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Food Safety Problems Essay Example

Food usage rate patterns differ notably within a country and from country to country. Thus each and every country must analyse their own food usage rate patterns. Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handing, preparation, and storage of food in way that prevents food-borne illness. This encompasses a range of routines that should be adhered to avoid potentially severe health hazards.

Food Related Diseases

Consumers may encounter a number of potential food hazards in terms of their food choice decisions and consumption behaviour. Food can transmit disease from one person to anothe as well as serve as a growth medium for bacteria that can cause food poisoning (Miles et al. 2004).

Key global food safety concerns include:

  • spread of microbiological hazards;
  • food-borne illnesses caused by Salmonella;
  • food-borne illnesses caused by Escherichia coli;
  • food-borne illnesses caused by Campylobacter;
  • food-borne illnesses provoked by Listeria.

Annually, approximately 50 million Americans find themselves in a poor health condition because of consuming unsafe food. It results in more than 100,000 hospitalizations, 3,000 deaths, and innumerable days of missed work. There is one chance out of six that consumer will suffer from a food-borne illness in 2015 (European Food Safety Authority 2013). Food has to be a source of nourishment, not a potential exposure to bacteria that can make you sick such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, or E. coli. Unfortunately, the industrialized food system is dominated by a small number of large corporations that are producing food in more industrialized ways. The fallout of this system can sometimes be measured in sickness and even fatalities. Most food-related illness outbreaks are caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites (Havas & Salman 2011).

Food-Borne Illnesses

Salmonella is considered to be the most commonly diagnosed bacterial cause of food-borne infections in Europe and other industrialized countries including the ISA, Canada, and Australia (Falkenhost et al. 2012). Research findings on Salmonella have a lot of contradictions regarding the numbers of food-borne illnesses cases caused by the bacteria due to different areas of studies. Some of them were conducted worldwide, some estimated the cases in the United States only, and some were analysing the situation in the EU. However, two of them showed extremely different results for the same region. For instance, it was reported that Salmonella was a significant cause of food-borne illness in humans with 108 614 reported cases in the European Union in 2011, with farm animals also being affected. Food of animal origin is identified as being the main vehicle for transmission bacteria to humans (European Food Security Authority 2013). Another research, which has been conducted globally, depicts that Salmonella is one of the more common bacteria found in food that is responsible for 1.4 million cases of food-borne illness and 400 deaths annually. Moreover, Salmonella was found in products ranging from bologna to hazelnuts in 2013. Thus, medical costs and lost wages due to Salmonella poisoning have been estimated at over $1 billion a year (Gomes-Neves et al. 2011).

Another study has been conducted in the United States. It announced Salmonella as one of the leading causes of food-borne illness worldwide, with over 40,000 cases reported each year in the United States alone (Falkenhorst et al. 2012). Another research states that Salmonella causes an evaluated 1 million cases of locally gained food-borne illness in humans yearly in the United States. The numbers provided by two researches are extremely different. The research conducted by Havas & Salman (2011) during a number of years providing the results annually might be considered more accurate and precise. It was done in the Food-Borne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), which is an active population-based surveillance system for laboratory-confirmed infections. They contrasted FoodNet area of action with effortlessly gained information from additional supervision systems and with data of SE separation from processed egg products and chickens. However, shell eggs are not routinely tested. They also compared molecular subtyping patterns of SE isolated from humans and chickens. It was announced that within the period between 1996 and 1999, the incidence of human SE infection in FoodNet has increased by 44%. This change was mirrored in passive national surveillance data.

The greatest relative increases were in young children, older adults, and FoodNet sites in the southern part of theUnited States. The research also depicted that the proportion of patients with SE infection who reported recent international travel has decreased in recent years, whereas the proportion of chickens from which SE has been isolated has increased. The research shows that similar molecular subtypes of SE are commonly isolated from humans and chickens. Change in incidence was examined for age groups of <1, 1–4, 5–59, and ≥60 years. The changes in the proportion of persons who reported international travel, whose infections were reported to be associated with outbreaks, and who were hospitalized or died were also examined (Havas & Salman 2011). The last research on Salmonella enterica infection also states that the bacterium is a significant public health problem. The findings show that it is causing an estimated 1 million domestically acquired food-borne illnesses and approximately 350 deaths each year in the United States. The figures coincide in the last two researches.

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The last research conducted by Chai et al. (2012) has showed that Salmonella is responsible for an estimated 93.8 million illnesses and 155 000 deaths each year worldwide. Falkenhorst et al. (2012) conducted their research using the percentage rate without including numbers. The research has reported that non-typhoid salmonellae are estimated to be the leading cause of hospitalization and deaths attributable to the consumption of contaminated food causing 35% of such hospitalizations and 28% of such deaths in the USA. The last research was conducted in the EU only. The number of human salmonellosis cases reported in the EU decreased; this decline is a continuation of the significant declining trend observed since 2007. It is assumed that the observed reduction in salmonellosis cases is mainly a result of the successful Salmonella control programmes in poultry populations. The cases of Salmonella infection in poultry re announced to be declining. Salmonella in foodstuffs was mainly detected in meat and products thereof salmonellosis continued to decrease in 2012. A total of 97,897 salmonellosis cases were reported by the researchers in 2012. 95,548 confirmed cases were estimated in 2013. There was a 5.4 % decrease in confirmed cases compared to 2010. The highest notification rates in 2012 were reported in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Lithuania, while the lowest were reported in Portugal, Greece, and Romania. It should be noted that the proportion of travel-related cases was as usual very high in the Nordic countries, namely Finland, Sweden, and Norway (European Food Security Authority 2013).

These articles provide different information on various world regions. Some of them are contradictory in their findings. They have different approaches to the issue as some of them have been analysing the problem in comparison to the previous years in order to show the current strategy. Studies conducted by Chai et al. (2012) might be improved with the help of sero-incidence estimation and comparing of the incidence of salmonella infections in human populations independent of surveillance artefacts. In fact, the comparison of reported incidences between countries might be grossly misleading, even within the EU. Sero-incidence estimation may be a promising and cost-effective way to assess infection risks and evaluate the effectiveness of salmonella control programmes across countries or over the time. Nevertheless, all the researches concluded that Salmonella was the major bacteria causing food-borne illnesses globally.

The research conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (2013) states that another common global source of food-borne illness is E. coli. There are many strains of this bacterium, which is found in the intestinal tract of animals and in their waste. The European Food Safety Authority (2013), Falkenhorst et al. (2012), and Pachepsky at al. (2011) agree that a particular strain,such as E. coli 0157:H7 is particularly dangerous for humans. This pathogen has often been found in beef products but is now also showing up in fruits and vegetables, possibly as a result of produce coming into contact with manure or water containing E. coli. One worrisome trend that has been identified as a potential risk for spreading E. coli is the fact that major producers who try to lower costs with the help of a variety of beef sources in making ground beef and supplying the most cost-effective cuts of beef that are more probable to come in contact with faeces containing E. coli. E. coli contamination of beef is now commonplace including more than 200,000 pounds recalled in July 2013. This study suggests that E. coli O157:H12 was able to adapt to the sediment environment and thus increase the chances of its survival after re-inoculation (Pachepsky et al. 2011).

The research by the European Food Safety Authority (2013) was conducted in the EU only. It states that the number of cases of Esherichia coli also known as VTEC in humans has been increasing in the EU since 2008. In 2011, there was witnessed a rise of 2.6 times in analysed case numbers in comparison to 2010. This happened because of single vast food-borne outburst on a first-priority basis impacting Germany but with linked cases in 14 other countries and the United States. In cases where the serogroup was known, serogroup O157 was still the most commonly reported. In animals and food, findings of VTEC and serogroup O157 were most often reported from cattle and bovine meat, but the bacteria were also detected in some other animal species and food. In 2011, the general number of approved VTEC cases in the EU was 9,485. The data are based on 23 countries reporting at least one approved case and three others reporting zero cases. This represents an increase of 159.4 % compared to 2010. This large increase was the result of an outbreak starting in May 2011 caused by an enteroaggregative E. coli that affected more than 3,816 persons in Germany with linked cases in additional 15 countries (European Food Safety Authoruty 2013). Both studies provide common basic information regarding the food-borne illnesses caused by E. coli. Also, both studies state that the problem is very common and widespread, especially E. coli O157:H12. They are different in approaches as the first one addresses the item globally and the second concentrates on the UE only. However, the researches are not contradictory in terms of the data. Both of them present an opportunity for leading experts in the field of pathogenic E. coli to address the range of issues relating to these organisms. However, the researches might be improved by adding better direction methods and epidemiological investigations, which may help to control and reduce food-borne illness in the future.

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Campylobacteriosis is reported to be the second most commonly diagnosed bacterial cause of food-borne infections in the EU and the USA (Falkenhorst et al. 2012). Another research states that it has been the most commonly reported zoonosis with 220,209 confirmed human cases (Jensen et al. 2013). Moreover, the apparition of Campylobacter proceeded to be intensive in broiler meat at the EU level. In 2012, Campylobacter proceeded to be the major globally announced gastrointestinal bacterial pathogen in the EU since 2005. Such a strategy is reported currently worldwide (European Food Safety Authority 2013).

Domenech, Amoros & Escriche (2011) state that Listeria was seldom detected above the legal safety limit in ready-to-eat foods. The number of confirmed human listeriosis cases decreased to 1,476. In 2011, the EU reported 1,476 confirmed human cases of listeriosis. This represented a 7.8 % decrease as compared to 2010. The overall EU notification rate was 0.32 cases per 100,000 population with the highest country-specific notification rates observed in Denmark, Finland, and Spain. The lowest notification rates were reported in Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece. A total of 134 deaths due to listeriosis were reported by nineteen countries in 2011. Twelve of these countries experienced one or more fatal cases with France reporting the highest number, 46 cases. The EU fatality rate was 12.7 % among the 1,054 confirmed cases for which this information was reported (71.4 % of all confirmed cases) (European Food Safety Authority 2013). Another study, which was conducted in the USA, shows that the recall of food products contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes are on the rise due to federal regulatory agencies’ increased scrutiny of food processing plants. Each year, in the United States, Listeria causes approximately 2,500 cases of illness, which result in 500 deaths (by Cathering W. Donnelly 2012).

Human listeriosis is a relatively recent disease. The report by Havas & Salman (2011) provides the findings together with a historical outline of the food-borne illness. It states that L. monocytogenes has appeared in international prominence as a food-borne pathogen in 1985 following a large outbreak in the United States of America. The bacteria have always been present, but food production has changed, and with the increased availability and range of chilled, long shelf-life RTE foods, the risk of illness from L. monocytogenes is increasing. However, the data provided by the researchers do not contradict the previous one and estimate that the illness affects about 2500 Americans annually. However, the report accentuates the attention on the groups of people who are affected by the food-borne illness and provides the data on possible consequences of the illness. It is stated that Listeriosis most commonly is presented as an invasive illness with bacteremia or meningitis and has a case fatality rate of 20%. For example, during pregnancy, listeriosis may lead to preterm labor, fatal death, or germinating listeriosis in the newborn child (Shaffer 2009).

All the articles analysed have different approaches to the food safety issue concerning food-borne illnesses. A number of articles including the one conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (2013) and Falkenhorst et al. (2012) tried to analyse several issues in various countries. European Food Safety Authority (2013) analysed all four problems in the European Union. Falkenhorst at al. addressed both Salmonella and Campylobacteriosis. Some studies were conducted in the EU only (European Food Safety Authority 2013), while others were conducted in the USA (Havas & Salman 2011), and others studied the problem across the globe. Most of articles provide similar information concerning the history of food-borne illness and their affects on the environment and people in general (Jesen et al. 2013; Chai et al. 2012). They all provide the same arguments concerning food-borne illnesses. However, a number of articles presented contradictory findings in regards to data and case numbers. The majority of the studies might be improved with the help of sero-incidence estimation and the comparison of the incidence of food-borne illnesses in human populations independent of surveillance artefacts.

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