Food scandals and food safety prevention
It seems that every month there is a food scandal or fraud in some place in the world, and the incidents shock and scare, and effect consumer confidence negatively.
China is constantly making headlines regarding food safety scandals – like the 2008 scandal involving infant formula that was contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine that killed six babies and left 300,000 sick.
Can anyone forget the glow-in-the-dark pork contaminated by a phosphorescent bacteriaor the fact that 10 per cent of rice sold in China is contaminated with heavy metals, or rat meat passed off as lamb?
Just last week 23 pupils at primary school in India, died from food poisoning after eating free school lunches that had been cooked with oil stored in a container formerly used for insecticides.
Even Europe and the U.S., who are considered first world countries with the highest standard of living and and have consumer protection laws and supposedly stringent regulations, have also had their fair share of food scandals.
The horsemeat scandal at the beginning of the year in the UK and Ireland and then spread to thirteen other countries with foods advertised as beef, but were found to contain undeclared horse or pig meat.
A recent study by Oceana revealed that instead of buying seafood labeled snapper or tuna people were actually getting less quality fish, and every nation has had theiroutbreaks of food poisoning caused by salmonella or e.coli.
Consumers may feel helpless against food scandals, but they also wield an enormous amount of power, because they can boycott products and send a company’s profits spiraling downwards.
The only way to prevent frauds and cross contamination is to increase quality control inspections and transparent traceability all along the food chain, starting from the original producer to production, processing and including distribution, but also how food is finally prepared has its importance.
These steps can be done only if the proper mechanisms are in place and there is also the importance of using reliable technology, that companies like Mettler Toledo http://uk.mt.com/gb/en/home/products/Product-Inspection_1.html who can provide equipment for inspecting the food and beverage cycle and product contamination detection technology.