As someone whose Christmas dinner won’t be just any Christmas dinner [this reference may be lost on all ex-UK diners, so apologies. Ed.], relying as I do on liberal assistance from a leading UK food retailer, by way of this blog, I’m passing on my thanks for the tireless work that goes on behind the scenes in our global food chain to make my Christmas just a little bit easier. Many years ago, I was working in our international sales department and happened to be visiting customers in Thailand. It was while working in this role that I learned that Thailand is a major player in the global food industry and, indeed, while I was in Thailand, I visited a poultry production site of an international company with a well-known UK brand name. So, what strikes me now as I consider the complexity (and convenience) of the products in my shopping basket is not just the expertise that goes into bringing all these ingredients together and taste delicious, but also the phenomenal effort that goes into making sure that they end up safely on my plate on the 25th December. Food safety is an area that many consumers appear take for granted and the fact that they do must be due to a high degree of confidence in retail products and the relative rarity of major outbreaks; for the most part, food manufacturers do a very good job in ensuring that their products are safe to eat. Make no mistake, outbreaks associated with food contamination are devastating for those affected and, with our increasingly global food chain, are incredibly difficult to track and manage witness the outbreak of E. coli O104 in 2011 that claimed over 40 lives and took several weeks (and a few international political incidents) to finally resolve. So, there is always room for improvement and we in Thermo Fisher Scientific are committed to being part of the solution by bringing the same degree of expertise, innovation and convenience to food safety testing methods as the food manufacturers themselves – not least to ensure that I can have a very merry (and convenient) Christmas. Thanks and happy holidays to all who make it possible. Ali Ball Ali is VP R&D and Business Development for the Thermo Scientific Microbiology Division. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.