LRQA [LR] recently spoke at the Dubai International Food Safety Conference [DIFSC], which took place in Dubai on 19th-21st November 2017. The event, which is now in its eleventh year, attracts 2,500 key stakeholders from 90 countries spanning the food and beverage industry together with IT companies, regulatory bodies - including local governments - and the royal family.
Vincent Doumeizel, LRQA's Vice President Food and Beverage presented on the future of food audits and how innovation will enable a better food supply chain. “There are many challenges facing the food supply chain including food fraud, emerging pathogens and growing consumer expectations,” said Doumeizel. “At LRQA, we have long recognised that digitalisation can support this key area – from individual farmers through to global food brands - and we are investing in new technologies to support the many thousands of customers’ that we support in the food sector alone.”
Doumeizel also spoke about the innovative work that is being done by LRQA through their charitable arm, the LRQA Foundation [LRF]. “The LRF agreed a £500k grant to the world leading food sciences institution, Wageningen University and Research [WUR], to support the Safe production Of Marine plants and use of Ocean Space,” explained Doumeizel. The project, which was developed jointly by LRQA, the Foundation and WUR, is the first project targeted at the food sector to be funded by the Foundation.
“Most organisations do something to make money but at LRQA, we are different; we make money to do something. The aim of this project is to develop a safety assessment and controls for multiple simultaneous uses of maritime space to enable the safe creation of energy sources and food at sea in the form of aquatic algae - mostly through seaweeds,” explained Doumeizel. “Given that the United Nations - along with 160 countries - has stated that food is not a commodity, it is a right, we need to ensure that we have enough food to feed the expanding world population and to do that, we need to address alternative and sustainable sources.”
Along with the repeated theme of sustainability over the course of the event, it was evident that organisations worldwide are proclaiming their commitment to having a strategic focus on being technologically enabled and agile. This means that assurance providers are at the forefront of embracing new technologies such as LRQA's announcement last year of the adoption of the greenfence™ platform technology to facilitate the development of digital assurance services. In addition, LRQA recently announced their expansion into FMCG certification with AuditOne™ approval.
In the digital economy, platform ecosystems are nothing less than the foundation for new value creation. They offer unrivalled potential for connectability, scalability and interoperability of existing databases, schemes and systems and also for the future development and enhancement of assurance services across all industry sectors.
With the theme of this year’s conference being “Predict, Prevent & Protect,” Doumeizel’s focus on innovation was timely with DIFSC exploring some of the trending topics to address the opportunities and challenges in the emerging technology and data-driven food safety world.
“It was an honour to be asked to speak at DIFSC,” said Doumeizel. “Over the three days of the event, many opportunities and ideas were explored; as an early adopter of technology-based solutions, we are delighted to see how the food industry is adopting these new innovations. In addition we applaud how governments are driving the value of independent assurance and technology in relation to food safety, nutrition and other areas of public health.”
Along with their sustainability work via the LRF, LRQA believes that face of assurance is changing; as Doumeizel explained, “As we move forward, we will see the blending of conventional assessment with digital monitoring and audit solutions that will enable the delivery of real-time assurance and insight, moving from a retrospective focus to predictive insight, from what went wrong to what could go wrong.”
Please note that as of January 2018, we have moved to the LRQA brand and retired the LRQA name.