What does food safety mean?

' means:
‘the guarantee that food will not adversely affect the health of the final consumer when prepared and eaten, taking into account the purpose and manner of its consumption.'

Food safety is often confused with quality. “Quality” means that a meets the expectations of the user. Food safety is part of this, in addition to characteristics such as taste, smell, color and mouthfeel. However, food safety is a minimum requirement and is non-negotiable. On the other hand, the other quality standards are the result of concrete or non-concrete agreements between producer and buyer or consumer. in other words; a product can be quite safe and at the same time not really taste good, or look pale. 

Forms of food safety

We can distinguish five forms of food safety:

1. (Mirco-)biological food safety

are, for example, , yeasts and . Most of the micro-organisms that we know are necessary to maintain our living . Only a minority is pathogenic or disease-causing. can occur during the , , processing, sale or preparation of the food or its raw . But the contamination can also be present in or on crops or animals before they are harvested or slaughtered.

2. Chemical food safety

Foreign substances in our food can come from the environment or from the food production process itself. A distinction must be made between and contaminants. Additives are substances that are deliberately added to these foods for technical reasons during the manufacture, processing, preparation, handling, , transport or storage of foodstuffs in order to meet the requirements that consumers place on these products. Examples are: preservatives, flavor enhancers, stabilizers, colorants, food acids, enzymes, antioxidants. The use and of additives is regulated by law in the form of a so-called ‘positive' list. Contaminants, on the other hand, are substances that are not intentionally added to foods. These substances often end up in foodstuffs from the environment. Examples are crop protection products, veterinary medicines, but also dioxins from incineration plants.

3. Physical food safety

Physical contamination is caused by bits of , glass or plastic that can get into food. This contamination can happen during the harvest or during the production process. The food industry usually has very advanced detection equipment to detect and remove foreign objects.

4. Biotechnological food safety

For years, genetically modified organisms have not been allowed to simply be used for processing in food in the EU. Genetically modified organisms must first be assessed and found to be safe. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA, or EFSA), based in Brussels, assesses whether genetically modified food is safe.

5. Allergens

Our body is protected from infections by the immune system. It produces molecules called antibodies that can recognize germs that cause an infection. There are different types of antibodies. The antibody that causes an allergic reaction is the IgE. It is thought that IgE molecules are normally produced in response to infections from parasites, such as those that cause malaria. It is currently unclear why some people make IgE in response to other substances, such as pollen leading to hay fever and some foods leading to food allergies. The IgE acts like a label and sticks to molecules in food or pollen called allergens. If someone with a food allergy eats the wrong food, the IgE attaches to the , triggering an allergic reaction. One of the most common effects that IgE causes is the release of histamine which causes the such as hives or wheezing. Allergens are mostly proteins and in general there are different types of allergens in every food. It is unknown why some proteins are allergens and others are not.

Guaranteeing food safety

Food safety can be guaranteed with HACCP. The system ensures that certain are reduced. Assure yourself that food safety is in order within your by following a HACCP course. With the HACCP certificate in

TwitterFacebookLinkedInPin It

Related articles to Food safety: Forms and the definition of food safety

Many customers and visitors to this page 'Food safety: Forms and the definition of food safety' also viewed the articles and manuals listed below:

We are a Food Tech firm in Food Safety Compliance. Experts in setting up and maintaining Food Safety Systems for companies in the Food Supply Chain. We are dedicated to breaking down the barriers for Transparency and Trust in the Global Food Supply Chain.
In our Partnership Program we would like to work together with (Non)Governmental Organizations, Universities, Multinationals and Food companies.

iMIS Food is a fully equipped Food Safety Compliance platform. Unique is the installation of an iMIS Food server at the Food company, for online and offline availability. The online (no travel costs) iMIS Food implementation process includes 6 to 10 days of support and has a lead time of 3 months.

Monthly iMIS Food Update

Would you also like to receive the monthly iMIS Food Update and be invited to our events? Then please fill in this form.

Food Safety news 6-2024

Export team going to NABC GALA

Participating at the NABC Ambassador Dinner 2022

On the 24th of November was NABC annual Ambassador dinner. Our iMIS Export team joined and shares its experience of the yearly event.

Food chain: Working with Smallholders

Read this summary based on "Working with smallholders", an handbook for firms building sustainable supply chains released by the IFC.

Suddenly, suspended for FSSC22000? How can it happen?

When a food company is suspended by the certifier without reason, it has nothing to do with your company but with their mismanagement.