The consumer voice in food safety
Ronald Macfarlane is the Head of the Consumer Information and Documentation Centre of the International Organization of Consumers Unions, Office for Asia and the Pacific, Penang, Malaysia.
Amina and Alex were enjoying their lunch when something caught their attention: that man in white overalls was not the cook. He was holding a sprayer and dusting pesticides along the edge of the floor. They didn't want to have cockroaches as guests on the dinner table, but a dose of pesticides instead was no more appetizing.
"Hey, man, don't you know that you're not supposed to spray around food?"
In this food safety situation, many people are involved. First, the safety of the consumer is a primary concern of the Public Health Department. To make sure that this is achieved, both the restaurant owner or manager and the pesticide applier must cooperate in assuring that health objectives are met. The safety of the consumer also depends on proper pest management methods. Those involved in training and the pest control company have a role here. The pesticide company is interested in having its products used safely as well. There is also the issue of whether or hot the pesticide should be used at all. The regulatory authorities, the pesticide company, research institutes and environmental and health advocates all have an interest in this question.
These people, sometimes called stakeholders or interested parties, are all affected in one manner or another by decisions made with regard to the safe use of pesticides. This is but one example of the complexity of issues arid number of people included in food safety.
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