Confronting Food Safety Risks
Christine, Brian, Risk Management
If the adage "You are what you eat" is true, then everyone should hope the food they consume is safe and nutritious. Yet recent outbreaks of foodborne illnesses such as a deadly strain of E. coli bacteria have generated public concern and even accusations from consumer groups that the U.S. food supply is dangerously unsafe. Whether the discussion focuses on potential pathogens such as E. coli or the use of pesticides in agriculture, food safety is likely to remain an important issue for the food industry and U.S. consumers.
In the United States, foodborne illness is "a major cause of personal distress, preventable death and economic burden," stated Fred R. Shank, director for the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Speaking recently before the U.S. House of Representatives, Mr. Shank noted that "The FDA estimates that 24 to 81 million people become ill from microorganisms in food, resulting in 9,000 deaths every year." The annual cost of foodborne illness is estimated to be between $7.7 billion and $23 billion, he added.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia reports that more than 250 diseases are caused by contaminated food or beverages. Epidemiological data has determined the most important foodborne hazards are microbial, …
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Publication information: Article title: Confronting Food Safety Risks. Contributors: Christine, Brian - Author. Magazine title: Risk Management. Volume: 41. Issue: 9 Publication date: September 1994. Page number: 71+. © 1999 Risk Management Society Publishing, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1994 Gale Group.
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