The other side of Modern Food Trends

Richard Willis

As a child I remember Kool Aid dill pickles, gooey Carmel corn mixed with cheddar cheese popcorn, hockey puck sized sweet tarts, crispy chicken gizzards and frog’s legs, and fresh from the factory potato chips with 5 cents worth of hot sauce. These could be purchased in the neighborhood corner store or street side food stand. Ok sometimes the products were left out awhile, or the pickle juice was a little cloudy, or the hot sauce bottle was constantly refilled without sanitizing after each customer use, but not a single person ever got sick nor did someone try to intentionally adulterate the contents. But the times they are a changing.

Modern food trends are creating many safety challenges, and food safety specialists must be prepared to respond. Food safety and experts and consumers alike must anticipate future trends when navigating the changes to food safety practices that their companies must implement. Food safety professionals and savvy consumers also must use food trends as a compass to influence food safety thereby protecting their interests and in support of entrepreneurs protecting their brand.

Case in point; restaurants where hydroponic wall gardens have been installed in the dining room.This system like many new concepts, primarily used to grow herbs and leafy greens, looks like beautiful living wall art to the guest, but is it safe to use as a menu item? (Kramer & Fasone,2017)

Consider watching how guests behave around ready to eat greens and herbs to later become the balsamic marinated watermelon and toasted pepitos mixed-greens salad. Patrons will be visibly moved stimulated by over the color combinations on the wall that created a piece of living modern art. Then it happened. They had to touch, smell, and pet and fondle the garden up close; not realizing that their sensory experience was soon to become part of a course for dinner. The excited patrons simply needed to examined it and verify if they were really live plants or just silk reproductions. Given this scenario what else customers might do to those leafy greens on the wall. How easy it would be for someone to spray or place an unknown substance on the produceor in the soil or water, contaminating the root system. (Kramer & Fasone, 2017)

Food delivery by Uber, Yellow Cab and other travel service providers is a hot trend for consumers who don’t want to cook at home and are craving their favorite restaurant’s menu items. The consumer orders the food through the travel service. The driver picks up the takeout order from the restaurant, places it in his trunk for safe keeping where he also happens to store the rodenticide he was intending to place in his cellar later that weekend, and delivers it to the customer's door. Who is responsible for the condition, temperature and quality, and safety of the food once it leaves the restaurant? What is the chain of custody? Is the food protected from intentional contamination causing harm to the end customer? (Kramer & Fasone, 2017)

The challenge presents an opportunity for collaboration among professionals and consumers all working together to educate, communicate and establish operating principles which ensure the brand is protected and the consumer has assurances that they can indeed anticipate safety quality food as well as creative and inviting new ways to keep them coming back for more.

Kramer, G. R., & Fasone, V. (2017, January). Food Safety. Retrieved September 5, 2017, from Consumer Food Trends Create Food Safety Challenges for the Food service Industry: 2017/consumer-food- trends-create-food- safety-challenges- for-the- foodservice-industry/

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