Articles on health and science matters that affect our daily lives

The Importance of NSF Certification in Food and Beverage Service

For a company to be successful in the food industry, trust between the company and the customer is essential. Any business can serve food, but the customer needs a certain amount of assurance that the food will be healthy, fresh and safe to eat. One of the ways for a food business to gain legitimacy is to receive a certification from the NSF. Businesses like Dure Foods are NSF certified because it is an important step in becoming established as trustworthy and professional.

What is NSF?

NSF, or National Sanitation Foundation is an organization built to set clear health standards for food products and companies that serve food. If you see an NSF label on the products of a company, it means that company is NSF approved. NSF approval means that the food and materials to make food are up to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) standards, passed any necessary safety tests, have accurate labelling and are guaranteed to be free of any dangerous chemicals. The NSF product check is done by health and safety professionals in over 180 countries.

Why an NSF approved co-packer is important

While a NSF approval is not mandatory for a food company, it represents a mark of legitimacy in terms of up to date safety regulations and commitment to the health of customers. It’s also very easy to be aware of; just looking at any food service product and finding an NSF label will tell you that the company has been verified by health and safety professionals. Just visiting the NSF website can allow you to search a food company to see if it is NSF approved, so getting the information is easy.

Getting certified by the NSF is also quite a difficult process for companies to go through. It requires steps such as lab testing, sampling of products and inspection of the area the food is made. It is also expensive, one test from the NSF can cost $1,500 or more. Since the process requires so much work on the part of the company, it goes to show just how important approval from NSF is. Companies like Dure Foods go through this process because they understand the importance of being officially labelled as safe for customers. NSF approval is important for co-packers because that label will give customers clear proof that the service they are purchasing can be trusted.

If you are looking to get involved with an NSF approved co-packer, give Dure Foods a call. We would love to talk to you about your project and see if it is a beneficial fit for both of us.

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How Will Coronavirus Impact the Food Chain?

How Will Coronavirus Impact the Food Chain?

Make no mistake, there will be ripples felt in the food supply chain as the waves of the current pandemic settle. But what can we expect?

It’s a fact, people have to eat. At the time of this writing, the North American food supply chain is more or less intact. There are no obvious signs of shortage, other than the inexplicable absence of toilet paper and perhaps some low cost food staples such as pasta.

It would seem the call for calm and assurances that there’s plenty of supply has not eased consumer anxiety over the potential of their favourite perishable and non-perishable brands disappearing from the shelves.

In our time of “social distancing”, having the cupboard and fridge filled with our food favourites may become critical. We may have to make critical decisions as to what’s really important. We will be double-thinking  gluten-free, sodium-free, dairy-free, no sugar added, plant-based meat, vegan, non-GMO, or rain forest alliance certified products. Not that they aren’t essential to some dietary needs, but for most of us they’re more like “nice to have”.

The largest food brands have been struggling in recent years to maintain their share position. It’s going to be extremely challenging for large corporate-directed food manufacturers to place more stress on their businesses by quickly filling orders and pushing supply-chains to deliver.

Those who are marginal in the best of times will probably not survive, regardless of size. The next four to six critical weeks will shake out the dust leaving a clean slate for those with the foresight, and the resources to fill the gap.

Beyond having an exceptional logistical strategy, the most critical element in order fulfillment is keeping reliable and skilled labor in place. The connection for all supply-chain elements working effectively is people. Maintaining a healthy supply chain labor force is now critical.

Walmart, Amazon, and a host of other companies, particularly in delivery services, have announced they’re hiring thousands.

Ultimately, forecasting has been a critical tool in keeping the supply-chains intact. COVID-19 has tested even the most sophisticated forecasting technology.

Consumers will quickly tire of all the rice, pasta, beans and canned goods they’ve hoarded. We will eventually miss having our favourite indulgences and begin replenishing.

In adding up the variables and thinking through the classic “Bull Whip” forecasting theory, no one it seems has connected the unprecedented dots that make up the whiplash that’s coming.

With respect to those who supply the food chain, what we can predict with relative certainty is increased agility, transparency, and broad contingency plans.

Data on consumer trends, demands and behaviours must be shared – leveraging purchase power through holding back proprietary data won’t serve the industry. Solutions like innovative sharing hubs will build a stronger food ecosystem for everyone.

What happens if man of our food manufacturers, suppliers, and restaurants close for good? Is this the new age of home cooking with an alternative set of cupboard staples? Or an opportunity for entrepreneurs to step in and take advantage of the landscape. Or both?

One thing is for certain though, people gotta eat. What they pull off the shelves and how it got there will be an interesting matter of history.