and fourth duties are most applicable to Wegmans’ case.  Each year, Wegmans helps millions of people by providing food to people who are starving.  The company also provides millions of dollars in scholarship funds to those that can’t afford a college education.  Also, Wegmans created the Work-Scholarship Connection in Rochester, NY to help at-risk children.  The purpose of this program is to decrease the dropout rate in the district and teach the 2,300 middle school and high school participants the skills to work.

The Wegmans Love Affair

As I was researching, I often thought about the simple question, “What do people love so much about Wegmans?”  I tried to ignore my love of Wegmans in reasoning through this.  I was extremely excited when I came across a press release from 2004 entitled “Love Letters to Wegmans”.  Fun fact: approximately 5,800 people took the time to send a love letter to Wegmans, and the press release included quotes from a selection of these.  I read on to find out why people loved Wegmans and came across a variety of reasons including product selection, store aesthetics, top-notch produce, great service and staff, low prices, the olive bar, the sushi bar, signs for hearing impaired people at ordering counters, encouraging customers to cook and try new things, and making a chore into a pleasant experience.  Not only did I find “love letters to Wegmans”, but I also found other articles with love in the title.  One was entitled, “A Love Affair with Wegmans Begins”, written by someone after being swept off his or her feet after a first-time Wegmans shopping experience (Anderson).  In another article, “Brand Love for Wegmans: Nice Beat, You Can Dance to It”, Cindy Perman described the scene outside the first Massachusetts store just before opening.  She explains that there were approximately 2000 people in line by 7:00 am, and while people were waiting, a “Wegmans: The Musical” was born. “The musical is about two brothers: One’s a manager at Wegmans and the other works a manager at Acme Food Store. The one who works at Acme sends a spy to sabotage the Wegmans store. The spy winds up falling in love with Wegmans — and a Wegmans employee! Hilarity ensues,” (Perman 1).

Wegmans: Do They Ever Mess Up?

After learning about all of the things that Wegmans does right, you are probably wondering if I found a crisis or piece of negative press in my research.  It took a while to find, but I finally came across something.  In February 2013, Wegmans issued two massive recalls on its flour and wheat products.  Thankfully, the problem was discovered relatively quickly.  The wheat products (hot dog buns, hamburger buns, sandwich bread, and pita) were sold between February 1st and February 15th, and the recall was announced on February 16th.  The flour recall was made after just about two months of sales, but there were no injuries or illnesses reported as a result of the product.  How were these problems handled?  Customers could return products to stores for full refunds.  Of all the issues a company could face, this is not the biggest deal in the world.  On top of that, Wegmans tackled the issue head on by recognizing the issue, announcing the recall, and giving its customers all refunds.  I was pretty happy that this is the only “issue” that I could find.  Clearly, Wegmans is doing something right.  Scratch that.  Wegmans is doing many things right.

Conclusion

Just last year, Wegmans received about 5200 requests to build a store in various communities along with 7,600 other letters from customers simply explaining how much they love shopping at Wegmans for various personal reasons.  Since 1916, the company has had quite a journey, and it is now known as one of the most ethical companies in the United States and one of the best places to work.  As Neil Stern wrote in a 1994 Wall Street Journal cover story about Wegmans,  “We consider them the best chain in the country, maybe in the world” (Wegmans Company Overview). As a loyal fan, I would never dispute this.

Bibliography

Anderson, Tania. “A Love Affair With Wegmans Begins – Shop To It.” A Love Affair With Wegmans Begins – Shop To It. Washington Post, 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 06 Apr. 2013. <http://voices.washingtonpost.com/shoptoit/2008/11/dear_wegmans_a_crazy_thing.html&gt;.

Bowie, Norman.  “A Kantian Approach to Business Ethics”. 3 April 2013.

Company Overview. Wegmans, n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2013. <http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?storeId=10052&identifier=CATEGORY_2441&gt;.

DeCanio, Lisa. “”I Love Wegmans” – Reactions to the Grocery Giant’s First Massachusetts Store Opening [Storify].” BostInno. N.p., 17 Oct. 2011. Web. 07 Apr. 2013. <http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2011/10/17/%E2%80%9Ci-love-wegmans%E2%80%9D-%E2%80%93-reactions-to-the-grocery-giant%E2%80%99s-first-massachusetts-store-opening-storify/&gt;.

Hartman, Edwin.  “Donaldson on Rights and Corporate Obligations”. 3 April 2013.

History-Wegmans. Wegmans, n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2013. <http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?storeId=10052&identifier=CATEGORY_1381&gt;.

Natale, Jo, and Jennifer Mitchell. “Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. Named to Ethisphere’s 2012 World’s Most Ethical Companies List.” Wegmans. N.p., 16 Mar. 2012. Web. 20 Mar. 2013. <http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10052&catalogId=10002&productId=737863&gt;.

Natale, Jo, Theresa Jackson, and Evelyn Carter. “15th Consecutive Year: FORTUNE Places Wegmans on ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ List, Ranking #4.” Wegmans.com. Wegmans, 19 Jan. 2012. Web. 3 Apr. 2013. <http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10052&catalogId=10002&productId=734552&gt;.

Natale, Jo. “Love Letters to Wegmans.” Wegmans.com. Wegmans, 16 July 2004. Web. 3 Apr. 2013. <http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/PressReleaseDetailView?langId=-1&storeId=10052&productId=399502&catalogId=1&gt;.

Perman, Cindy. “Brand Love for Wegmans: Nice Beat, You Can Dance to It.” CNBC.com. CNBC, 4 May 2012. Web. 03 Apr. 2013. <http://www.cnbc.com/id/47298199&gt;.

Rhode, David. “The Anti-Walmart: The Secret Sauce of Wegmans Is People.” The Atlantic. N.p., 23 Mar. 2012. Web. 03 Apr. 2013. <http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/03/the-anti-walmart-the-secret-sauce-of-wegmans-is-people/254994/&gt;.

Smith, Jacquelyn. “The World’s Most Ethical Companies.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 15 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2012/03/15/the-worlds-most-ethical-companies/&gt;.

“Wegmans Food Markets.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/user/wegmansfoodmarkets&gt;.

IKEA food follies


IKEA has recalled food products a number of times throughout its history that I wish to look into more, but was recently affected by the horsemeat scandal in Europe. In February, IKEA recalled its signature Swedish meatballs in all European countries, except Norway and Russia, when Czech Republic authorities detected horsemeat in frozen meatballs labeled beef and pork. Two weeks prior, IKEA performed its own tests that did not detect horse DNA. Horsemeat is significantly cheaper than beef and easily substituted by suppliers to reduce costs. Horsemeat was also discovered in hot dogs sold in Russia during expansive meat testing performed by IKEA.

Just over one week after the meatball recall, IKEA withdrew its chocolate and butterscotch almond cakes from stores in 23 countries after Chinese authorities detected Faecal coliforms, bacteria normally found in human and animal waste, in them. A single Swedish supplier produced the affected batches of cakes. IKEA attributed the recall to the product not complying with its strict food quality standards, not as a health risk to consumers.

IKEA addressed the food recalls claiming, “IKEA is committed to serving and selling high quality food that is safe, healthy and produced with care for the environment and the people who produce it. We do not tolerate any other ingredients than the ones stipulated in our recipes or specifications, secured through set standards, certifications and product analysis by accredited laboratories.” The issue I wish to look at is IKEA’s ethical decisions regarding supply chain management and quality control of the products it sells at low prices, in addition to whether or not a furniture company selling food is ethically responsible.