Everyone is concerned about choosing healthy foods that help them ward off health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Beyond choosing the right foods, they also need to be properly harvested and processed to be safe for consumption. This has lead to growing concerns for consumers and retailers who want to focus on a food safety management plan that works. It takes more than selecting the right foods to stay healthy. They must also be safe to eat to avoid health issues such as food poisoning.
The Purpose of Food Safety Regulations
Food Safety News reminds consumers and retailers that the purpose of establishing food safety regulations is to ensure food products are not adulterated. Practices such as mixing water into milk were common to stretch products and maximize profits until food regulations were introduced. Advanced technologies that prepare foods differently continue to raise questions about how to safely prepare and package foods.
A Brief History of Food Production
Before the 1950s, food products were sold at small markets and often sourced from local resources. The introduction of supermarkets in the 1960s changed the way people shopped and how food was produced. Soon it was clear regulations needed to be adopted to ensure consumer safety. The industry itself set the agenda. By the 1990s, regulations were enhanced by the introduction of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). This and other conditions helped to shift control from the food processors to the retailers.
In the face of ongoing foodborne illness outbreaks, retailers decide to develop the Global Food and Safety Initiative (GFSI). This is meant to help establish consistent and equivalent food safety management plans and systems around the world. Retailers continue to push the concept of food safety by imposing certain requirements on food processors. Some of them now go beyond government regulations.
Association Now reports a study conducted by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute, and the consulting firm Deloitte showed consumers are now considering wellness, health, and transparency when deciding which foods to buy. A growing number of consumers want healthy, sustainable food options. According to the study, “Capitalizing on the Shifting Consumer Food Value Equation,” the factors are driving buying decisions. Consumers today are more concerned about food safety than they were in the past. They want to know products do not contain harmful ingredients and are accurately labeled.
An integral part of processing foods safely is maintaining sanitary conditions during the preparation, processing and transportation of food products. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established regulations for safely preparing and transporting food, as outlined in the Sanitation Performance Standards Compliance Guide. Food processors invest in everything from pest control to sanitary strainers to ensure the final products are safe.
Consumers and retailers are working hard to learn more about how foods are being prepared to prevent foodborne illnesses and other health conditions. Adherence to regulations and imposing penalties on those who do not will help to keep everyone safer and healthier as the food production industry continues to evolve.