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Food Safety News

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If I Had a Magic Wand for Food Safety

Editor’s note: If you had a magic wand, how would you conjure up ways to make the food supply safe?  We asked several people to consider the possibilities. Here is another response, from Phyllis Entis, author, food safety microbiologist and editor of eFoodAlert

If I had a food safety Magic Wand.

If I had a food safety Magic Wand,

Everybody would have a safe supply of drinking water;

Everyone would have sanitary toilet facilities;

And every household would have a clean area to prepare food.

If I had a food safety Magic Wand.

If I had a food safety Magic Wand,

Every country would publicize food safety recalls;

Every country would encourage safe food production techniques;

And every country would enforce food safety laws.

If I had a food safety Magic Wand.

If I had a food safety Magic Wand,

FDA would promptly disclose all food inspection reports (Form 483);

USDA would promptly disclose all food inspection reports;

And FDA and USDA would enable on-line consumer food safety complaints;

If I had a food safety Magic Wand.

If I had a food safety Magic Wand,

All local health agencies would make restaurant inspection results available on-line;

All schools would teach food safety as part of the core curriculum;

And all chefs would practice and promote safe food handling.

If I had a food safety Magic Wand.

But I haven’t a food safety Magic Wand,

So we’ll just have to muddle through —

With no access to clean water for millions around the word,

With no sanitary toilets in much of Asia and Africa,

With fragmentary information,

With inadequate education,

And with celebrity chef misinformation.

Until someone invents a Food Safety Magic Wand.

© Food Safety News
  • Jim Schmidt

    I agree with local HD’s having inspection reports online, we have ours online. However, there is an issue with this. Most people don’t have a clue what they are looking at.
    For example in Oregon a restaurant can score a 95 with 4 five point critical violations, I wouldn’t eat there while another restaurant can score an 88 that I would dine at but the general public might not. What’s the difference? The one with the 88 didn’t have any food handling issues, they would have things like an uncovered garbage can in the ladies room, missing handwash sign, old food debris in hard to reach areas, etc. The other one would have Food past disposition date, Food not properly date marked, potentially hazardous food not at proper temperature, and Food being reheated improperly. Each one of those is a 5 point violation, however, since they are in the same “category” it only gets scored once”.
    Oregon is in the process of updating the food code and the scoring procedure, hopefully this will be looked at and I’m hoping public health will come first.

  • Jim, I agree with your observations. The scoring system should be re-thought, and the HD’s need to do a better job of explaining the scoring – and the difference between critical and noncritical violations – to the public.

  • Jim, I agree with your observations. The scoring system should be re-thought, and the HD’s need to do a better job of explaining the scoring – and the difference between critical and noncritical violations – to the public.

  • dangermaus

    I like just about everything you said, but those ideas are largely window dressing on a flawed system. I’d argue you’re buying into a narrow, lazy definition of “food safety”. A lot of the processed foods we eat, even though it’s virtually always free of food-borne pathogens or other adulterants, is only “safe” to eat over the long term if you don’t consider epidemics of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and sociological effects of the loss of our food culture to be serious problems.