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7th June is World Food Safety Day
Food safety is a global concern that includes various different areas of our daily life. Safe and nutritious food in sufficient amounts is crucial to sustaining life and promoting good health. Hazardous food contaminated with e.g. harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances can cause more than 200 different diseases – ranging from diarrhea to cancers. According to the WHO, around the world, an estimated 600 million (almost 1 in 10 people) fall ill after eating contaminated food each year, resulting in 420 000 deaths and the loss of 33 million healthy life years (DALYs).Proper food processing, handling, preparing and storing are the key factors safe food. Thus reducing the risk of people becoming sick from foodborne illnesses or suffering from allergic reactions for instance. Food safety pursues the objective of preventing food from contamination and causing food poising and other health issues.
This can be accomplished through a variety of possibilities, such as:
- Proper cleaning and sanitization of surfaces, equipment and utensils
- High level of personal hygiene, especially hand-washing
- Correct storing, chilling and heating of food relating to temperature, environment and equipment
- Employing effective pest control
- Comprehending food allergies, food poisoning and food intolerance
The persistence of food pathogens and viruses in ingredients and foods has a major impact on the food supply and food safety. Constantly, there are food recalls and outbreaks because of foods contaminated with pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria and Norovirus.
With the traditional microbiological detection method requiring enrichment in culture media for several days, the analysis procedure often delays production processes. As a faster alternative, qPCR tests that provide results within 24 hours are becoming increasingly important. This molecular biological method is not only highly specific but also very easy to perform when using for example the SureFast® Speed PREP (Art. No. F1054) protocol.
Prevalence of food allergies around the world is believed to be increasing. There is currently no cure for food allergies. Thus, the only successful method to manage a food allergy is avoidance of all foods containing the allergen. Thorough risk management and mandatory product labelling for the key food allergens are crucial for food safety matters. Moreover, recurring recalls of foods with undeclared allergens highlight the importance of allergen testing and detection.