Food safety through HACCP - The FAO approach
People are entitled to expect that the food they eat is wholesome and safe for consumption, Foodborne disease is at best unpleasant; at worst it can be fatal. Consequences of foodborne illness include adverse effects on trade and tourism, loss of earnings and productivity, unemployment and litigation. Food spoilage is wasteful and costly and can adversely affect the economy and erode consumer confidence.
All countries need adequate food control programmes to ensure that national food supplies are safe, of good quality and available in adequate amounts at affordable prices to ensure an acceptable nutritional and health status for all population groups. Food control includes all activities to ensure the quality, safety and honest presentation of the food, from primary production, through processing and storage, to marketing and consumption, The term has been used to describe a total national effort involving an integrated approach between governments and all segments and sectors of the food industry, Food control is linked to improvement of the health of the population, the potential for a country’s economic development and the reduction of spoilage and food losses.
The Codex Alimentarius General Principles of Food Hygiene (Codex Alimentarius Commission, 1995a) lays a firm foundation for ensuring food hygiene. This document highlights the key hygiene controls at each stage along the food chain from primary production through to the final consumer, and recommends a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach wherever possible to enhance food safety, However, food safety must be viewed as only one important aspect of overall food quality, and HACCP, as a mechanism to control food safety, is one component of overall food quality control programmes, The HACCP approach is internationally recognized as essential to ensuring the safety and suitability of food for human consumption, and it enhances the potential for international trade.
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