Through the activities of the thematic university network TUNEQA, students from Mexico have visited Spain and Germany and met members of EQA. Diana Stephany Garcia Garcia (24) and Pedro Arrianga Lorenzo (24) are studying engineering in agronomy at Universidad Autonoma Champingo Texcoco de Mora, Mexico. In this interview they talk about their motivation to learn more about quality management and what they find important in this field of industry.
Prof. Dr. Brigitte Petersen, Diana Stephany Garcia Garcia, Pedro Arrianga Lorenzo and Prof. Dr. Emma Maldonado
EQAsce: Hallo and welcome to Europe. On your trip here you get a view on the different parts of food production and you meet researchers from this field of science. In your studies what is your concentration?
Diana: My Master is about Animal Science but I am investigating food waste in Mexican households. Through my work I am trying to understand why and how people through their food away. I seek to understand the whole problem and to develop and propose some solutions. And I want to become a researcher in this field. I might work for organizations that work on food waste and food management or programs related to it and to the environmental impact.
Pedro: Well, I am working on the cold chain of supermarkets. That is about all components and parts of the chain but the focus is on the end of the chain in supermarkets. The temperature for meat must be 4C° for the whole cold chain of meat. And I have been investigating all important components at supermarkets in the area of Texcoco de Mora. The regulation in Mexico states that this temperature is what meat needs to have. I try to find the way to put up a plan for managing the temperature in supermarkets. Later I want to do audits for some time. And one day I am going to do research in this area of cold chain management.
EQAsce: You are becoming a quality system manager junior – is this a helpful thing for your career plans?
Pedro: It is very important for my field of interest. There are a lot of components that could be a danger to health – in many products. There could be a danger to health or to the environment through waste. For example, if meat has salmonella, that is very dangerous. Quality management is of high importance.
Diana: I like this field of investigation, because that’s one of the best ways to have the most efficient use of food. If we have a good quality management process, we waste less food. In the end there is more food for people. I think this is useful and we should work on that (quality) more, to have more sustainability.
EQAsce: Right now, you are visiting Europe, do you see differences in the meaning of quality for the agri and food sector in Europe compared to Mexico?
Diana: I think that in Europe they understand more of the meaning of quality. I think they know more of what they want in the quality of products. The consumer is more awake for what he can ask from the industry. In Mexico people think that they just need to be okay with the products they are getting. One of the main reasons for that might be the income level. If you can pay more for your food, you can ask for better quality.
Pedro: There is a difference because in Europe the people have more knowledge about quality of products. In Mexico people don’t know enough about the quality. They need more information for all people. Information is very short. People don’t read enough to know about quality, and it is important to teach them.
EQAsce: What special field is the one that is of highest interest to you? What do you think is very important for you personally?
Pedro: Food Safety is very important, because it is the bigger topic including many things that we need to learn. I would go for that in my studies as well. And: Hygiene and Health. The management of the people that work at the supermarkets – they need to know about hygiene.
Diana: In general Crisis and Risk Management is very important. People need to know what to do and how to manage the situation if something goes wrong. For me the special field of Food Safety is interesting: It includes fighting against food waste.