The moment you buy food as a consumer you expect to be able to eat it safely. The moment food is produced safely, you can eat it without fear of getting sick. Food safety is a term used to indicate to what extent our food is (in)safe for human health. You speak of unsafe food when the food is contaminated with pathogens (e.g. salmonella E Coli and Listeria) or harmful substances. You will understand that owning unsafe food can have serious consequences. That is why it is vitally important for food producers to have everything in place in the field of food safety during production. Food safety on the work floor is the basis of product quality and an absolute must for every food company.
What is covered?
Food safety includes the occurrence and prevention of:
- Food Poisons
- Food Intolerances
- Food Allergies
Other possible risks that can be attached to food. Therefore, important parts of the field are risk analysis, risk communication and risk management from various disciplines, such as food technology, quality science, toxicology, epidemiology and (food) legislation.
Who is responsible for food safety?
Within the European Union, companies in the various links of the food chain are primarily responsible when it comes to food safety. These include companies in agriculture, the food industry, distributors, retailers and catering companies. The Dutch government wants all these entrepreneurs to take responsibility for the safety of the food they produce or process.
How do you ensure food safety?
The Dutch Food Safety Authority enforces the legal safety standards for food. The Dutch Food Safety Authority uses the so-called HACCP system for this purpose. HACCP is comparable to NEN and ISO standards, but then for food companies. Things can go wrong when processing food. This can endanger the safety of the food. In order to minimize this risk, food companies are obliged to describe all possible risks in a food safety plan. HACCP is a system for drawing up such a plan and stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points. This, therefore, applies not only to catering establishments but to all companies and organizations that work with food. If you want to know more about HACCP read on here.
Ensuring your own food safety is very easy with IMIS Food.
IMis Food is designed to enable food producers to manage food safety themselves. iMIS Food provides a complete infrastructure for QA matters, allowing for efficient compliance with changing legislation and standards. With the iMIS Food Helpdesk, professional support is available for content and software questions.
What are the standards?
Many supermarkets and organizations require their suppliers to have an additional standard on top of HACCP. Here you can think of the standards BRC, IFS or FSSC 22000.
Forms of food safety
Four different forms can be recognized; (micro-)biological -, chemical -, physical – and biotechnological food safety.
- (Mirco-)biological: Fungi and bacteria are forms of microorganisms. During production, preparation, storage, one can be exposed to these microorganisms. This falls under the category of (micro-)biological food safety.
- Chemical: Chemical food safety revolves around foreign substances in the food. These may be substances that are incorporated into the product for technical reasons to meet consumer requirements, also known as additives. In addition, substances may not be intentionally added to the food; these are contaminants. A common contaminant is plant protection product.
- Physical: During production, glass or metal may be incorporated into the food. In general, these kinds of pieces are filtered out with special equipment. This is part of physical food safety.
- Biotechnological: When genetically modified organisms are added to food, it must first be approved by the EFSA. Within the EU this institution checks if the genetically modified organism is safe. This is central to biological food safety.
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