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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.

News Archive

Kovsies to celebrate excellence at 2014 December Graduation Ceremony
2014-12-02

 

Live streaming: http://apps.ufs.ac.za/ufslivestreaming/ 

On Thursday 11 December 2014, the University of the Free State (UFS) will award degrees and qualifications during our Summer Graduation Ceremony at the Bloemfontein Campus.

The graduation will take place during two ceremonies in the Callie Human Centre, where master’s and PhD degrees will be awarded during the first ceremony at 09:30. Diplomas, certificates and undergraduate qualifications will be awarded to students from the School of Open Learning and the Faculty of Health Sciences at 14:30.

Radio personality, Redi Thlabi, and cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Susan Vosloo, will address the graduates.

Apart from her radio show on 702 and CapeTalk, Thlabi has also hosted local television news shows and anchored for international broadcasters like SKY and the BBC. In addition, she has presented two of her own TV shows: ‘Redi’ on Mzansi Magic and ‘South to North’ on Al-Jazeera.

Her first book, Endings and Beginnings (Jacana) received popular acclaim and is currently being turned into a screenplay for a movie.

Dr Susan Vosloo, a Kovsie alumnus, graduated in 1980. She completed her internship in Pretoria and spent the following year in Critical Care Medicine at Universitas Hospital, Bloemfontein, before starting her surgical training in Johannesburg.

She is currently in independent private practice at the Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town, having also worked from 1998 – 2012 at the Vincent Pallotti Hospital in the same city.

Dr Vosloo maintains close ties with our university and has quite a number of addition roles to that of surgeon:

• member of the Council of the UFS;
• UFS Council Representative in the Senate;
• member of the Standing Advisory Committee of the School of Medicine, UFS;
• member of the Provincial Department of Health;
• Africa representative for the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society; and
• founding member of the World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery.

Prof Boelie Wessels will also be awarded his 10th academic degree from the UFS since 1974. Adding his Honorary Doctorate degree to the list, it will make this his 11th degree. Prof Wessels is 84 years old and has 18-plus academic qualifications from various institutions – a phenomenal achievement.

Furthermore, Moses Lubinga and his wife, Stellah, will be the first married couple to be awarded their PhDs at the same graduation ceremony at the UFS. Mr Lubinga will receive his Doctorate in Agricultural Economics, while Mrs Lubinga’s PhD is in the field of Economic and Management Sciences.

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