Is transparent food better?

Transparency is one of those words like collaboration that gets thrown around a lot but is meaningless in that it can mean anything.

I want to know if food is microbiologically safe and see the data to supports claims of safety. That’s transparent to me.

transparent.salmonFor the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI), supported by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), it means “exposing it all when it comes to key sustainability and environmental data.”

“Truth is an essential ingredient of healthy change. Transparency not only accelerates change, it also helps drive it in a productive direction,” said Avrim Lazar, Principle Consultant to the Global Salmon Initiative.

“We all know that we need to accelerate the pace of change if we are going to provide a sustainable diet for the 9 billion people. At the GSI, we have made transparency at the global, regional and company level one of the pillars of our drive to significantly improve sustainability. Our experience has been that by the letting the sun in, it opens the doors to rapid progress,” Lazar added.

The Global Salmon Initiative is a leadership group of 12 global farmed salmon companies who are committed to improving the sustainability of their operations and providing a healthy and sustainable product. The GSI group has recently published their second annual Sustainability Report which features data across 14 key sustainability and environmental indicators, for all 12 member companies across the past 3 years. The report is available on the GSI website.

About that micro data …

Location is no substitute for food safety data

An after-effect of outbreaks of foodborne illness is the geographic segmentation of counties and countries such as, ‘my spinach doesn’t come from California so it’s safe,’ or my melons aren’t from Colorado so they’re safe.

This is a logical consumer rationalization in the absence of actual information; it’s not like people can buy food on the basis of microbiological safety. reports that Ohio retailer Heinen’s Fine Foods has become the first retailer in the country to use third-party verification for sourcing and labeling meats. The chain partnered with Integrated Management Information, Inc. (IMI Global) to launch the WhereFoodComesFrom labeling program, designed to give customers more information about the source and origin of Heinen’s Own beef and pork products.

“The program helps us to provide our customers information about the source of our beef and pork products and lets consumers learn firsthand about where, how and by whom their food was raised,” Tom Heinen said in a press release.

The program incorporates a quick response (QR) bar code that allows consumers using a smart phone to scan the product and quickly access detailed information about the product’s origins.
“We’ve been offering verification services to farmers and ranchers for food marketing claims for 15 years and WhereFoodComesFrom is our effort to connect that program with the consumers who are looking for information about the food they buy,” said Leann Saunders, president of IMI Global.

I don’t care where food comes from, whether it’s around the corner or around the globe: I care that it is microbiologically safe.