Campylobacter b Most common single cause of food poisoning in Europe b Not generally fatal b Causes sporadic rather than large outbreaks
Salmonella b 2nd Most common b Often cause of major outbreaks b Poultry major source b Readily killed by cooking b Can be fatal to elderly or v. young.
E-coli b Caused by specific strains (0157, 0111, 026) b Only recently isolated b v. low infective dose b can cause severe illness, with fatalities esp. in elderly & young. b found in wide variety of foods but ultimate source likely always animal
Listeria monocytogenes b Few cases in UK but some large outbreaks in USA and Europe b Relatively high mortality rate (cause foetal abortion) b Grows at chill temperatures
Viruses b Viruses are a much more common cause of food poisoning than previously thought b Viruses are obligate parasites and are carried by food rather than grow on food b Most common are Norwalk Like viruses b Viruses are very difficult to detect
Protozoa b Some water borne protozoa such as cryptosporidium are thought to be responsible for some outbreaks b Cyclospora are responsible for outbreaks from soft fruit in the USA and Canada
Food Safety & Processing Flair Flow Europe Project
Pesticides & Processing b EU directive on pesticide levels b Problems with compliance Sampling regimes Variability of results Implications if pesticides are not used?
Novel processes b High pressure b High intensity electric field pulses (HELP) b Ultrasound b Benefits Lower temperature processing Lower energy inputs Improved quality
Immuno assay techniques b Method of screening for residues b Rapid b Sensitive b Low cost b Counterintuitive output High signal goes to low
Recycling plastics and paper b Recycled packaging in food applications b Need to ensure no interactions with food b Recycled PET (soft drinks bottles) effectiveness of cleaning b Barrier technologies (multi-layer packaging) Prevent diffusion of undesirables
Modified atmosphere b Prolongs shelf life b Factors Choice of gas mix Hurdles Packaging Pathogens b Low O 2 /High CO 2 Optimise for each product
Safety & the Food Chain
Consumer issues b Problems Food scares Food poisoning Complexity of production & supply chain Remoteness of consumers awareness of uncertainty Leading to b Loss of consumer confidence
Consumer issues (2) b Key principles Plough to plate approach New approach to risk analysis Greater openness Stakeholder involvement precautionary approach Traceability HACCP Role of Official controls
Consumer issues (3) b The way forward Anticipating future developments Restore consumer confidence Everyone has a role to play All stages in food chain involved Precautionary approach Two way risk communication
Safety in particular sectors b Food service (retail & catering) Increased eating outside home Major source of food poisoning unsafe sources inadequate cooking improper holding temperature contaminated equipment poor personal hygiene b Managing the cold chain Flair technical manual b Retail sector Impact of regulations (esp. due diligence)
Food Toxicology The major focus of this session was on risk analysis
Risk analysis & management b Traditional approach Risk assessment On a case by case basis Only proven hazards considered Risk management Risk communication b Features Separation of assessment & management risks assessed but not potential benefits
Problems with traditional approach b Human fallibility (how things are really done) b Practical consequences of human activity (things that are not done) b Limits of scientific knowledge b Perceptions of risk not considered b Long term factors extrapolation from short term data uncertainties ignored
Possible changes b Early detection of unpredicted consequences b Evaluation of degree of plausibility b Improved monitoring procedures b Evaluation of benefits b Adoption of the precautionary principle.
Precautionary principle b Take anticipatory action Don’t wait until all the data is in b Burden of proof of harmlessness lies with proponent b Evaluate alternatives b Open decision making Involve all affected parties
Future developments b EU White paper on food safety b European food authority b EU legal framework covering the whole food chain b Growing stress on Nutrition - safe food is not enough