Our family loves traditional gatherings celebrated around overloaded lunch tables with every imaginable dish prepared and shared to suit our individual tastes, including my niece’s latest vegan obsession running in tandem to her allergy to peanuts.
A recent food poisoning catastrophe which nearly ended in a family fatality brought my relationship to food safety sharply into focus. It took me on a journey of discovery in food safety throughout the processing and manufacturing food chain.
What I discovered is that we all share a great responsibility towards food safety, especially during the packaging, transportation, storage, cleaning, preparation, cooking and serving of food.
Your Daily Dose
Why do we have food safety regulations? Let’s look at some persuasive answers:
1 Food Safety Regulations benefit a country’s Rule of Law
Setting food safety standards and regulations for the benefit of the food industry and its consumers ensures industry compliance and provides recourse to the rule of law should a disaster occur. The 1996 outbreak of Mad Cow Disease in England and its human contracted variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease still plagues the UK blood donor supply industry today.
2 Food Safety Regulations benefit the prevention of Disease and Death
Food poisoning and other food borne contamination of bacterial, viral or parasitic agents can lead to gastroenteritis, dehydration and other more serious health problems such as kidney failure and death. No one wants to put our life at risk every time we lift a fork or spoon to our mouth.
3 Food Safety Regulations benefit against Food Contamination
Humans can get sick from food that is not processed under strict food safety regulations. For example, Escherichia coli (E. coli) can be caused by beef contaminated with feces during slaughter, unpasteurized milk and apple cider, alfalfa sprouts and contaminated water.
4 Food Safety Regulations benefit Industry Standards
Food safety regulations are required to be standardized for compliance throughout each step of the food chain from production, storage and distribution, to sale and service of the consumer and must include regulations for receiving, re-packing, food storage, preparation and cooking, cooling and re-heating, displaying products, handling products when serving customers, packaging, cleaning and sanitising, pest control, transport and delivery.
5 Food Safety Regulations benefit informed Behaviours and Decisions
Not only processes must be managed for food safety regulation, people must be managed for teamwork and efficiency too. For example, issues occur when restaurants try to minimise food wastage or a large shopping centre puts refrozen chicken onto the shelves.
6 Food Safety Regulations benefit the Transportation Industry
Proper food storage delivers best food quality by retaining flavor, colour, texture and nutrients and reduces the onset of food-borne bacteria. It is also impacted by the time required to move it from farm, to shop, to our homes and depends whether food is perishable (meat, eggs, fruit, vegetables), semi-perishable (grains, dry mixes) or non-perishable (sugar, canned goods) and how they are handled and transported.
7 Food Safety Regulations benefit the Packaging Industry
Packaging is not only about appealing design so the consumer will make a purchasing decision. It protects food products from physical damage, minimises food waste, reduces the amount of preservatives used in food and provides labelling for nutritional and allergy information and the products ‘sell by’ date.
8 Food Safety Regulations manage correct Food Storage
Food poisoning bacteria multiply at pace when high risk foods are not maintained at temperatures below 5 °C or above 60 °C or when raw and cooked foods are not stored separately. Multiple factors can impact this principle, including national energy disruptions to refrigeration supply as outlined by ASC Solutions and where there are inadequate backup systems in place.
9 Food Safety Regulations control Food Preparation
Food safety can be compromised just by one person not correctly washing their hands after using the toilet or not cleaning their workstation adequately. Regular monitoring of food safety regulations of manufacturers, processors and packagers ensures against disasters occurring such as the deadly listeriosis outbreak reported by News 24 that killed more than 180 South Africans in 2018 from contaminated processed meats by one of South Africa’s largest packaged foods company.
10 Food Safety Regulations benefit the management of our Daily Health
Management of food processing staff it vital to bring education, understanding of quality standards and the reduction of risk to our daily health. As the world becomes more informed about food safety so a populations health and longevity increase, decreasing operating costs within the medical industry.
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Written by Mercédes Westbrook