Food safety

Food safety

Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards. Food can transmit disease from person to person as well as serve as a growth medium for bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Debates on genetic food safety include such issues as impact of genetically modified food on health of further generations and genetic pollution of environment, which can destroy natural biological diversity. In developed countries there are intricate standards for food preparation, whereas in lesser developed countries the main issue is simply the availability of adequate safe water, which is usually a critical item. [I. A. Shiklomanov, "Appraisal and Assessment of World Water Resources", Water International 25(1): 11-32, 2000]

Regulatory agencies

United Kingdom

HACCP guidelines

The UK Food Standards Agency [ [ Food Standards Agency - Homepage ] ] publishes recommendations as part of its Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) programme. The relevant guidelines at [] state that:

"Cooking food until the CORE TEMPERATURE is 75 °C or above will ensure that harmful bacteria are destroyed. However, lower cooking temperatures are acceptable provided that the CORE TEMPERATURE is maintained for a specified period of time as follows :
* 60 °C for a minimum of 45 minutes
* 65 °C for a minimum of 10 minutes
* 70 °C for a minimum of 2 minutes"

UK Department Of Health

Previous guidance from a leaflet produced by the UK Department Of Health “Handling Cooked Meats Safely A Ten Point Plan” also allowed for:

*"75 °C for a minimum of 30 seconds
* 80 °C for a minimum of 6 seconds"
as well as the above. Secondary references for the above may be found at:
* []
* []
* [] This document states that: "This publication may be freely reproduced, except for advertising, endorsement or likely that, in the interests of good customer relations they will be commercial purposes. Please acknowledge the source as Wigan Council Community Protection Department."
* []
* []

Note that recommended cooking conditions are only appropriate if initial bacterial numbers in the uncooked food are small. Cooking does not overcome poor hygiene.


Australian Food Authority is working toward ensuring that all food businesses implement food safety systems to ensure food is safe to consume in a bid to halt the increasing incidence of food poisoning, this includes basic food safety training for at least one person in each business.Smart business operators know that basic food safety training improves the bottom line, staff take more pride in their work; there is less waste; and customers can have more confidence in the food they consume.Food Safety training in units of competence from a relevant training package, must be delivered by a Registered Training Organization (RTO) to enable staff to be issued with a nationally-recognised unit of competency code on their certificate. Generally this training can be completed in less than one day.Training options are available to suit the needs of everyone. Training may be carried out in-house for a group, in a public class, via correspondence or online. (To find Food Safety Training available search Google or contact the local Health Department )Basic Food Safety Training includes:• Understanding the hazards associated with the main types of food and the conditions to prevent the growth of bacteria which can cause food poisoning• The problems associated with product packaging such as leaks in vacuum packs, damage to packaging or pest infestation, as well as problems and diseases spread by pests.• Safe Food handling. This includes safe procedures for each process such as receiving, re-packing, food storage, preparation and cooking, cooling and re-heating, displaying products, handling products when serving customers, packaging, cleaning and sanitizing, pest control, transport and delivery. Also the causes of cross contamination.• Catering for customers who are particularly at risk of food-borne illness, including allergies and intolerance.• Correct cleaning and sanitizing procedures, cleaning products and their correct use, and the storage of cleaning items such as brushes, mops and cloths.• Personal hygiene, hand washing, illness, and protective clothing.

People responsible for serving unsafe food can be liable for heavy fines under this new leglislation, consumers are pleased that industry will be forced to take food safety seriously.

United States

Federal-level regulation

The Food and Drug Administration publishes the Food Code, a model set of guidelines and procedures that assists food control jurisdictions by providing a scientifically sound technical and legal basis for regulating the retail and food service industries, including restaurants, grocery stores and institutional foodservice providers such as nursing homes. Regulatory agencies at all levels of government in the United States use the FDA Food Code to develop or update food safety rules in their jurisdictions that are consistent with national food regulatory policy. According to the FDA, 48 of 56 states and territories, representing 79% of the U.S. population, have adopted food codes patterned after one of the five versions of the Food Code, beginning with the 1993 edition.cite web |url= |title=FDA Food Code |author= |publisher=Food and Drug Administration |date=2007-10-05 |accessdate=2008-09-01 |quote=]

In the United States, federal regulations governing food safety are fragmented and complicated, according to a February 2007 report from the Government Accountability Office. [ [ GAO-07-449T, Federal Oversight of Food Safety] ] There are 15 agencies sharing oversight responsibilities in the food safety system, although the two primary agencies are the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is responsible for the safety of meat, poultry, and processed egg products, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible for virtually all other foods.

tate and local regulation

A number of states have their own meat inspection programs that substitute for USDA inspection for meats that are sold only in-state. [ [ State Meat Inspection Programs.] ] Certain state programs have been criticized for undue leniency to bad practices. [ [ USDA Allowed State Meat Inspection Programs To Operate Even After Finding Cutting Boards Contaminated With Old Meat And Soot-Like Residues On Swine Carcasses.] ]

However, other state food safety programs supplement, rather than replace, Federal inspections, generally with the goal of increasing consumer confidence in the state's produce. For example, state health departments have a role in investigating outbreaks of food-borne disease bacteria, as in the case of the 2006 outbreak of "E.coli" O157:H7 from processed spinach. [ [ State Health Department announces test results: Match genetic fingerprints to E. coli outbreak, Press Release, October 12, 2006.] ] Health departments also promote better food processing practices to eliminate these threats. [ [ CDHS Education Training Unit] ]

In addition to the US Food and Drug Administration, several states that are major producers of fresh fruits and vegetables (including California, Arizona and Florida) have their own state programs to test produce for pesticide residues. [ [ Pesticides and food: How we test for safety. California Department of Pesticide Regulation, June 2003.] ]

Restaurants and other retail food establishments fall under state law and are regulated by state or local health departments. Typically these regulations require official inspections of specific design features, best food-handling practices, and certification of food handlers. [ [ New York Restaurant Inspection Information] ] In some places a letter grade or numerical score must be prominently posted following each inspection. [ [ NYC Health Dept. Launches Restaurant Cleanliness Certificate] ] In some localities inspection deficiencies and remedial action are posted on the Internet. [ [ A Guide to Food Safety Practices in Virginia Restaurants] ]

Consumer labeling

United Kingdom

Food stuffs in the UK have one of two labels to indicate the nature of the deterioration of the product and any subsequent health issues:

Best before indicates a future date beyond which the food product "may" lose quality in terms of taste or texture amongst others, but does not imply any serious health problems if food is consumed beyond this date (within reasonable limits).

Use by/Display Until indicates a legal date beyond which it is not permissible to sell a food product (usually one that deteriorates fairly rapidly after production) due to the potential serious nature of consumption of pathogens. Leeway is provided by producers in stating "use by" dates so that products are not at their limit of safe consumption on the actual date stated. This allows for the variability in production, storage and display

United States

With the exception of infant formula and baby foods which must be withdrawn by their expiration date, Federal law does not require expiration dates. For all other foods, except dairy products in some states, freshness dating is strictly voluntary on the part of manufacturers. In response to consumer demand, perishable foods are typically labeled with a Sell by date. [ [ Expiration, Use-by, and Sell-by Dates, Part 1: Expiration dating is not federally required on all products] ] It is up to the consumer to decide how long after the Sell by date a package is usable. Other common dating statements are Best if used by, Use-by date, Expiration date, Guaranteed fresh , and Pack date. [ [ Expiration, Use-by, and Sell-by Dates, Part 2: Deciphering food expiration codes can be tricky.] ]

Codex Alimentaurius

In 2003, the WHO and FAO published the Codex Alimentarius which serves as a guideline to food safety cite web
last = Codex Alimentarius
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Codex Alimentarius and Food Hygiene
work =
publisher =
date =
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate = 15 October
accessyear = 2007
] .

ee also

* Animal feed
* Biological hazard
* Biosecurity
* Blast chilling
* Codex Alimentarius
* Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
* Conference for Food Protection
* Critical Control Point
* Domestic technology
* Environmental Health Specialist
* Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan
* Food and cooking hygiene
* Food contaminants
* Food irradiation
* Food preservation
* Food microbiology
* Food labeling regulations
* Food quality
* Food Safety Network
* Food safety in China
* Food security
* Foodborne illness
* Foodservice management
* Food Standards Agency (in the UK)
* Food Supply and Distribution Systems
* Food Testing Strips

* Food Chemicals Codex - food raw materials
* Foodcopeia - including finished food products
* Good Agricultural Practices
* Good Manufacturing Practice
* Good Safety Practice
* Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points
* Health mark
* Indoor air quality
* ISO 2037
* ISO 7002
* ISO 9001
* ISO 9309
* ISO 22000
* ISO 22005
* ISO 14001
* Laws related to food safety
** Australia New Zealand [ Food Standards Code]
** US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
** US Food and Drugs Act
** US Food Quality Protection Act
** US Meat Inspection Act
** US Pure Food and Drug Act

* Organisations related to food safety
** Advisory committee on the microbiological safety of food
** Canadian Food Inspection Agency
** Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
** European Food Safety Authority
** Food and Drug Administration
*** Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
** Food and Agriculture Organization
** Food Safety and Inspection Service
** Food Standards Agency
** Food Standards Australia New Zealand
** Health Canada
** International Association for Food Protection
** International Life Sciences Institute
** Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)
** National Food Safety and Quality Service
** NSW Food Authority, Australia
** State Food and Drug Administration
** Under Secretary for Food Safety
* Packaging and labelling
* Public health
* Potentially Hazardous Food
* Restaurant rating
* Sanitation
* Street food
* Water law
* Water quality
* Water safety plan
* Water supply
* Zoonotic pathogens


Further reading

* "Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety", ISSN: 1541-4337 (electronic) 1541-4337 (paper), Blackwell Publishing
* "Food Control", ISSN: 0956-7135, Elsevier
* "Food and Chemical Toxicology", ISSN: 0278-6915, Elsevier
* "Food Policy", ISSN: 0306-9192, Elsevier
* "Journal of Food Protection", ISSN 0362-028X, International Association for Food Protection
* "Journal of Food Safety", ISSN: 1745-4565 (electronic) ISSN: 0149-6085 (paper), Blackwell Publishing
* "Journal of Foodservice", ISSN: 1745-4506 (electronic) ISSN: 1748-0140 (paper), Blackwell Publishing
* "Sensing and Instrumentation for Food Quality and Safety", ISSN: 1932-9954 (electronic) ISSN: 1932-7587 (paper), Springer
* "Internet Journal of Food Safety", ISSN: 1930-0670, International Association for Food Safety/Quality

External links

* [ Food Safety info from]
* [ ICS 27.200 Refrigerating technology] - A series of ISO standards
* [ ICS 67.050 General methods of tests and analysis for food products]
* [ ICS 67.260 Plants and equipment for the food industry]
* [ ICS 97.130.20 Commercial refrigerating appliances] - catering containers, and materials and articles in contact with drinking water
* [ ISO 67.250 Materials and articles in contact with foodstuffs]
* [ ISO 67.020 Processes in the food industry] - food hygiene and food safety
* [ FQcode - Enhancing Food Safety to the produce industry]
* [ JECFA - Monographs & Evaluations]
* [ VeriPrime Food Safety Alliance New Food Safety System]
* [ Foodborne illness information pages] , NSW Food Authority
* []
* []
* []
* []
* []
* []
* [ Food Hygiene Certificate rules in the UK]
* [ What you should know about food safety] University of Florida's Solutions For Your Life
* [ Safer Food Better Business - practical food safety for small caterers and retailers] developed by the U.K. Food Standards Agency
* [ Protect yourself from food-borne illness] article from Consumer Reports
* [ Institute of Food Research]
* [ Food Safety Insider]
* [ Chilled Food Association]
* [ National Food Research Institute (NFRI) Food Safety Division]
* [ ServSafe Food Safety Program]
* [ Food Safety Network]
* [ Food Safety Information Center at the USDA National Agricultural Library]
* [ Food Safety Discussion Forum]
* [ Food Safety : It's in Your Hands] also available [ En Español]
* [ Food Safety Day]
* [ Center for Food Safety Engineering - Purdue University]
* [ The Royal Institute of Public Health]
* [ Food Hygiene Training]
* [ Food Safety and Food Hygiene Regulations]
* [ UK Food Hygiene Regulations Act 2006]
* [ Food Safety Discussion Forum]

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