Food safety is always a public health concern and government agencies are supposed to prevent contaminated food entrance into the marketplace.
There are, however, many problems within all systems that must be periodically changed and/or updated to adapt to new developments in food plants.
The recent e-coli H 01507 contamination in a western Canadian plant shows that food inspectors in federally and provincially inspected plants must be more vigilant in their duties. Different governments cut budgets eliminating some positions and these cuts contribute to neglect.
More importantly, plant management must make every effort to comply with all rules and regulations and train floor staff in handling computerized machinery, ensure that all staff members can follow written instructions, are healthy, and above all, follow commonsense precautions i.e washing hands thoroughly after every washroom visit. Surprisingly, in a lot of instances, meat cutters fail to follow instructions.
Management contributes to problems by asking for speedier performance all the time.
If workers are forced to work faster, they find ways to short circuit precautionary steps. Consumers are well advised to stay away from meat that has been mechanically minced, packaged, transported over long distances, and distributed through retailers. The old rule apples – the more food is handled, the more chances exist for it get contaminated.
Buy meat from small butchers that grind the meat on teh premises, and pay more attention to detail and cleanliness.
They charge more than supermarkets, but I believe it is worth paying more for safety measures.
A lot of the meat, at least in North America, is tenderized mechanically, or through using natural or artificial tenderizers, which may contribute to contamination.
Consumers can protect themselves by cooking ground meat thoroughly. (The following internal temperatures kill e-coli bacteria – beef steaks medium 63 C, medium-rare 63 C, Medium 71 C, well done 77 C, ground meat 74 C, poultry 74 C, egg 74 C, and hot dogs 74C).
These days’ even vegetables are less safe than previously.
Huge chemical conglomerates develop and sell all kinds of insecticides, fungicides, and fertilizers without heeding sufficiently long examinations by agencies prior to approval. Sometimes farmers fail to pay sufficient attention before using these chemicals, and farm workers, many of whom are deficient in English, take them from sheds and sue without supervision. Legal and often illegal, semi-literate immigrants in the U S A and Canada perform the majority of backbreaking farm work. This also contributes to food safety.
Recently a German importer brought I strawberries from China and distributed. Many children got sick after eating these strawberries that were contaminated. In China, food inspection is very lax, or non-existent. If there is an inspection officials are easy to bribe.
It behoves to be prudent to remember this when buying Chinese vegetables, fruits, canned foods, and other processed foods.
Here are foods that most frequently cause food poisoning: berries, sprouts, tomatoes, ice cream, cheese, potatoes, oysters, tuna, and eggs.
Wash berries thoroughly, cook sprouts well, buy ice cream from reputable manufacturers, and scramble eggs.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.