Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Two Peanuts in a Bar and the Quest for Safer Food

Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Two Peanuts in a Bar and the Quest for Safer Food

Article excerpt

Two peanuts walk into a really rough bar. Unfortunately, one was a salted1

That joke may not be quite as old as the use of salt in human societies (4,000 years or so), but it introduces the progress on reducing salt in our food - the theme of just one of the excellent articles in this special issue on food safety. In previous centuries, food was necessarily salty as it helped to preserve fish and meat before the era of refrigeration. Targets on lowering salt in specific foods, from sausages to breakfast cereals, are now in place and the review in this issue provides a helpful summary.2 It is not simply a matter of removing sodium chloride and other sodium salts used by the food industry: salt is a good preservative because it has antimicrobial action. Perhaps this is why we do not succumb more often to the famously reported faecal contamination of peanuts in bars? The call for more guidance, for example how to reduce salt in cheese without raising the risk of the sometimes fatal Listeriosis, or other infections, is eloquently explained and no joking matter (despite the corny joke about how to approach an angry Welsh cheese - the answer is of course, 'Caerphilly'). The definitely unamusing contamination risks within slicing machines are covered in the fascinating and instructive narrative from Maple Leaf Foods, where the company, which believed its policies on hygiene were robust, found itself at the centre of a national outbreak of Listeriosis.3 They transformed their food safety culture to prevent any such recurrence, showing the importance of case studies in how Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and other action metrics can, given time and a lot of effort, produce sustainable progress. Skill gaps can be approached in various ways, including independent assessment of records produced for continuous professional development (CPD).4

We take it as a fact that food safety standards exist, although their history is relatively recent, starting with acts to prohibit adulteration of foods in the 19th century and gaining impetus in the years following World War II. Calculations of daily requirements and limits to microbial counts reflected the growing scientific knowledge about foodstuffs, as did the increasing emphasis on hygiene behaviours by food workers. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.