Notes from the Field

Alexandra Emanuelli

Alexandra Emanuelli
Digital Content Editor

Hello GFSR Reader and pleasure to meet you,

I’m your new editor, Alexandra Emanuelli. We’re making some exciting changes at GFSR and I thought you, our loyal reader, would want to be privy. Each month, I’ll be checking in with you and giving you a short primer on the compelling articles our writers have created for you as well as introducing the theme and any other updates.

Volume 1, Issue 11

Welcome back GFSR readers! We hope you had a safe and healthy holiday season. Our feature article this month considers a radical new technology that could change the way that could change the way we treat pathogens. Suzanne Osborne digs into CRISPR technology and considers the implications of bringing it into the food safety sector. Our second article considers how COVID-19 is changing consumers’ fears around food shortages and driving interest toward food nationalism. It’s a telling piece about where we are in the pandemic and what the implications are from a food safety perspective.


Our blog takes a look at new cannabis safety and quality standards, new regulations aiming to ensure best practices and improve safety for cannabis and cannabis-infused products. Lauren Solar also explores the latest in new technology that is ensuring a safe supply chain. You won’t want to miss her ground-breaking examples. Finally, my interview this month is with Cesare Varallo on global standards and food safety.

Volume 11, Issue 10

Virtual training has become increasingly popular due to the pandemic, but just because you’re a subject matter expert, doesn’t mean you know how to teach. In this month’s feature article, Jayne Roth covers how to make virtual training engaging by interviewing the experts in the field. Cameron Prince and Rich Simmons tackle the contentious issue of the GFSI audit, and question whether it can allow for a thorough audit.

Our very own, Tina Brillinger shares her experience of encountering nuts while eating foods labelled as “plant-based” and questions whether there needs to be more oversight and regulation. Finally, considering supply chain strategies in the EU, Liz Neumark makes the connection to North America and how suppliers here can learn valuable lessons from the European Union’s experiences.

Volume 10, Issue 10

Bacteriophages are an incredible new method being used to destroy viruses, especially relevant now that so many viruses are becoming antibiotic resistant – one of our only methods for fighting them. Author Suzanne Osborne delineates this new treatment option and lays out the science as to what we know it can do, and what we’re hoping to still learn. Our second article focuses on the impending second wave, and depending on where you are in the world, you could be in the thick of it already. Covid-19 is never far from our minds, or reporting, and Dr. Keith Warriner relays how we can better prepare for and prevent upcoming Covid waves.


Our blog this month starts with a fascinating piece by Lisa Jo Lupo examining the counter-measures taken by the meat industry and how while hit the hardest, might be the model to help other areas of the food industry create sustainable and healthy working environments. I tackle the issue surrounding traceability and technology in regulation.

We will be attending the SQF and the IAFP conference the last week of October. We are so looking forward to hearing the speakers and meeting with industry experts. Please reach out and introduce yourself. We will be reporting on our experiences next month!

Volume 9, Issue 10

This month, we begin with a fascinating piece by Suzanne Osborne, who explores the misconception and the areas of concern around farmers markets and food safety. Digging in, she examines where these gaps emerge and what needs to occur in order to fill them. Looking post-pandemic, Dr. Brita Ball inquires how companies can manage risks and what has been learned due to the devastation caused by COVID-19. She highlights the importance of cooperation between human resources, health and safety and risk management personnel in dealing with the virus, and the necessity of these collaborations in the future.

Discussing an often forgotten yet equally important aspect of hand hygiene is Frederic Perreault who considers the science behinds hand drying. Author Judy Sebastian delves into consumer culture and how the pandemic is shaping that in new and unique ways.

Volume 8, Issue 10

The impact of COVID-19 on the agriculture industry has been an especially challenging subject, whether it be from the perspective of essential workers who harvest produce to the individuals who stock our shelves to the auditors who inspect our food and keep it safe. In this issue, we turn our attention to part two of Susie Hoeller and Ben Theryl’s article on the importance of legally defining essential workers, as they grapple with the laws and protections that need to be put in place in order to ensure that our food system remains safe. Jeff Hall shares his perspective on how primary growers have managed during the pandemic, especially due to it’s reliance on temporary foreign workers.

I look at the FDA’s newest policy launch, the Era of Smarter Food Safety, which explores updates in methods to handle traceability and contamination, to name a few. Finally, Heather Gale and Amelia Balsillie consider how Canadian growers have been supported and helped during the Coronavirus. Our interview this month is with DNV GL’s Kathleen Wybourn about helping companies and individuals understand the US regulations and laws surrounding FSMA.

Volume 7, Issue 10

Industry experts are now asking big questions about how the food industry was able to be so directly impacted by COVID-19 and why it wasn’t better prepared. In our featured article this month, authors Susie Hoeller and Ben Theryel write about the need to legally define essential workers in order to secure the food supply chain and ensure workers safety. Following that, author Dyanne Parnell considers how the legal cannabis industry has been employing excellent preventative and proactive measures to protect customers as well as employees from spreading COVID-19 and how those measures can be applied to the industry as a whole.


Audits have been an increasing challenge for many food manufacturers with governments still encouraging social distancing and a small but significant number of auditors falling ill to COVID-19. Donald Brewer considers some alternatives such as GMP audits and virtual HACCP verification audits. Finally, Gordon Hayburn questions why more manufacturers weren’t better prepared for the pandemic and what manufacturers should be doing now to prevent further issues.

This month’s video interview is with Stephanie Lopez, the Vice President of Operations with AIB International, she shares with us how the industry is adapting to training challenges through innovations and training technologies.

Volume 6, Issue 10

As we continue to learn more about the novel Coronavirus that continues to both ravage human and economic health, our systems begin to feel the impact. Dr. Giannis Stoitsis shares with us the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains, explaining that limits on internal audits as well as delays in shipping food have created serious safety concerns. Addressing those concerns by enacting new policies and enabling new technological tools could provide solutions to these issues. Another recent issue that has been presented due to the pandemic is the increase in food fraud, as illustrated by Mitchell Weinberg in his article on the subject.


Taking a more positive approach to pandemic, Brita Ball penned a fascinating piece on the potential lessons that the industry can learn. Finally, Aaron Soudant considers the food safety implications of a fly infestation and why it’s crucial to consider these tiny pests as they can cause the spreading of numerous pathogens. This month’s video interview is with the CEO of Agroknow, Nikos Manouselis, sharing with us data can be extracted from supply chains to predict potential food recalls. Finally, this month we celebrate World Food Safety Day, which holds even more import this year with international focus on hygiene and sanitation due to the pandemic.

Volume 5, Issue 10

As the food industry continues to be ravaged by the Coronavirus, we shift our coverage to include more content addressing the specific concerns related to the industry and the impacts of the pandemic. Keith Warriner contemplates some methods by which the industry can reduce the impact of the threat of the virus, including encouraging us to remain vigilant to foodborne pathogens. Considering the key techniques for clear and consistent communication for companies during the pandemic is Judy Sebastian in her latest article.


We also covered the importance of food safety certification in this issue, provided by BRCGS’ Paula Parejo, with a fascinating piece highlighting the unique protective aspects that the step provides. This month’s video interview is with BRCGS’ John Kukoly on the value of claim validation, a great follow-up to this article. Highlighting the importance of standards in the digital age, Sara Walton shares with us the integral importance of standards, especially in this digital age.

Volume 4, Issue 10

Coronavirus has become a worldwide pandemic, and this month we focus some attention on the potential ramifications for both employees and employers in the food industry. I spoke with international business attorney, Susie Hoeller, on how businesses in our industry can prepare their workforce in light of social distancing guidelines. We will continue to cover COVID-19 in our coming issues, so watch this space.


The theme of the issue is technology. Suzanne Osborne explores the expanding use of virtual reality as a means to modernize and create hand-on learning experiences for training. Picking up on that theme, I explore Alchemy’s innovative new app, Playbook, that makes use of on-the-job training. Diving into digital technology further, Jacki Ross expands on the importance of digital monitoring technology for food businesses. Finally, Louise Grinyer highlights some key means for retailers to reduce their food waste. The next issue’s theme is certification.

Volume 3, Issue 10

This month I attended my first GFSI conference. It was such a wonderful experience to meet and connect with industry insiders. We interviewed a number of them and we will be disseminating those interviews in the coming weeks and months.

March’s theme is packaging. Our feature piece looks into the rise of flexible food packaging as a means to provide lightweight, space-saving solutions for both consumers and retailers. The author, Jaan Koel, digs into the innovative use of nanotechnology as a means to preserve and detect changes in packaged foods. Jaclyn Bowen considers the next big trend in the “free-from” claim that is sweeping the market, as consumers are wary of chemical additives in product containers and packaging that can leach into food and drinks.


On our blog, Lois Harris examines the safety implications of vertical farming and the current legislation (or lack thereof) regulating the industry. Finally, we share innovative work coming out of Campden BRI on the subject of AMP technology and its ability to understand shelf-life.

Stay tuned for April’s issue on innovation and technology.

Volume 2, Issue 10

February’s theme is auditing. Judy Sebastian shines a light on how to digitize food safety audits effectively, providing some key tools for companies to consider when transitioning from paper to paperless. A different perspective on the audit question comes from Baharak Chegeni who eschews the question of when is the audit, for perpetual audit preparedness. Her four-step approach is something to consider for any company. On the blog we have a piece by Steve Hather encouraging engagement with a lesser considered side of mock recalls, external engagement. Finally, Lois Harris tackles the timely subject of meat recalls in the US and the report written by PIRG comparing the FDA and the USDA systems.


I hope you enjoyed this issue of eye on Food Safety. Next month’s issue is on packaging.

Volume 1, Issue 10

This month, the theme of our Journal is an exploration of industry trends. We have four fascinating articles on the subject, starting with John Keogh’s piece presenting Dubai’s Food Watch food safety management system, a platform that is using blockchain, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and more to modernize and digitize key information. Next we have profile on a Genome Canada award-winning company that can visually identify pathogenic species in real time.

One massive trend of 2020 is the plant-based product, author Paula Parejo dives into the important reasons behind to certify products with the plant-based certification. Finally, food safety training is always on trend, and we explore some of the latest techniques for ensuring your company retains that knowledge.

We hope these articles and blog posts resonate with you. If they do, share and like them and tag us @GFSR on social media and continue the conversation. We appreciate your feedback!

I’ll see you in February for our issue on audits.

All the best,