- Length: 1294 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)
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Every year millions of people suffer from food poisoning due to uncontrolled application of agricultural chemicals, environmental contamination, use of illegal additives , microbiological hazards and others but as a result of increasing awareness of consumers and their demands to provide them with safe, wholesome and high quality food have force many food premises to carry out a broad assessment and re-organize their systems of food control in turn to improve efficiency , rationalization of human resources and harmonizing approaches.
This assessment of food control system has resulted to shift from the traditional approach which depends mainly on the final product sampling and inspection and move forward toward the implementation of a preventative safety and quality approach based on risk analysis. (FAO, 1998)
Risk based approaches has been developed by World health organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and it is called risk analysis .(WHO,2011)-website
Moreover, risk analysis is a combination of three interconnected elements which are Risk management, Risk assessment and Risk communication. (FAO/WHO training manual, 2006)
Risk assessment is a scientific evaluation of risk associated with hazard either qualitatively or quantitatively .Risk management is the process where the relevant information of risk including risk assessment results are used to make decisions on how they will control the risk and implementing proper options.
Finally risk communication which may define as the process by which exchange of information occur between risk assessors, managers and concerned parties.
In order to prepare a food products that is safe for human consumption and trade within the country or worldwide as well as maintain public confidence the government officials has a major role in this issue, yet it is clear that the government has no role in the production of food and cannot by itself to make safe or unsafe food.
However, the government does play two important roles to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
The first major role is to create food standards and implement it through laws, regulations, inspection, and compliance procedures.
These standards range from setting legislation to prevent food adulteration toward defining limits on the levels of pesticides residues as well as levels of pathogenic bacteria, food labelling, preparation and packaging of food.
As a consequence, USDAs in recent times implemented HACCP system for meat and poultry to reduce harmful contamination and the risk of food borne illness.
The second role is to address food safety problems that are beyond the control of any person participating in the food chain, which require more than a regulatory solution like for example E.
coli O157:H7 pathogen which originates in the gut of cattle and is spread through the environment to contaminate water, fresh produce, and beef during the slaughtering process causing a considerable hazard when present in food.
Address these and many other food safety problems need a strong research base, and to develop an effective control measures not to mention the cooperation between farmers, livestock producers, food processors, retailers and consumers.
Therefore, government officials play a leading role in promoting basic research and cooperation in such cases to reduce the risk of food borne diseases. (Taylor & Hoffmann, 2001)
In fact, applying risk analysis provides many benefits to all food safety stakeholders including government. In this term it can help food safety regulators to obtain more evidence and information they require to make an effective decision and to identify and apply suitable measures to control the risk in addition to evaluate these measures for example it can be used to assess the maximum level of pesticide residue in food supplies ,increasing the rate of tests ,provide advice to a certain population subgroup, review labelling requirements, and issue a ban and/or recall for the suspected food product in response. Risk analysis can be applied to support and improve food standards such as regulation (EC) no.1829/2003 on genetically modified foods and feed (EU, 2003) and many others standards.
It allows the potential costs of compliance for comparison with the expected benefits, and supports setting priorities among the various problems related to food safety. (FAO 87, 2006)
In addition to the above advantages, since in article2 (2) from SPS agreement indicates the need of scientific evidence in establishing sanitary and pytosanitary measures. (SPS) though, applying risk analysis will assist the government to meet their commitments and strengthen the basis for the food trade at the international level by increasing access to new market. (FAO 87, 2006)
Moreover, gaps and uncertainties in scientific knowledge can be identified using risk analysis approach, which will lead to improve food safety and a better understanding of food related impacts on consumer health. (FAO 87, 2006)
In general, risk analysis is used mostly for chemical hazards but recently FAO and WHO expand the scope to cover microbiological hazards as well. (FAO 76)
As a result, microbial risk assessment has been used to assess the risk posed by Listeria in a wide range of food commodities and regulatory involvements to control pathogens. (Federal Register / Vol. 66, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2001 / Proposed Rules)
Thus, through risk analysis the government officials can make out opportunities to reduce risk by using it to establish risk based inspection program, development and application of food standards, collaborate efforts with food processors, and consumer awareness. (Taylor & Hoffmann, 2001)
However, since not all countries have the capabilities and resources to conduct risk assessment ,so they must make use of international data and expertise available besides data that is internationally accepted such as codex standards which accepted as scientifically valid under SPS agreement .(FAO,76)
On the other hand, food processors as discussed earlier has the main role to produce safe ,wholesome and high quality food to meet customer demands.
While world health organisation (WHO) has briefly indicated that food safety is a shared responsibility from farm to fork, http://www.eufic.org/article/en/artid/processing-food-safety-quality-1/
governments and intergovernmental organisation like Codex Alimentarius commission (CAC) has a major responsibility in creating food standards and so it is important to involve food manufacturers in the process of setting standards at the national and international levels. This participation is beneficial to all stakeholders, and government indeed should assist this exchange of information to help ensure supplying safe products. http://www.fao.org/docrep/v2890t/v2890t05.htm
Achieving this requires implementing science based systems derived from risk analysis and associated risk management approaches like HACCP for industry. (Hobbs, 2007)
However, to carry out a HACCP plan, hazard analysis is required, as it considers as the first of the seven HACCP principles, it is used to assess the probable hazards that could occur through food processing, gathering data regarding those hazards and their severity to the consumer besides the possibility of their occurrence. Once established a hazard analysis using risk analysis, it must be considered throughout the HACCP plan development. (Peter warring book, food quality assurance book)
In addition to the above, there are a number of authors who have suggested the use of risk based systems in HACCP plan (Baird-Parker, 1994, 1995;Buchanan, 1995; Notermans and Jouve, 1995; Elliott,1996; Notermans and Mead, 1996).
Thus demands to include some aspects of risk into HACCP system are increasing.
(T.Mayeres,97) Burden or benefits)
(Mayers, 1997) on the other hand stated that the HACCP system is functioning effectively without the need of risk assessment approach, bearing on mind that HACCP has been internationally considered as an effective way to control food borne hazards.
However, some elements of risk analysis can be useful in HACCP by increasing the scientific basis of hazard analysis, can help in identification of critical limits, as well as increasing transparency in decision making.( (T.Mayeres,97) Burden or benefits)
Owing to the increasing demands of the global market for sea food products, exposure to food borne illness may increase as a consequence. (Book of Iso and HACCP)