AIB International: “Everyone Deserves Safe Food!”

AIB International is celebrating 100 years in 2019. On this occasion, we have delved into food safety practices and putting know-how to use, together with the organization. Here is a century’s worth of understanding the science behind baking.

In the days of clean and clear label claims, of products free from an extensive list of ingredients that can potentially trigger allergies, it is important to gain insights into food safety to navigate these trends. Founded in 1919, AIB International has a unique perspective of how the baking industry has developed its standards and how it continues to evolve.

Bacteria, viruses, and parasites can pose a serious risk if strict food hygiene procedures are not followed. “Thankfully, in the last 100 years, technology has allowed us to understand the importance of sourcing, storing and treating our food correctly prior to consumption. Technology has played a significant role in providing the food safety industry with the equipment to dry, cool, freeze, and heat our food to reduce and avoid the risk of food spoilage. While it has provided more automated, mechanical food safety solutions, people are still at the core of good food safety practices,” the organization weighs in.

The past 100 years have seen significant changes to all aspects of food safety practices and Quality Management Systems. “At the turn of the 20th century, we were starting to understand the risks associated with poor food hygiene and how food safety quality practices would play a vital role in the identification and management of new and existing food safety challenges,” the organization tells Asia Pacific Baker & Biscuit.

“AIB International has dedicated the past 100 years to not only developing and inspecting against our consolidated Food Safety Standards, but we’ve also trained generations of food safety personnel at all levels in how to improve their food safety programs. Every single person does make a difference in food safety practices and programs if properly trained to do so,” the specialists explain.

“Everyone deserves safe food!”, stresses the organization. Food quality has greatly improved over the past 20 years, with the further introduction of many new global food safety and quality management audit schemes. Although these schemes are not food safety inspections, they do play a significant role in food safety compliance. “AIB international has embraced these new food safety audits and combined them with our unique rigorous food safety inspections and training, to continue supporting our clients as they challenge their own food safety issues. We do this by providing practical solutions and creating a positive food safety culture.”

The Task List

AIB International comprises an international team of inspectors, trainers, bakers, and scientists that offer food quality and safety, and baking technical services across the world. “We provide online and in-person training, certification, inspections and consulting. A recent development has been our Embed an Expert service, where we provide temporary, on-site technical expert assignments to help clients solve unique problems. We’ve seen great traction for this service,” they tell us.

For research and product development solutions, AIB benefits from a century of experience and insight it can draw on, with expertise in bread, cakes, and biscuits, including a laminating/sheeting line. In this respect, their services include Bakery Technical Assistance and Food Labeling Services.

Challenges and Support

To help ensure food safety guidelines are met, AIB International provides free baking process kill step calculators for bakers to validate the effectiveness of this control step, available for download. These calculators are customized for products and make up a growing list that includes muffins, crispy cookies, cheesecake, flour tortillas, fruit-filled pastry, hamburger buns, soft cookies, whole wheat multi-grain bread, and yeast-raised doughnuts. “We also provide kill step validation consulting to ensure accurate inputs and data logging into the calculator,” we learned. AIB International can also provide support on sanitation and allergen control.

Some challenges in the American baking industry, include, in the association’s view:

  • Increasing regulatory complexity that requires up-to-date knowledge and the ability to interpret food safety and labeling regulations to ensure product compliance.
  • Rapid changes in the international market impacting commodity availability, transport, and price.
  • Availability and retention of experienced baking personnel. As a large portion of the baking industry nears retirement, and fewer young professionals are entering the field, this is leading to a skills gap across the industry. AIB International has found that companies successful in narrowing this skills gap approach training strategically from a corporate level to rapidly provide learning opportunities to substantial groups of personnel within their organization from procurement to R&D to production staff. This facilitates a rapid increase in knowledge and application skills across regions and facilities.

A Timeline in Baking

AIB International was originally founded as the American Institute of Baking at the end of World War I to address wheat and labor shortages and the surge in demand for commercially produced bread. 100 years later, the association celebrates its work with the world’s top F&B companies to advance the safety and quality of food; AIB International’s history is closely connected to the last century’s worth of industry dynamics, which is evident in many of the organization’s developments in response to an industry need.

AIB International looked to the next hundred years with a new brand launch and provided a glimpse into its future training solutions. “AIB International has been a trusted food safety ally for the past 100 years,” said Andre Biane, president and CEO of AIB International, at the GFSI Conference Nice, in France. “Our new brand is a refresh, but also demonstrates that we are focused and committed more than ever to our clients’ quest to deliver safe, delicious products to every consumer every day.”

You can read more in our print magazine Asia Pacific Baker & Biscuit (Summer 2019)!

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