2 The problem with foodborne illness Responsible Innovation& Food Irradiation23 May 2013Chris ThomasRadiation & Residues TeamFood Standards Agency
3 Foodborne Disease Food safety is the FSA's top priority The reduction of foodborne disease is a key objective to ensuring food safetyThere has been a considerable reduction in foodborne diseaseHowever, the cost and burden remains unacceptably highThe majority of foodborne illness is preventable and there is scope to reduce levels of disease
4 The FSA’s Foodborne Disease Strategy to 2015 Aims to tackle foodborne disease by targeting the pathogens that have been identified as causing the greatest burden of disease:Campylobacterwhich causes most cases of food poisoningListeria monocytogenescauses the most food poisoning deathsVirusesresponsible for an increasing number of cases
5 The FSA’s Foodborne Disease Strategy to 2015 The strategy is based on a farm-to-fork approach, with the aim of reducing contamination of foods during production and processing and of promoting good food hygiene practice in the kitchen, both commercially and in the home.
6 Campylobacter The most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. Found mainly in poultry but also in red meat, unpasteurised milk and untreated water.In 2009 (England & Wales)> 371,000 estimated cases> 17,500 hospitalisations88 deaths.Accounts for a third of the cost of the burden of foodborne illness in England and Wales, estimated at more than £583m in 2008.
7 ListeriaListeriosis is relatively rare but causes more deaths from food poisoning in the UK than other foodborne bugsVulnerable groups are at increased riskAnnual laboratory-confirmed cases (UK):In 2000, 114 casesIn 2009, 234 casesIn 2010, 174 casesRemains above levels observed in the 1990s.Most people infected are hospitalised and approximately a third dieCosts £245 million a year to UK economy
8 EFSA Scientific Opinions (April ‘11) on Campylobacter in broiler meat production:“Clearly, irradiation is the most effective decontamination treatment, reducing the risk by virtually 100%...”on the efficacy and microbiological safety of irradiation of foodNo microbiological risksIrradiation considered only one of several processes to reduce pathogens in foodUse as part of integrated food safety management including good agricultural, manufacturing and hygienic practices
9 Concerns over irradiation Consumer acceptance of using “radiation”Irradiation is a physical process which leaves behind no residuesRisk of lowering of hygiene standards pre-irradiationIrradiation must not be used as a substitute for hygiene or good manufacturing practice (Directive 1999/2/EC)Risk of hygiene complacency by end consumersIrradiation may assist in reducing foodborne disease but, as with any intervention, cannot be totally effective in isolation
10 Uses of irradiationIrradiation is already widely used for sterilisation and contamination control of:Medical DevicesPharmaceuticalsCosmetics and ToiletriesFood irradiation worldwideFrance / Belgium – Frog legsChina – Continuing expansion – spices, fruits, shellfishUSA – Dried spices, spinach, ground meat products, oysters– Tropical fruits for insect control (low dose)Australia – Tropical fruits for insect control (low dose)
11 Thank you for your attention Chris ThomasRadiation & Residues TeamFood Standards AgencyT:E: