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25 June 2020 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Supplied
Prof Arno Hugo recently participated in a session on food with integrity during a webinar by the Integra Trust, where he presented a lecture focusing on the importance of food traceability and the information communicated to the consumer.

In the complete process between farm and fork, consumers are looking for someone to hold accountable if their animal welfare, product quality, and product safety expectations are not met.

On World Sustainable Gastronomy Day earlier this month (18 June 2020), Prof Arno Hugo from the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology’s Food Science division at the University of the Free State (UFS) participated in a webinar by the Integra Trust, titled Heal the Land, Heal the People.

The Integra Trust was established to advance climate-smart sustainable and regenerative agriculture. It values the production, distribution, and utilisation of food with integrity in order to heal the land and the people.

Integra Trust strives to promote agriculture that has a limited footprint on the environment.

Prof Hugo’s lecture during the session on food with integrity, focused on the importance of the traceability of food and the information communicated to the consumer. 

Physical and emotional connectedness to farm and the producer
According to him, modern consumers want to know where their food comes from and want to be physically and emotionally connected to the farm and the producer. In the case of meat, for example, they want to know if the meat they buy is ethically produced and whether the animal was treated in a humane manner during the slaughter process. They also want a guarantee that the food they buy is free of harmful substances.

Prof Hugo states: “The consumer’s need for origin-based food is now playing out in a variety of ways, as food processors and retailers are labelling their products according to the origin of the product. One way of achieving this, is through a good traceability system.”

In his presentation, he focused on traceability from a meat industry perspective.

“Thus, in a good traceability system, a product on the store shelf can easily be traced back to the farmer and the farm where the food was originally produced. In modern traceability systems, it is even possible for the consumer to take the product in the store to a scanner that can read the ‘barcode’ and then showing a photo of the farmer and the name and location of the farm where it was produced,” explains Prof Hugo.

Food traceability important from food safety point of view
“Despite the consumer’s emotional need to connect with the farm and the producer, food traceability is also extremely important from a food security and food safety point of view,” he adds.

Although in its simplest form, it is a comprehensive process of keeping record of suppliers and customers in order to allow reconstruction of the product chain in case of need, it is doable. “In Europe, some 25 million cattle per year are now slaughtered with full traceability. The challenge of providing a secure form of identity through this process, is therefore a formidable one. This is achieved with the use of modern technologies such as Blockchain and DNA technology,” explains Prof Hugo. 

Joining him in the session on food with integrity were, among others, Errieda du Toit, chef, food writer, and culinary commentator (talking about perceptions in terms of difference between fast food and story food, asking if it is driven by social media) and Christiaan Campbell, chef and food consultant (talking about achieving synergy and communication between producer and consumer via the food value chain). Steven Barnard of Farmer Kidz presented a session focused on the younger generation, focusing on why it is important to connect children with food production.

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Main Entrance at our Bloemfontein Campus now officially open
2011-08-12

 

Kovsies architectural student, Michael Cronjé, at the Main Entrance of our university. Cronjé came up with the design for the Main Entrance.
Photo: Rian Horn

Vice-Chancellor and Rector of our university, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, said the new Main Entrance is a proud legacy to the university.

This colourful Main Entrance was officially opened by the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof. Jonathan Jansen,  on 8 August 2011 after construction had started earlier this year.

Prof. Jansen told the small group of people who attended the event that the gate symbolised a university where things were happening, a university which was transforming academically. It also symbolises the brand of the university that was launched earlier this year.

Prof. Jansen praised Kovsies architectural student, Michael Cronjé, who proposed the design for the Main Entrance. He told the fourth-year student that his children would be proud of his legacy to the university one day.

Cronjé designed the Main Entrance in his third year of study as part of a class competition. The architectural student’s design was developed further by The Roodt Partnership architectural firm. Cronjé says that his design with seven colourful columns symbolises the seven faculties of the university.

 

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