Fresh Plaza: Out of all the things consumers take into consideration when they’re at the supermarket, food safety rarely gets much attention. But for the people who are entrusted with providing that food, food safety is of paramount concern, and the ways fresh produce suppliers and retailers ensure the food they provide is safe has had to adapt to new challenges.

“In the 1970s, availability was a major issue, then taste was in the 1980s, like the environment was in the 1990s and social responsibility was in the 2000s,” said Leon Mols from Ahold while speaking during the recent PMA Fresh Connections held last week in Rotterdam. “As sourcing managers, we have to balance quality, sustainability and availability every day, but food safety is separate from that. We can’t go to an incident-driven system,” said Mols. “We need a structure that prevents conditions where products are unsafe.”

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