The nasty business of foodborne illness is unfortunately a reality, even in the most advanced society. With global food demands meeting the exponential growth of our population, food production is a massive, convoluted industry. Ultimately, while the food industry has evolved, the risks of foodborne disease are much the same, on a far greater scale.
An interplay of factors can easily cause the growth of dangerous bacteria which is why food safety is so important. Food safety is paramount in a world where produce can become contaminated at any point during its production, dissemination and preparation. Each phase of the production chain has a role to play to ensure the food we eat does not cause illnesses. This is where the importance of traceability in food safety is most significant. Accountability and early detection in food contamination is paramount.
Here are 9 food safety facts that go a long way to empowering the consumer:
- More than 200 diseases are spread through food. Although most foodborne illnesses can be prevented by proper food preparation 420 000 people die each year as a result of eating contaminated food.
- Contaminated food can cause long term health complications. Not only can contaminated food cause short term health problems but produce contaminated with heavy metals or certain natural toxins can cause cancer and neurological disorders.
- Foodborne diseases affect the vulnerable more severely. Groups such as children, pregnant women and the elderly people far more severely affected by foodborne illness.
- There are numerous aspects of food production that can cause contamination. With aspects such as on farm production, slaughtering/harvesting, processing, storage and transport before it ever reaches the consumer. The risks are high intrinsically high.
- Globalisation makes food safety more complex. With food production and trade on a global scale the food chain has become longer. Ultimately more complicated networks make it more difficult to manage food safety.
- Food contamination has knock on implications for the economy and society. The far-reaching effects of food contamination can be felt on many levels. The public health implications and in turn economic implications for exports, tourism and development are massive in instances of food contamination.
- Harmful bacteria are becoming drug resistant. The growing global concerns over drug resistant bacteria can have devastating implications which is why traceability in supply chins is so important.
- Everybody has a role to play in keeping food safe. Food safety is the shared responsibility of governments, industry, producers, academia and consumers. Each facet of this system plays a pivotal role in food safety efforts.
- Consumers should be aware of food safety practices. Knowing best practices for food preparation and selection is key. Knowledge about risky food behaviours and paying attention to food labelling is an important facet of food safety.
As a result of the above-mentioned factors, food safety is paramount in the production chain. Food traceability is a hugely important factor in food safety. It provides the “safety of net” of preparedness, response, recovery and prevention and allows the consumer easy access to most facets of the food production process. From a food safety standpoint, traceability can mean the difference between life and death. If you are looking for food safety software solutions or for more information on the protein value chain click here.