As the importance of food safety and quality continues to be top of mind for many food manufacturing and processing companies, more and more thought must to go into quality assurance and the accompanying certifications and standards.

This was the theme of this year’s SQF International Conference in Dallas last week. The year’s hot button issues, compliance with government regulations and the SQF Code, were discussed in a series of keynotes, breakout sessions and peer-to-peer discussions as well as at the exhibit hall, where over 50 companies demonstrated their quality-related products.

JustFood’s fully integrated business software and quality functionality resonated with conference attendees – both current customers and new contacts. The ability to set up mandatory quality audits and checks from pre-receipt of materials all the way to output and shipment directly within the JustFood software had companies committed to initiatives like SQF and HACCP interested in how the platform could work for them.

One of the prominent trends that was discussed throughout the Conference was food fraud and how the issue relates to compliance with SQF, FSMA and GFSI. Because of the new prerequisite in Edition 8 of the SQF Code that requires suppliers to document, implement and maintain a food fraud vulnerability assessment and mitigation plan, the ability to detect and prevent food fraud was top of mind. JustFood drew considerable interest on this topic because of its intelligent lot tracking capability and perpetual inventory reporting that ensures food processors know where, when and why ingredients and products are (or aren’t) where they should be.

As always, allergen labelling also remained an important topic throughout the conference, with allergen recall reduction, certification and labelling management being the most prominent issues. Scott Hegenbert, Manager of Scientific Affairs at Conagra Brands, Inc., spoke about allergen recalls and explained that when it comes to developing strategies to reduce allergen recalls, suppliers and processors typically focus on addressing cross-contact issues instead of mislabeling, which represents a greater overall percentage of food allergen recalls. Additionally, discussions around the use of precautionary advisory labels (PALs) and allergen threshold guidance provided insight into consumer purchasing behaviour and consumer perspective.

This was JustFood’s first time attending the SQF International Conference as an exhibitor. The show floor was full of energy and passion for food safety and food quality and the peer-to-peer discussions and thought-provoking keynotes were of great value to attendees and exhibitors alike.

JustFood is committed to working alongside food safety professionals to ensure the safety and quality of food products throughout the industry.