Module 5: Food Safety Precautions

Combating Foodborne Illnesses

Consumer Side

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the consumers take the following steps while shopping to avoid  foodborne illnesses:

More broadly, the United States Department of Agriculture (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 World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that traditional food safety measures have not effectively 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, the 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." (November 24, 2017) https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm094535.htm. Accessed on 18 September 2018.

(2) USDA. Food Safety and Inspection Service. Food Safety and Food Security: What Consumers Need to Know. 2003. Print.

(3) WHO 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. "Employee Health and Personal Hygiene Handbook.” https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection//UCM194575.pdf. Accessed on 18 September 2018.

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

(6) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (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. http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/Y1579E/y1579e03.htm. Accessed on 18 September 2018.

(7) WHO. "About the WHO Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses." http://www.who.int/foodsafety/about/en/. Accessed on 18 September 2018.

(8) FAO. “Early Warning and INFOSAN.”http://www.fao.org/food/food-safety-quality/empres-food-safety/early-warning/en/. Accessed on 18 September 2018.

(9) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Global Foodborne Infections Network." (January 2011) https://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dfwed/pdfs/gfn.pdf. Accessed on 18 September 2018.

(10) WHO. "Global Foodborne Infections Network (GFN)." http://www.who.int/gfn/supported/en/. Accessed on 18 September 2018.

(11) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Global Foodborne Infections Network." (January 2011) https://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dfwed/pdfs/gfn.pdf. Accessed on 24 September 2018.