Module 5: Food Safety Precautions

Combating Foodborne Illnesses

Consumer Side

The FDA lists seven steps for consumers to take while shopping in order to prevent the contraction of foodborne illnesses:

More broadly, the USDA gives the following suggestions for proper food handling at all stages:

 

Bacterial contamination made visible(3)
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Food Producer/Preparer Side

Food safety begins with the food producers and farmers involved in agricultural production. Producers should use appropriate types and levels of pesticides, fertilizers, and veterinary drugs. Retailers must ensure proper food handling at all stages of transport and delivery. According to a 2002-03 study, 65% of foodborne illness outbreaks in restaurants in the United States were caused by direct transmission from an infected employee. Thus, food service companies must train employees to understand the causes of foodborne illness and the best practices for avoiding contamination, such as not handling food when infected, washing hands properly, and not touching food to be served with bare hands.(4)

Food Safety Regulation Programs

The WHO recognizes that traditional food safety measures have not efficiently prevented foodborne diseases in recent years. The WHO therefore aims to reduce the burden of foodborne illness through systematic applications of risk analysis, with the principal goal: “To reduce the health and social burden of foodborne disease.”(5)

The “WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety” specifically calls for the following approaches, many of which are interconnected:

 

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is an example of an internationally recognized method of food safety assurance. Conceived by the Pillsbury Company, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the US Army Laboratories to ensure the safety of astronauts’ food, the HACCP system has been implemented internationally. The seven principles of the HACCP system are:

 

In addition to systems and policies, there are many national and international organizations designed to ensure food safety. Some of these programs include:

Footnotes

(1) FDA. "Start at the Store: 7 Ways to Prevent Foodborne Illness." www.fda.gov. US Food and Drug Administration, 13 May 2008. Web. 22 May 2012.

(2) United States Department of Agriculture. Food Safety and Inspection Service. Food Safety and Food Security: What Consumers Need to Know. 2003. Print.

(3) Geneva. World Health Organization. Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses and Foodborne Diseases Sustainable Development and Healthy Environments. WHO Consultation to Develop a Strategy to Estimate the Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases. France: WHO, 2007. Print.

(4) FDA. "Food Service Employee Health and Hygiene Matters." www.fda.gov. US Food and Drug Administration, May 2007. Web. 23 May 2012.

(5) World Health Organization. Food Safety Department. WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety : Safer Food for Better Health. By WHO. 2002. Print.

(6) FAO. "HAZARD ANALYSIS AND CRITICAL CONTROLPOINT (HACCP) SYSTEM AND GUIDELINES FOR ITS APPLICATION." Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) System and Guidelines for Its Application. Agriculture and Consumer Protection. Web. 23 May 2012.

(7) WHO. "About the WHO Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses." www.who.int. World Health Organization. Web. 23 May 2012.

(8) WHO. "The International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN)." www.who.int. World Health Organization, 1 Dec. 2010. Web. 23 May 2012.

(9) CDC. "Global Health Programs: Global Foodborne Infections Network." www.cdc.gov. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Apr. 2011. Web. 23 May 2012.

(10) WHO. "Objectives." www.who.int. World Health Organization, 11 Jan. 2012. Web. 23 May 2012.

(11) CDC. "Global Health Programs: Global Foodborne Infections Network." www.cdc.gov. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Apr. 2011. Web. 23 May 2012.