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 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,