Logistics

Malaysia partners with Rentokil to boost food safety compliances

15:33 SGT December 13, 2017
Malaysia
IoT can play a big role in preventing contamination along supply chain

To address current issues involving food safety and quality in Malaysia, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and pest control company Rentokil Malaysia collaborated on a four-day Food Safety Inspection seminar. Participants at the event comprised key players from industries such as food production, healthcare, education and MOH Food Safety Auditors who gained insights from various topics that included pest behaviours, integrated pest management and hygiene practices in creating a safer food production experience.

“We are always on the lookout to improve the quality of the Malaysian food industry. With today’s technology, it gives us better understanding of how these pests behave through biological research,” said Jamilah Salikin, principal assistant director, Pre-Market Approval Branch, Food Safety and Quality Division, Ministry of Health, Malaysia.

“Instead of always enforcing strict legislation to these decision-makers, we are changing our approach and are very excited to work with Rentokil to educate and create awareness among the auditors and the food industry on existing food safety compliances.”

Rentokil emphasized the importance of food safety management, and the role of technology advancement and data transparency not only in food manufacturing, but also in the entire supply chain.

The pest control company also stressed that key players in the food processing, hotels and pharmaceutical industries should always be aware of the importance of strict compliance to the regulations and health standards to ensure food safety from farm to table. Food can be contaminated at any point of the production process, from harvesting of raw materials to processing, storage, distribution, transport and preparation to table, it added.

Both the food industry and regulators must evolve and innovate to meet new challenges and consumer demands for better food safety and quality.

Both the food industry and regulators must evolve and innovate to meet new challenges and consumer demands for better food safety and quality, said Rentokil.

As much as consumers try to avoid contaminated food, there are limited means to assure that food is safe before consumption. In 2015 alone, there were 266,319 hospitalisations recorded in Malaysia, of which 15,346 were due to food-related illnesses such as food poisoning, typhoid, cholera and dysentery, the company added.

“The world population is going to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, and due to globalized supply chain, food safety management has gotten more challenging than ever. Ensuring the supply of safe food products is extremely crucial to protect the public’s health. This is why technology and data transparency are important to mitigate any potential food safety risk in the entire supply chain,” said Carol Lam, managing director of Rentokil Initial Malaysia, Philippines and Brunei.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been the “talk of the town” on its potential to revolutionize the way businesses operate across the globe, she said.

“The IoT is currently used most commonly in the food industry to track and trace the status of products through the entire supply chain,” Lam explained. “The other advantage of end-to-end food safety monitoring is it enables various parties involved from farm to table to quickly identify points of origin if food contamination is discovered. Previously, these investigations could have taken weeks or months to complete.”

Rentokil emphasized the importance of food safety management, and the role of technology advancement and data transparency not only in food manufacturing, but also in the entire supply chain.

The event was an opportunity for Rentokil to unveil its IoT-enabled solutions. The PestConnect, for example, functions as an online connected system, which provides continuous round-the-clock monitoring, with rapid response and protection against pests such as rodents. These connected devices automatically detect pest activities and send the data directly to myRentokil, the online reporting system that allows customers to stay on top of any potential risks at their sites.

Juliana Soo, regional technical director of Rentokil Initial, added: “As devices become more connected to transmit and receive data, we hope that our sharing on the importance of data insights and IoT allow the key industry leaders to understand the importance of big data in an integrated pest management for effective supply chain pest risk management.”

She concluded: “These innovative technological systems are able to deliver new data insights that enable businesses to identify trends and hotspot areas. It can also provide a real solution to help mitigate risk in the increasingly complex modern supply chains. It is a more proactive approach towards food safety that helps organizations throughout its supply chain risk management.”