skip to main content

Food Safety

Food Safety Articles

Food Safety
Regulatory agencies
Consumer labelling
  • What is 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.
    In theory food poisoning is 100% preventable.
    The five key principles of food hygiene are

    1. Prevent contaminating food with pathogens spreading from people, pets, and pests.
    2. Separate raw and cooked foods to prevent contaminating the cooked foods.
    3. Cook foods for the appropriate length of time and at the appropriate temperature to kill pathogens.
    4. Store food at the proper temperature.
    5. Use safe water and raw materials

    What is ISO 22000?

    ISO 22000 is a standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization dealing with food safety.
    This is a general derivative of ISO 9000.ISO 22000 standard: The ISO 22000 international standard specifies the requirements for a food safety management system that involves interactive communication, system management, prerequisite programs, HACCP principles.


    A 2003 World Health Organization (WHO) report concluded that about 40% of reported food poisoning outbreaks in the WHO European Region occur in private homes.
    According to the WHO and CDC, in the USA alone, annually, there are 76 million cases of foodborne illness leading to 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths.
  • Australia

    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. 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 legislation, consumers are pleased that industry will be forced to take food safety seriously.


    Food safety is a growing concern in Chinese agriculture. The Chinese government oversees agricultural production as well as the manufacture of food packaging, containers, chemical additives, drug production, and business regulation.
    In recent years, the Chinese government attempted to consolidate food regulation with the creation of the State Food and Drug Administration in 2003, and officials have also been under increasing public and international pressure to solve food safety problems.
    However, it appears that regulations are not well known by the trade. Labels used for "green" food, "organic" food and "pollution-free" food are not well recognized by traders and many are unclear about their meaning.
    A survey by the World Bank found that supermarket managers had difficulty in obtaining produce that met safety requirements and found that a high percentage of produce did not comply with established standards.
    Traditional marketing systems, whether in China or the rest of Asia, presently provide little motivation or incentive for individual farmers to make improvements to either quality or safety as their produce tends to get grouped together with standard products as it progresses through the marketing channel.
    Direct linkages between farmer groups and traders or ultimate buyers, such as supermarkets, can help avoid this problem. Governments need to improve the condition of many markets through upgrading management and reinvesting market fees in physical infrastructure.
    Wholesale markets need to investigate the feasibility of developing separate sections to handle fruits and vegetables that meet defined safety and quality standards.

    European Union

    The parliament of the European Union (EU) makes legislation in the form of directives and regulations, many of which are mandatory for member states and which therefore must be incorporated into individual countries' national legislation.
    As a very large organisation that exists to remove barriers to trade between member states, and into which individual member states have only a proportional influence, the outcome is often seen as an excessively bureaucratic one size fits all approach.
    However, in relation to food safety the tendency to err on the side of maximum protection for the consumer may be seen as a positive benefit. The EU parliament is informed on food safety matters by the European Food Safety Authority.
    Individual member states may also have other legislation and controls in respect of food safety, provided that they do not prevent trade with other states, and can differ considerably in their internal structures and approaches to the regulatory control of food safety.


    The Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) is a Federal Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany. History: Founded as Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Foresting in 1949, this name did not change until 2001.
    Then the name changed to Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture. At the 22nd of November 2005, the name got changed again to its current state: Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection.
    The reason for this last change was that all the resorts should get equal ranking which was achieved by sorting the resorts alphabetically.
    Vision: A balanced and healthy diet with safe food, distinct consumer rights and consumer information for various areas of life, and a strong and sustainable agriculture as well as perspectives for our rural areas are important goals of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV).
    The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety is under the control of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. It exercises several duties, with which it contributes to safer food and thereby intensifies health-based consumer protection in Germany.
    Food can be manufactured and sold within Germany without a special permission, as long as it does not cause any damage on consumers health and meets the general standards set by the legislation.
    However, manufacturers, carriers, importers and retailers are responsible for the food they pass into circulation. They are obliged to ensure and document the safety and quality of their food with the use of in-house control mechanisms.

    Manufacturing control

    HACCP guidelines
    The UK Food Standards Agency publishes recommendations as part of its Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points ( HACCP ) programme. The relevant guidelines 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"

    Note that recommended cooking conditions are only appropriate if initial bacterial numbers in the uncooked food are small. Cooking does not overcome poor hygiene.
  • 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.
    EHO Food Hygiene certification is required to prepare and distribute food. While there is no specified expiry date of such a qualification the changes in legislation it is suggested to update every five years.
    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 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 sometimes provided by producers in stating display until dates so that products are not at their limit of safe consumption on the actual date stated (this latter is voluntary and not subject to regulatory control).
    This allows for the variability in production, storage and display methods.

    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 labelled with a Sell by date, 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.

    Australia and New Zealand

    Guide to Food Labelling and Other Information Requirements: This guide provides background information on the general labelling requirements in the Code.
    The information in this guide applies both to food for retail sale and to food for catering purposes.
    Foods for catering purposes means those foods for use in restaurants, canteens, schools, caterers or self-catering institutions, where food is offered for immediate consumption.
    Labelling and information requirements in the new Code apply both to food sold or prepared for sale in Australia and New Zealand and food imported into Australia and New Zealand.
    Warning and Advisory Declarations, Ingredient Labelling, Date Marking, Nutrition Information Requirements, Legibility Requirements for Food Labels, Percentage Labelling, Information Requirements for Foods Exempt from Bearing a Label.

    Issues associated with sell by / use by dates

    According to the UK's Waste & Resources Action Programme, 33% percent of all food produced is wasted along the chill chain or at the consumer.
    At the same time, a large number of people get sick every year due to spoiled food.

    UK government to replace sell by / use by dates?

    According to the UK minister Hilary Benn the use by date and sell by dates are old technologies that are out-dated and should be replaced by other solutions or disposed of altogether.
  • References

    2. ^Satin, M., Food Alert: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Food Safety, Facts on File, Inc., September 2008, 2nd ed.
    3. ^I. A. Shiklomanov, Appraisal and Assessment of World Water Resources, Water International 25(1): 1132, 2000
    4. ^WHO | Prevention of foodborne disease: Five keys to safer food. Retrieved on 2010-12-10.
    6. ^WHO | Food safety and foodborne illness. Retrieved on 2010-12-10.
    7. ^World Bank and China Agriculture Press. 2005. [2] Chinas Compliance with Food Safety Requirements for Fruits and Vegetables: Promoting Food Safety, Competitiveness, and Poverty Reduction.
    8. ^Andrew W. Shepherd, 2006. [3] Quality and safety in the traditional horticultural marketing chains of Asia. FAO, Rome
    9. ^"German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection".
    10. ^Mazhar Siraj, 2004,, Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan.
    11. ^"Korea Food & Drug Administration".
    12. ^"Feb 14 IFOAM Accr list.pdf".
    13. ^"Foods Import Report Guide".
    14. ^"National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation".
    15. ^Becker, Geoffrey, The Federal Food Safety System: A primer, Congressional Research Service, 4/10/10
    16. ^"FDA Food Code". Food and Drug Administration. 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
    17. ^"GAO-07-449T, Federal Oversight of Food Safety" (PDF).
    18. ^"FSIS Testimony, March 11, 2009" (PDF).
    19. ^Reuters, 14 September 2010, "Industry Has Sway Over Food Safety System: U.S. Study," free archived version at:
    20. ^"FSIS State Inspection Programs".
    21. ^"USDA Allowed State Meat Inspection Programs To Operate Even After Finding Cutting Boards Contaminated With Old Meat And Soot-Like Residues On Swine Carcasses." (PDF).
    22. ^"State Health Department announces test results: Match genetic fingerprints to E. coli outbreak, Press Release, ben 0987, 8765.".
    23. ^"CDHS Education Training Unit". .
    24. ^"Pesticides and food: How we test for safety. California Department of Pesticide Regulation, June 2003." (PDF).
    25. ^"New York Restaurant Inspection Information".
    26. ^"NYC Health Dept. Launches Restaurant Cleanliness Certificate".
    27. ^"A Guide to Food Safety Practices in Virginia Restaurants".
    31. ^[5] 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."
    34. ^"Expiration, Use-by, and Sell-by Dates, Part 1: Expiration dating is not federally required on all products".
    35. ^"Expiration, Use-by, and Sell-by Dates, Part 2: Deciphering food expiration codes can be tricky.".
    36. ^[ "Overview of Food Labelling Guide to Food Labelling and Other Information Requirements"].
    37. ^"Warning and Advisory Statements and Declarations User Guide to Standard 1.2.3 Mandatory Warning and Advisory Statements and Declarations". . Retrieved 15 September 2010.
    38. ^[ "Reducing food waste through the chill chain"].
    39. ^Shields, Rachel (2009-06-07). "Kitchen bin war: tackling the food waste mountain". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2010-05-02.
    41. ^Codex Alimentarius. "Codex Alimentarius and Food Hygiene". Retrieved 15 October 2007.
Food safety

What Else We Do

This is the Portal

portal image

Click here to access