The government, food manufacturers, food service establishments, primary producers, and consumers each have their own responsibilities when it comes to food safety, said food scientist Ziggy Felongco.
“The government is responsible for creating and enforcing these policies, and even the consumers should be aware of proper food handling practices and demand proper information about food,” he explained.
Felongco was the guest in BusinessMirror’s podcast titled “Food Safety Fridays: What is food safety and why it matters?”
He added that the “ultimate responsibility” is with the food industry as they have the “economic benefit from food.”
Felongco cited a food safety magazine which stated that recognizing food safety is “open to various interpretations.” According to him, it is deemed either a process or a discipline.
Despite its lack of definition, food safety prevents people from getting sick.
“Generally, when we say food safety, we’re talking about making sure [that] they would not get sick from consuming food,” he said
Food is not safe if it has “unpleasant odors and sourness” and if there are “gray, cloudy, cottony growth” that are often found in old breads.
He added that leftover food could be dangerous, especially if it has been reheated multiple times, as microorganisms could be present.
The domino effect
FOODBORNE illness is caused by the consumption of food that has already been contaminated. Common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and fever and this could cost workers to be absent from work.
“Foodborne diseases remain a cause for concern in nations around the world whether developing or developed countries. Everybody eats and it’s because it causes human suffering which would then lead to a domino effect,” he said.
“It would generally result in economic losses,” the food safety specialist added.
According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), the risk of foodborne diseases is “most severe” in low and middle-income countries. This is highly linked to unsafe water, poor hygiene, “insufficient food safety legislation,” among others.
“Cumulatively, if they were unable to work and more [are] hospitalized [nang] sabay-sabay, ‘yung economic burden… would definitely be massive,” Felongco said.
Full episode of the podcast “Food Safety Fridays: What is food safety and why it matters?” is available on Spotify.
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