Traditionally, consumer food safety survey responses have been classified as either "right" or "wrong" and food handling practices that are associated with high risk of infection have been treated in the same way as practices with lower risks. In this study, a risk-based method for consumer food safety surveys has been developed, and HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point) methodology was used for selecting relevant questions. We conducted a nationally representative Web-based survey (n = 2,008), and to fit the self-reported answers we adjusted a risk-based grading system originally developed for observational studies. The results of the survey were analyzed both with the traditional "right" and "wrong" classification and with the risk-based grading system. The results using the two methods were very different. Only 5 of the 10 most frequent food handling violations were among the 10 practices associated with the highest risk. These 10 practices dealt with different aspects of heat treatment (lacking or insufficient), whereas the majority of the most frequent violations involved storing food at room temperature for too long. Use of the risk-based grading system for survey responses gave a more realistic picture of risks associated with domestic food handling practices. The method highlighted important violations and minor errors, which are performed by most people and are not associated with significant risk. Surveys built on a HACCP-based approach with risk-based grading will contribute to a better understanding of domestic food handling practices and will be of great value for targeted information and educational activities.
Biotechnology allows scientists to improve foods, create new food products and provide better tools to ensure food safety. It can assist in achieving the goal of an abundant, safe and nutritious food supply for a growing population. These technologies can lead to a greater variety of food with improved taste, nutrition and cooking quality. There are valid concerns about the widespread use of biotechnology which remain to be addressed by health, scientific and consumer constituencies. Dietitians need to be informed about biotechnology in food production and processing. They need to be aware of potential benefits and risks. Dietitians are uniquely positioned to inform the public about food safety and food products of biotechnology. Dietitians can discuss this information in understandable language and with sensitivity to public values. Dietitians should participate in the development of food-related policies at local, provincial and federal levels.
By studying carcass quality, expressed as affection, pathological findings, slaughter-weight and evaluation, a picture of an animal's health and potential as high quality food is achieved. This study compares the carcass quality in Swedish certified organic meat production with that of conventional meat production slaughtered during 1997. The study involves 3.9 million pigs, about 570,000 cattle and 190,000 sheep, all reared conventionally and 3483 pigs 4949 cattle and 4997 sheep reared according to organic standards. Pathological and additional findings are registered by meat inspectors from the Swedish National Food Administration at the post-mortem inspection. There was a significant difference at the post-mortem inspection of growing-fattening pigs; 28% of conventionally and 17% of the organically reared pigs had one or more registered lesion. The carcass evaluation of swine shows a higher meat percentage in conventional swine production. The total rate of registered abnormalities in cattle was systems around 28% from organic and 27% from conventionally reared herds. Carcass evaluation of cattle from organic herds gave higher classification in the EUROP system, whereas the fat content was lower than that of conventionally reared cattle. Sheep, reared both organically and conventionally, showed a lower rate of registered abnormalities than swine and cattle.
Recent emphasis within policy circles has been on transparent communication with consumers about food risk management decisions and practices. As a consequence, it is important to develop best practice regarding communication with the public about how food risks are managed. In the current study, the provision of information about regulatory enforcement, proactive risk management, scientific uncertainty and risk variability were manipulated in an experiment designed to examine their impact on consumer perceptions of food risk management quality. In order to compare consumer reactions across different cases, three food hazards were selected (mycotoxins on organically grown food, pesticide residues, and a genetically modified potato). Data were collected from representative samples of consumers in Germany, Greece, Norway and the UK. Scores on the "perceived food risk management quality" scale were subjected to a repeated-measures mixed linear model. Analysis points to a number of important findings, including the existence of cultural variation regarding the impact of risk communication strategies-something which has obvious implications for pan-European risk communication approaches. For example, while communication of uncertainty had a positive impact in Germany, it had a negative impact in the UK and Norway. Results also indicate that food risk managers should inform the public about enforcement of safety laws when communicating scientific uncertainty associated with risks. This has implications for the coordination of risk communication strategies between risk assessment and risk management organizations.
This paper presents the rationalisation and centralisation in the last decade in the Danish food safety system and illustrates some of the frustration it raised among market actors. The article argues that, even if the reforms did not change formal division of responsibilities for securing food safety, the implementation of new principles in the food safety control procedure in the form of HACCP and the publication of results from public food inspection visits (The Danish Smiley System) have altered the roles and responsibilities of market actors and public actors at a practical level. In this way the reform raises new questions about the efficiency of the food safety control system.
Although the number of reported cases of Cronobacter infection in Canada is low, Health Canada has been actively studying this organism since 1991. After reviewing the situation at the national level and due to health concerns with powdered formulae and its international trade, in 2003, Health Canada raised this issue at the international level by proposing to revise the Code of Practice for Powdered Formulae for Infants and Young Children at the Codex Alimentarius Committee of Food Hygiene. Canada volunteered to chair the Working Group that would be developing the Code, and the Code was completed in four years. The Code contributed to an improvement in the hygienic conditions in plants manufacturing Powdered Infant Formula (PIF), resulting in a lower level of product contamination with Cronobacter species. Canada has produced a document detailing Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) for Infant Formula in Canada. Health Canada uses the GMPs as a basis for assessing the manufacturing information received in pre-market notifications for new or changed infant formulas. Health Canada does not have microbiological criteria for Cronobacter spp. in PIF; however, we are currently working on developing these criteria. At present, there are no active or passive surveillance systems for Cronobacter spp. in Canada, although this has been discussed. Health Canada has recently adapted and condensed FAO/WHO guidelines to develop a draft guidance document for the hygienic preparation and handling of PIF in home and hospitals/care settings, which outline requirements for parents, caregivers, and staff in hospitals and day-care centres. Health Canada's Bureau of Microbial Hazards conducts research on the ecology, biology and pathogenesis of Cronobacter spp. Some of the research projects include specific aspects of molecular typing, virulence studies involving animal models, as well as in vitro tissue culture work to examine adhesion and invasion. Collaborative research is also being done with the Canadian National Research Council, using NMR and mass spectroscopy to reveal the structure of the O-polysaccharide of the various Cronobacter species. This review summarizes and discusses current activities that are being undertaken in Canada with respect to Cronobacter spp.