The food products we eat need to undergo numerous assessments and evaluations before they reach our fridges and our body, for that matter. If we consume food which is not proper or healthy, we might develop certain illnesses. Thus, we need to know how to store food properly and use it timely, avoiding any unwanted side effects.
What is Food Safety?
Food safety is a branch of science, being involved in handling, preparing and storing food in ways which keep it safe and healthy for consumption. There are numerous routines which need to be applied and carried out in order for food to be safe from harmful microorganisms which can trigger food poisoning and some other health problems.
Currently, the main issues regarding food safety encompass the field of genetic modification of food and exposure of food to various pollutants which surround us. Usually, developed countries have a more functional food safety service, while poor and developing countries tend to lack this important scientific discipline. In fact, some countries are desperately trying to find water which is safe for consumption and cannot yet evolve to a state of food safety to its full extent.
Nevertheless, when food safety programs are put to action successfully, food poisoning can be prevented in all cases.
Key Principles of the US Food System
The main goal of the US food system rests in its actions designed to prevent food contamination with pathogens coming from human, animal or pest sources. Secondly, raw and cooked foods need to be divided and kept that way, in order to prevent the contamination of the latter.
Speaking of cooked food, it needs to be properly prepared, by being exposed to heat and the cooking processes for the adequate amount of time and the proper temperature necessary for the extermination of dangerous microorganisms.
Also, the US food system gives its best to promote storing food at suitable temperatures and using safe water and raw materials when preparing or handling food.
There is a standard for food safety, called the ISO22000, noting all the necessary requirements that food needs to fulfill. It is related to production, management and many programs related to food.
The World Health Organization estimated that about 40% of all reported cases of European food poisoning takes place in private homes. On the other hand, in the US, 76 million of people suffer from some form of food poisoning every year. This state of affairs results in 325,000 hospitalizations and about 5,000 deaths every year.
Food Safety – The US Food System
As far as the US food system is concerned, it is a device being regulated by many different federal, state and local officials. Regardless of the fact that the US food system is one of the best on the planet, it still lacks many optimizations in terms of better organization, means of regulating and resources necessary for dealing with occurrences of food poisoning.
Speaking of the federal level of the food system in the US, the food code is published by the Food and Drug Administration, containing numerous rules and regulations related to food control, all of which are perfectly justified and explained scientifically and technically. This way, the federal branch can regulate food service industries like restaurants, stores and many other providers of food.
Statistically, since 1993, about 79% of the US population have accepted the food codes issues, living in 48 out of 52 states.
The federal food control system is a complex branch with many regulations and detailed legal characteristics. Basically, even though there are 15 different agencies which are involved in food control and the food system in general, two are the most important. These are the US Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service, being responsible for safety regulations of meat, poultry and processed egg products, and the FDA, which is short for Food and Drug Administration, being in charge of all other types and variants of food. The two are in charge of various forms of food quality and production control, as well as numerous other processes related to food, regardless whether the food is produced withing the borders of the US or imported from abroad.
Many states have their personal food control services, functioning on a local level. These usually focus on food which is only produced in their state. However, on this level, many irregularities and malpractices have been reported throughout the years. Moreover, in general, both the FDA and the FSIS are being targets of people who claim that they are keeping valuable information about food quality a secret.
All in all, the main purpose of all these services, and the whole complex system of US food safety is allowing people to consume and obtain food which has been produced and prepared while meeting the highest health standards. We all deserve to consume healthy food and live healthy lives, and the US food system is designed to allow this.