Risk Assessment And Safety Hazards In Food

Debashis Dutta, Research Scholar, Dept. of Biochem. Engg., IIT (BHU)

2016-11-02 03:10:39

Credit: laselectiondesterroirs.com

Credit: laselectiondesterroirs.com

India is one of the world’s largest producers as well as exporter of food products and playing an decisive role in contributing to the development of the economy. Indian domestic food market is expected to grow by nearly 40% of the current market size by 2015-16, to touch USD 258 billion. Processed foods (either industry or local street food business) in India are increasingly seen as a potential source for driving cumulative growth in the rural economy.

In order to facilitate and explore this sector, the government has initiated some corrective measures include: amendment of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Act, rationalization of food laws, implementation of the National Horticulture mission etc. The government has also outlined a decision to set-up the mega food parks, with integrated facilities for procurement, processing, storage and transport. To promote private sector activity and invite foreign investments in the sector the government allows 100% FDI in the food processing & cold chain infrastructure. Also, the Indian export market reached at USD 13.7 billion, has a share of 1.4% only, of the world food trade.

In spite of that, food safety and security, as well as hazard and threat factors (possess both unintentional risks and the deliberate acts of fraudsters or other individuals with malicious intent) have been major emerging areas associated with the food industries, supply chain management systems, local street food business arena and have insisted government to set up various regulatory bodies like United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The USDA is responsible for the oversight of all domestic and imported meat and poultry, including processed foods containing meat and poultry products, and processed egg products while The FDA agency’s main roles in ensuring food safety are to inspect food production and review food safety for new products. The agency can order a recall of unsafe products and The CDC investigates and works with states to track food-borne disease outbreaks.

In India, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety, established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. Every year, millions of people are getting affected from eating adulterated and contaminated food, resulting in more than thousands is in hospitalizations, or death and countless social/financial loss in a country.

Risk is a measure of a hazard may be of biological, chemical, allergenic or physical substance and environmental condition (high humidity) that has the potential to harm our health through toxication. By understanding severity vs. probability Meta analysis of risk factors, one can set up food safety controls and can lower the risks to its consumers. 

Various regulatory bodies are working in risk assessment area to obtain data and to identify the major area of concern in food adulteration and risk factors (new risk vs. emerging risk) on global platform.

                                                                               Figure 1: Schematic Diagram of Risk Analysis

An intelligent strategy has been developed to ensure the food safety hazards through the implementation of HACCP (Hazard analysis and Critical Control Point) systems. Now, it is possible to implement control measures to prevent, reduce or eliminate food safety hazards to an acceptable level.

Let’s have a look on food safety hazards:

 Microbiological Hazards:

Salmonella species, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinum, Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter, Hepatitis A and Rotovirus in prepared foods/dishes/street foods/ canned or fermented foods, meat, sausages and smoked fish; Fungal contamination of mid day meal rice, barley-Penicillium, Fusarium, Rhizopus and Aspergillus spp.

 Chemical Hazards:

Pesticides and fertilizers (spinach, lettuce, broccoli, mustard greens, kale and cabbage), heavy metals (vegetables grown in near bank of river, water contamination due to industrial pollution), antibiotics (Milk, honey) and growth hormones (Oxytocin to retain freshness, size enhancement of vegetables)

Physical Hazards:

Wood powder/ saw dust (Carcinogenic, as per NIH, USA) in chili powder, dhaniya powder

Contamination parameter: Temperature (T); Acidity (pH); Water activity (aw).

Development of framework: Through the involvement of Food legislation; Control management systems; Inspection activities and Laboratory services.