Two environmental health practitioners have seen an astonishing 25,000 downloads after creating an app to fight future food recalls, such as the horse meat scandal and subsequent company closures.
Emer Murphy and Michael O’Rourke are graduates of Environmental Health from Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) in Ireland.
They created the app, Safe Food Healthy Business, to educate and raise awareness of good food hygiene practices for people working within the industry.
Food hygiene cutbacks
Murphy, who has worked as a food safety consultant for over five years, told FoodQualityNews.com they created the app after a high number of food business closures in Ireland and worldwide food alerts.
“Due to the recession there is a lack of food hygiene training also there are cutbacks in staff meaning issues such as cleaning and record keeping are below standard,” he said.
“We think the app has been popular because it provides information at your fingertips and is generically applicable worldwide.
“It can used for food handlers and also cooking at home. Another reason for its popularity is consumers are interested in food safety due to high profile food alerts such as the horse meat scandal. Consumers want to know what they are eating and if it is safe.”
There were a total of 143 enforcement orders served for breaches in food safety legislation in Ireland in 2013 compared with 109 in 2012, an increase of 31% making it the highest to date for the number of notices issued, according to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
Improve the design
In December 2013, 11 closure orders were served on food businesses for breaches in food safety legislation pursuant to the FSAI Act, 1998 and the EC (Official Control of Foodstuffs) Regulations, 2010.
The horse meat scandal came to light on January 15, 2013, when it was reported that horse DNA had been discovered in frozen beef burgers sold in several Irish and British supermarkets.
Murphy said the app took six months to complete and has so far been well received.
“Our future plans are to improve the design, increase our presence on social media and ensure food businesses worldwide are using 'Safe Food Healthy Business',” he added.
“We utilise social networking to promote food safety worldwide and of emerging food safety issues.
“Our social networking following and contacts have risen to over 8,000 people between Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.”
Users can download the app for free in the apple App Store.