Sunday, May 24, 2015

The meaning of food safety

The term safe food represents different ideals to different audiences. Consumers, special interest groups, regulators, industry and academia will have their unique description based on their perspectives. According to Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) food safety is the assurance that food will not cause harm to the consumer when it is prepared and/or eaten according to its intended use.

Unsafe food contains hazards that can make people sick, either immediately or by increasing their risk of chronic disease.

Foodborne diseases are caused by a wide range of agents, with varying degrees of severity ranging from mild indisposition to chronic or life-threatening illness. Hazards that receive attention from policy makers include:
*Microbial pathogens - Microorganisms like Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter, or E. coli that occur naturally in animals humans or the environment can cause diarrhea and long term complications like kidney failure.

*Zoonotic diseases – Diseases like tuberculosis or brucellosis can be transmitted from animals to humans through food.

*Parasites – Intestinal worms afflict several hundred million people in developing countries; some are transmitted through contaminated water or food.

*Adulterant – Physical contaminates in food such as metal or glass, or other nonfood elements, such as rodent feces can pose a hazard.

*Mycotoxins – Naturally occurring on plants or in animal product when animal eat feeds containing mycotoxins. Mycotoxins increase the risk of cancer in humans.

*Antibiotic drug residues - When animal receives antibiotics drugs through feeds or improper treatment residues can occur in animal products. Some residents pose chronic risks, antibiotics used in animals is also alleged to contribute to the growing resistance of microorganisms to antibiotics.

*Pesticides residues - Result from pesticides used in production and distribution. Some residues increase the risk of cancer; others carry risks of neurochemical damage.

*Heavy metal – Enter food through the soil or water and can cause acute or chronic illness.

*GMOs – Genetically modified foods may contain allergens or toxins that are not found in conventional foods.

The food industry is responsible for ensuring that the food that it puts on the marketplace or that is served in food service establishments is safe, fit for human consumption and meets regularity requirements of the country where it is marketed.
The meaning of food safety

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