A food safety barometer in Belgium has found improvements in the country during the past decade.

The purpose is to measure food safety and enable evidence-based risk management and policy decisions. It consists of 30 indicators that cover various aspects of food safety from farm to fork.

It relies on data collected from the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) control programs and the National Reference Center for Disease data. Indicators are expressed as positive or negative changes compared to the previous year and compared to a reference year to assess long-term progress.

Barometer benefits

Continue Reading Belgium shares benefits of food safety barometer

According to findings of a control operation in Finland, the risk management of ground beef steaks served medium in restaurants needs improvement.

The environmental department of the Oulu region analyzed risk management processes during the preparation and serving of ground (minced) meat steaks sold medium-cooked.

Findings showed that customers received information about the degree of doneness of the steak but were not told about the E. coli risk. The microbiological quality of raw meat was good, but Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) was found in two of 12 samples. Both samples were from one restaurant, where ground beef steaks came

Continue Reading Inspections find outlets can improve medium-cooked meat controls

A new approach could improve risk management decisions around Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), according to a study.

Risk classification and management of STEC isolated from food has been hampered by gaps in knowledge about how different types can cause severe disease. 

In 2019, a joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) proposed the pathogenic potential of a STEC strain is categorized based on virulence genes. JEMRA presented a ranking of strains with various virulence genes into five levels based on their potential to cause diarrhea, bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

In 2020, the European Food

Continue Reading Researchers test new E. coli approach to help risk management

The first event for a group of food safety professionals created by the World Health Organization (WHO) focused on the role of science in the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

The WHO’s Food Safety Community of Practice webinar earlier this month gave examples of how Codex Alimentarius Commission standards are developed.

The WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) develop risk assessments to define safe exposure levels to various chemicals and microorganisms in food. Scientific advice from expert committees is the basis for developing international food safety and quality standards by Codex, and national standard setting in
Continue Reading World Health Organization holds first meeting for food safety community

The Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) has published a food safety guide for directors of companies in the sector.

The group said it hopes to reinforce placement of food safety on the agenda of every board of directors involved with the production, processing, sale and supply of food to consumers.

Food safety is a business risk that must be effectively mitigated, according to the guide. Done well, it will deliver financial efficiency, shareholder value and competitive advantage as well as consumer protection; done poorly, it will negatively impact business resilience and potentially a firm’s existence, a scenario
Continue Reading Company directors get help with food safety guide

The chief scientists of FAO and WHO highlighted the role of science in keeping food safe while stressing the importance of technology during a webinar earlier this week.

The virtual event was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) to mark the third annual World Food Safety Day.

FAO Director General QU Dongyu and WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gave video messages at the session that more than 600 people attended.

“Nobody should die from eating food. These are preventable deaths. When food safety is improved we reduce hunger,
Continue Reading WHO and FAO stress role of science and technology in food safety efforts

There is not a one size fits all solution when it comes to managing chemical hazards, according to PepsiCo.

Alex Mendes, vice president of global food safety and microbiology at PepsiCo, spoke recently about chemical hazards such as heavy metals, allergens, mycotoxins and pesticides and the impacts from immediate to a chronic threat to public health.

“You need to look for the amount, the severity the hazard may provoke, what type of exposure may happen to the individual and the controls throughout your supply chain. What happens if you mis-manage your hazards? I tend to believe you don’t have a
Continue Reading PepsiCo shares insights into chemical hazards program

National studies on foodborne diseases are needed to help a country set its food safety priorities, according to researchers.

An international team said precise national estimates are essential to rank diseases and hazards in a country, as well as foods contributing the most and the interventions needed for effective prevention. Only when countries know what makes people sick are they able to target measures and allocate resources in areas where food safety risks are highest.

The current burden of disease landscape remains scattered, and researchers struggle to translate their findings to useable input for policy decision makers. Pre-COVID, many countries
Continue Reading Researchers push for more country-level foodborne disease studies

More than half of respondents, including people from the U.S., to a survey feel food safety is a top three global issue.

The study from the Mars Global Food Safety Center (GFSC), that surveyed people in the United States, United Kingdom and China, found 77 percent of people think food safety is a top 10 worldwide problem.

KRC Research conducted the survey online with 1,754 adults aged 18 to 65 in mid-September. Respondents include 502 each from the U.S. and UK and 750 in China.

Food safety threats
Almost three quarters of respondents believe coronavirus will impact the viability of
Continue Reading Half of consumers believe food safety is one of main global issues

Spanish scientists have proposed additional requirements for the marketing of raw milk but have not gone as far as to ban it.

European regulation allows unpasteurized milk for direct human consumption to be placed on the market without treatment to kill bacteria, parasites and viruses. The current situation in Spain follows this legislation with no additional requirements so raw milk can be sold regardless of volume.

The Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) asked its Scientific Committee to assess whether risk management measures related to raw milk intended for direct human consumption are adequate to provide a high
Continue Reading Spain plans to tighten rules for marketing of unpasteurized milk