Food safety: “We have to reinvent ourselves all the time” – Economy

Has the covid crisis changed the health approach in companies?

It has tightened control of the incoming flow of people. Handwashing, for example, which is an essential step in food safety management. The human being continues to be, in any case, a vector of pathogens.

Kersia Group, headed by Sébastien Bossard, employs 2,100 people in 120 countries, following the acquisition of Bioarmor, the acquisition of Kalinisan in the Philippines and Agrochem in the United States. (Photo Kersia/Pascal Helleu)

The paradox is these repeated crises in agri-food companies.

I sincerely believe that this is a bad combination of circumstances. In the European Union we have a Codex Alimentarius that is extremely strict in the manufacture and production of food. But the world of pathogens is a world of the living. The pathogens that plague the food industry, such as salmonellosis or Escherichia coli, have a certain number of mutants. Even with an established protocol, the pathogen transforms. You have to reinvent yourself all the time.

How do the solutions offered by Kersia evolve?

We recommend routine cleaning and disinfection protocols, because 90% of our activity is prevention. The rest are shock treatments: we start with diagnostics to implement an appropriate protocol. That is, reinforce cleaning or disinfection, change the active substance because the same substance used for too long can generate pathogen resistance. It is also possible to alternate the disinfectants to avoid these resistance phenomena.

Have the tools to combat epizootics also evolved?

I have a real thought for breeders. Seeing your animals slaughtered is very hard to live with. We are working hand in hand with the authorities on the adaptation of protocols, in order to improve the situation. There is a very concrete example: we know that in the development of avian influenza it is a flow problem. In terms of road transport, we are thinking of different products to deal with at the exit and at the entrance. The difficulty lies in the application of the products: we are working on dry disinfection.

Avoiding diseases in animals, is it avoiding transmissions in the food chain?

An animal that arrives contaminated in the food chain, even if its milk, for example, is contaminated, inevitably, that poses a problem. The controls are drastic, but we are never safe from human error or from uncontrolled contamination, even though veterinary services are permanently in agri-food companies.

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