Global Incident Alert Networks Working Group
Prof. Dr. Chin-Kun Wang, M.D.
Dr. Veslemøy Andersen
Sampling of food for safety is in most countries less than 1%. The chances of government agencies finding serious food safety incidents before there are victims consequently are very small. Usually people find out first, thus when it is too late.
Employees working in the food industry may know and some are most likely to know about incidents before the product is put on the market. Employees, however, often do not dare to report the incident because of the potential consequences, such as losing their job or demotion.
The objective of the WG is developing an anonymous system to limit the consequences of dangerous chemicals added to food or the presence of pathogenic microorganisms in food. The system is intended to enable employees to report such incidents that otherwise would not be reported fully anonymously - hence to effectively protect whistle-blowers.
Two projects have been set up:
- Global Incident Alert Network for Unauthorized Food Additives (GIANUFA)
- Global Incident Alert Network for Pathogens in Food (GIANPIF)
A whistle-blower can report anonymously via an easy-to-find and well-known webpage.
The site needs a reporting form with questions to obtain as many as possible details. The questions have to be answered as complete as possible, because there will be no possibility to ask the anonymous whistle-blower later. The whistle-blower needs to realise that his case can only be addressed with sufficient details.
Using the GHI network, with emphasis on GHI Ambassadors, GHI will check if the report is real or only meant to harm the company.
If real and serious, the GHI Office will alert the local National Public Health Institute(s) who then have to handle the incident further.
The reason that the GHI Office and not a local GHI Ambassador or a local GHI Member would inform the authorities is to avoid exposing anybody to unnecessary risks of retaliation.