Food safety is essential for everybody, but a HACCP system has its price. What if were possible to reduce costs with a free plan already developed by professionals? This is the proposal of the Open Source Food Safety Initiative.
With the rise of shared economy coupled with an increasingly connected world, “open-source” has been gaining momentum. The term is little known outside the sphere of technology, where it refers to the development of hardware and software codes that can be freely used by anyone and distributed under free licenses.
Who said that it can not be found also in food?
This is why the Open Source Food Safety initiative was started. The aim is to make food safety information publicly available, free and easy.
The production of safe food is still challenging for the food industry. HACCPs are essentially procedural documents that explain a producer’s food and health security plans. They contain detailed information on how the company will operate and keep levels of contaminants under control in your product. Many companies hire consultants for not being able to work out a plan on their own, and this cost may be prohibitive for small-scale producers.
The initiative is from the Underground Food Collective in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) and the Sarapis Foundation. It all started when Jonny Hunter, co-founder of Underground Meats, part of the Collective, needed to implement HACCP in its production of handmade salamis to get the necessary certification and market their products in the country. He saw an opportunity to share his knowledge and all material developed, after all, if he had this difficulty, other producers probably would too.
The project began with a crowdfunding campaign on the Kickstarter platform in 2014 and raised almost $ 50,000. Up to now, the initiative have helped more than 20 companies with their HACCP plans, thus reducing the cost of starting a business and generating an estimated savings of $ 250,000.
The work does not stop there, on their website it is possible to share your files with the group, comment and correct the existing plans. You can adapt the material for your own business. And even better, there are plans for other segments besides the cured meat products, which was initially developed.
Next steps include providing guides on food safety regulation with step-by-step videos documenting the HACCP plans’ validation and verification process, interviews with food scientists, articles addressing the difficulties faced by small businesses, and a forum for discussion of Food safety issues.
The open source debate is far from the end, but the more we make that information transparent and we share it, the more we empower the emerging food economy and enhance food safety.