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Today we manage food safety through good practices at different levels of food production, distribution, and consumption. The paper analyses current good practices, parameters involved in the food safety circle along the food supply chain, and consumer dilemmas. As a result of the current situation the new approach called "Good Nutritional Practice" (GNP) is proposed to balance the food safety systems. It is shown how important it is to integrate actual the food safety solutions within GNP, which includes consumers, and is based on a model that covers subsystems from other relevant good practices (nine good practices along the food supply chain). It has been shown that present maintenance of food safety in the food supply chain can be easily broken down, because of the different kinds of barriers or a simple misunderstanding among stakeholders including consumers.
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Good Nutritional Practice from Producer to Consumer
P. Raspor
a
; M. Jevšnik
b
a
Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Food Science and Technology, Chair of
Biotechnology, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
b
Department of Sanitary Engineering, University of Ljubljana, College of Health
Studies, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Online Publication Date: 01 March 2008
To cite this Article: Raspor, P. and Jevšnik, M. (2008) 'Good Nutritional Practice from
Producer to Consumer', Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 48:3, 276 -
292
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Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 48:276–292 (2008)
Copyright
C
Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1040-8398
DOI: 10.1080/10408390701326219
Good Nutritional Practice
from Producer to Consumer
P. RASPOR
1
and M. JEV
ˇ
SNIK
2
1
University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Food Science and Technology, Chair of Biotechnology,
Jamnikarjeva 101, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2
University of Ljubljana, College of Health Studies, Department of Sanitary Engineering, Poljanska 26a, SI-1000
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Today we manage food safety through good practices at different levels of food production, distribution, and consumption.
The paper analyses current good practices, parameters involved in the food safety circle along the food supply chain, and
consumer dilemmas. As a result of the current situation the new approach called “Good Nutritional Practice” (GNP) is
proposed to balance the food safety systems. It is shown how important it is to integrate actual the food safety solutions within
GNP, which includes consumers, and is based on a model that covers subsystems from other relevant good practices (nine
good practices along the food supply chain). It has been shown that present maintenance of food safety in the food supply
chain can be easily broken down, because of the different kinds of barriers or a simple misunderstanding among stakeholders
including consumers.
Keywords food safety, good practices, Good Nutrition Practice (GNP), HACCP, consumer
INTRODUCTION
Providing the consumer with safe food is linked with a differ-
ent life style, food habits, or responsibility especially in the age
of globalization and represents a constant task in developed and
developing countries. Food safety understanding is a concept,
which begins with technologies and goes all the way to the legis-
lation, from the producer to the consumer (Raspor, 2004). Eating
outside one’s home (Soriano et al., 2002; Walker et al., 2003) and
the usage of partly or fully cooked food is increasing. In Warde’s
(1999) opinion this is not the result of its increasing popularity,
but it is a reaction to special configuration of time problems,
and how to organize everyday life. People in the United States
already spend 40–50% of their money for their nutrition in dif-
ferent eating out places, whereas people in Europe spend around
26%. The traditional understanding of foodstuffs supplying sys-
tem is constantly changing. The incidence and type of foodborne
diseases (FBD) are also changing. Analysis shows an increase of
viral infections in comparison with classical bacterial infections
(Raspor, 2004).
Address correspondence to Dr. Peter Raspor, University of Ljubljana,
Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Food Science and Technology, Chair
of Biotechnology, Jamnikarjeva 101, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia. Tel:
38614231161. Fax: 38612574092. E-mail: peter.raspor@bf.uni.lj.si
Suitable to human health, a safe food is a consumer’s basic
right. Assuring safe food is the most difficult task in prepara-
tion and distribution units, especially in small and medium-sized
companies (Walker and Jones, 2002; Walker et al., 2003; Wal-
czak and Reuter, 2004; Sun and Ockerman, 2005). It is com-
monly known that the number of FBD is increasing in both the
developed and the developing countries. They represent an im-
portant public health problem in the contemporary world. Con-
sumers have become very critical about food safety and food
quality due to a number of food affairs, which have received a
great deal ofmediaattention. These eventshave globally resulted
in increased government regulatory activities. Federal and inter-
national agencies are acting to encourage better public health
protection. One of the principal actions has been the develop-
ment of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point)
based regulations or recommendations by federal agencies and
the United Nations Codex Alimentarius Commission (Sperber,
1998). To control and comprehend safety in the European Union
(EU) the ”White Paper on Food Safety” is an important doc-
ument that was published in January 2000 (EC, 2000). After
that regulation 178/2002/EC and decision 97/579/EC were pub-
lished, which exactly define ”European Food Safety Authority.
The use of HACCP principles at all levels of the food chain
is however compulsory under the EU Directive 93/43/EEC and
Regulation 852/2004/EC (EU, 1993; EU, 2004). It is a respon-
sibility of all included parties in the food chain to ensure food
276
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GOOD NUTRITIONAL PRACTICE FROM PRODUCER TO CONSUMER 277
traceability and food safety by internal control in all production
phases.
These safety assurance systems are based on the production
process, the complexity of the product, and human resources.
Interestingly enough, it is still unknown as to what extent these
systems contribute to the real assurance of food safety. Previous
research showed, that emphasizing success of the HACCP sys-
tem (Ropkins and Beck, 2000; Konecka-Matyjek et al., 2005) to
provide safe food, is reflected in several domestic and interna-
tional affairs about food poisoning (Sun and Ockerman, 2005;
Walczak and Reuter, 2004; Ay¸ci¸cek et al., 2004). From the re-
ports about food poisoning, we can see the need to search for
the cause for this uncontrolled part and other drawbacks of the
system. Motarjemi and K¨aferstein (1999) asked: “Is the number
of increasing food poisoning, paradox or failure of HACCP sys-
tem?” We get more and more evidence about its incorrect inter-
pretation (Untermann, 1999), complexity (Sperber, 2005b), and
fast establishing, without preliminary establishing of support
systems of good practice that work, and are a groundwork for
its reinstatement. Food safety is not a synonym for the HACCP
system (Sperber, 2005a), so the dilemma about the effective-
ness of the existent system is justified. The system without ad-
equate support is not a guarantee for food poisoning prevention
(Motarjemi and K¨aferstein, 1999; Mortimore, 2001).
Definitions of Safety
The basic definition of safety, connected with our current
knowledge about dangerous substances and exposure to them
could be: “Security means that we are aware of all the possible
risks that are connected with handling dangerous substances. We
have to observe and have knowledge about all the mechanisms
of exposure. We have to be aware of the safety recommendations
and know how to use the safety techniques, which will reduce
potential exposure because of the carelessness or negligence
at work” (Raspor, 2004). Experts introduced some additional
definitions of the term due to events of September 11th.
When we speak about the definition of safety, we could say
that safety is a practical probability that injury will not happen, if
we are exposed to the risk, under certain conditions. This means
that we can potentially avoid injuries. But when we enter deeper
into the connection between safety and foodstuffs and we try
to use dictionaries, we get into trouble. Worldwide dictionaries
distinguish between safety and security. Some interpret safety
as an active form of safety and security is the passive form to
assure safety. Connected to the foodstuffs, these two concepts
have even more specific notation. The term “Food security” is
regularly used in humanitarian actions, where we help the un-
derdeveloped and those who need help. This explanation is not
completely agreed upon, but usually means that people have the
right to a constant food supply, so that hunger and starvation
will not occur. This means that supplies will contain quality
foodstuffs that are nutritious, safe, and acceptable culturally and
ethnically and produced in an environmentally and legally ac-
cepted way (Raspor, 2004). In 1996, countries at the World Food
Summit agreed that food security exists when all people, at all
times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and
nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences
for an active and healthy lifestyle (FAO, 2000). The term “Food
safety” is broader and could be used in different areas such as
agriculture, food technologies, and health care. In Codex Ali-
mentarious “Food safety” is defined as an assurance that food
will not cause harm to the consumer when it is prepared and/or
eaten according to its intended use (CAC, 2003). According to
EU food safety regulation food shall be deemed to be unsafe
if it is considered to be injurious to health and unfit for human
consumption (EC, 2002).
The correct understanding of safety and food security terms
in food safety area needs clear co-ordination and education; not
just the consumer but also the producer need to speak the same
language when food safety is concerned. This means that we
have to consider the regulation, connected scientific and techni-
cal principles to assure safety of raw materials, packaging, and
other subsidiary materials that are used in a food production and
trade. Carelessness, negligence, mistakes, or deliberate actions
during work can be fatal for the consumer.
GOOD PRACTICES FROM PRODUCERS TO
CONSUMERS
In ancient times when food safety was the sole responsibil-
ity of the hunter/gatherer, the chain of responsibility was a very
short one. Today, with important changes in lifestyles and de-
mography and with globalization in food trade, we see the food
supply growing ever rapidly in size and diversity (Gorris, 2005).
To ensure “Farm to Table Food Safety” it was necessary to estab-
lish a new concept of understanding the food safety completely
(Sperber, 2005b). The HACCP system and its supporting pro-
grams (good practices) represent the most intelligent example
of this development (Raspor, 2002).
The development of good practices in the last fifteen years
enabled the integration of all activities in the food supply chain,
specific for each individual branch (Heggum, 2001; Raspor,
2004). Manufacturers started to think about integrity control
of the individual stage and activity in the food supply chain.
Positive experiences have developed and today we call it Good
Manufacturing Practice (GMP). From its first rules and princi-
ples in the year 1968, the World Health Organization (WHO)
set the course about the meaning of enacting standard proce-
dures dealing with personnel building, equipment, documen-
tation, production, and quality control (Zschaler, 1989). GMP
connects all factors that assure quality, safety, and effectiveness
of food, according to its specification and purpose. Clearly set
principles and success of GMP has soon set the foundation for
developing many other good practices along the food supply
chain, described in Table 1.
The main purpose of all good practices in the food safety
circle is to provide consumers with safe, healthy, and quality
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Table 1 Priority, common and other main issues of nine basic good practices in food supply chain
Good practices Abbreviation Description of good practices Priority issues Common issues Other main issues
Good Agriculture
Practice
GAP GAP describes how to minimize the risk of pollution of
water, air and soil. Broadly defined, a GAP approach
applies recommendations and available knowledge to
addressing environmental, economic, and social
sustainability for on-farm production and
post-production processes resulting in safe and healthy
food and non-food agricultural products (FAO, 2003).
Environment Communication, Control,
Documentation, Education, Human
resources, Training
Analyses, Applied chemicals, Food crop, Growth,
Harvesting, Hygiene, Livestock, Plants, Rearing,
Resources (irrigating water, air, soil, etc.),
Sampling, Slaughter
Good
Manufacturing
Practice
GMP GMP described that part of quality assurance which
ensures that products are consistently produced and
controlled to the quality standards appropriate to their
intended use and as required by the marketing
authorization (WHO, 1997).
Food processing Equipment, Foodstuffs, Production, Product, Recall
procedures, Regimes (temperature, time, sequence,
handling, etc.), Resource management (raw
materials, etc.), Supplying system, Working
facilities
Good Laboratory
Practice
GLP Principles of GLP have been implemented into regulation
under protection of Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) 1978 and have direct elements that assure
quality, integrity, and reliability of data testing for
ensuring safety of tested products from pharmacy,
cosmetics, and veterinary, pesticides, food
supplements, and industrial chemical preparations
(FAO, 1995).
Analyses Impartiality, integrity, and reliability of data,
Measurement uncertainty, Production, Quality,
Traceability
Good Hygiene
Practice
GHP GHP connects and merges procedures of sanitary and
technical work, so we could call this practice hygiene
management. Comprehension of hygiene is in different
professions connected with specific details and sub
meanings. In principle it is dealing with physical,
chemical, biological, geographical, and social factors
of environment that affect health and induce diseases.
Sanitary point of view is valid for devices and
procedures, in short, technical contents. Both factors
are closely included in environment that combine
global and local environment (Dean, 1985).
Sanitary technical
conditions
Cleaning, Disinfection, Environment (internal and
external), Planning, Resource management
(human, water, air, pest, etc.), Sanitation, Waste
management
Good Transport
Practice
GTP Good transport practice (GTP) means settled system in
procedures of foodstuffs transfer from producers to
consumers (Berg et al., 1994; Raspor, 2004)
Logistics Equipment, Marking, Monitoring, Recall procedures,
Regimes (temperature, time, sequence, handling,
etc.), Traceability, Vehicles
Good Storage
Practice
GSP GSP represents quality of management, control and
regulation of storage (warehouse) procedures and
regimes (temperature, time, handling, etc.) (Bucheli
and Taniwaki, 2002).
Microclimatic
conditions
Equipment, Marking, Monitoring, Maintenance
(calibration, service, etc.), Regimes (temperature,
time, FIFO, handling, etc.), Sanitary technical
conditions, Traceability
Good Retail
Practice
GRP GRP consist of practical procedures and processes that
ensure the right products are delivered to the right
addressee within a satisfactory time period and at
required conditions.
Supply and sale
conditions
Equipment, Hygiene, Labelling, Monitoring, Recall
procedures, Regimes (temperature, time, sequence,
handling, etc.), Retail, Service, Traceability,
Wholesale
Good Catering
Practice
GCP GCP includes procedures of preparation and distribution
of meals from a producer to a consumer (Kydd, 2002;
Larsen and Berry, 2003).
Foodstuffs Equipment, Hygiene, Food preparation, Logistic,
Marking, Monitoring, Regimes (temperature, time,
sequence, handling, etc.), Resource management
(raw materials, etc.), Service, Traceability
Good
Housekeeping
Practice
GKP GKP represents all hygiene principles and techniques
from purchase to home food preparation and
consumption of home prepared food.
Family (personal)
habits
Consumption, Food preparation, Hygiene, Motivation
Media
278
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GOOD NUTRITIONAL PRACTICE FROM PRODUCER TO CONSUMER 279
Figure 1 Novel approach of close link-up of all relevant good practices to
Good Nutrition Practice (GNP).
food. In all good practices (Table 1) are the HACCP elements
that compose the HACCP system as the main system in food
practice today. All practices are partial and not connected in the
comprehensive system. Good housekeeping practice (GKP) is
of the least importance for connecting the food system chain
into the food safety circle (Raspor, 2004). GKP is according
to a considerable number of FBD occurring in domestic food
preparation, still neglected. This paper offers a novel approach of
close link-up of all the relevant good practices to Good Nutrition
Practice (GNP), which could solve many issues since it involves
the last step in the food chain namely the consumer. In classical
food chain strategy all relevant activities are taken for the benefit
of the human being but locating them outside the system as a
consumer (Fig. 1).
Food safety is a result of several factors: legislation should lay
down minimum hygiene requirements; official controls should
be in place to check food business operators’ compliance, and
food business operators should establish and operate food safety
programs and procedures based on the HACCP principles.
Guides to good practice are a valuable instrument to aid food
business operators at all levels of the food chain in compliance
with food hygiene rules and with the application of the HACCP
principles (EU, 2004).
Figure 2 Analysis of factors contributing to food safety (GAP–Good Agri-
culture Practice; GMP–Good Manufacturing Practice; GLP–Good Laboratory
Practice; GHP–Good Hygiene Practice; GTP–Good Transport Practice; GSP–
Good Storage Practice; GRP–Good Retail Practice; GCP–Good Catering Prac-
tice; GKP–Good Housekeeping Practice; HACCP– Hazard Analysis Critical
Control Point; TQM–Total Quality Management).
Some food industries do not understand the concept of good
practices or even worse, they are afraid that they will weaken
the effectiveness of HACCP system (Panisello and Quantick,
2001). At the same time a question appears: “Pre-requisites: a
help or a hindrance to HACCP?” (Wallace and Wiliams, 2001)
or how to restore effective foundations to link the food safety
chain into the concluded circle, which will be based on trust
between particular units. Raspor (2004) was the first one, who
stressed the importance of restoring the system with GNP based
on factor analysis contributing to food safety (Fig. 2).
Figure 2 presents a list of all the systems that become subsys-
tems when we set a GNP and givea clear dimension to the control
of food safety, required in every subsystem. Control in the sense
of safety should get clear dimensions. Subsystems become con-
trollable if we eliminate causes for uncontrollable food safety,
described in chapter 3. It is interesting that in all of the practices
we do not find GNP that includes all the procedures, important
for growth, reproduction, and preparation of foodstuffs or meals
for the final consumer. It shows that all mentioned practices are
getting close to the consumer aspect, but do not get in touch
with him. Although they are set to serve the consumer, they are
leaving him outside their circle.
The problem is that all good practices today behave self-
sufficiently and they do not understand their specific role in
the food safety integrity–holistically insight is missing. Based
on the fact that good practices do not appear to be an integral
part of the food safety circle we established that it is necessary
and urgent to set the GNP, as a way of providing the consumer
with safe and quality food. Development of effective traceability
systems is a possible solution to solve these problems. We can
expect some solutions to these problems in the coming years.
How Effective is Food Safety Assurance?
Ensuring safe food for the consumer in the period of global-
ization, requires a great deal of responsibility and is a constant
task in both the developed and the developing countries. EU
countries have harmonized legislation and set control over food
production and trade. There is still no shared definition and un-
derstanding of food safety globally due to good practices. The
point is, that we do not treat food safety as a food safety cy-
cle “from the farm to the table, because we often focus on it
partially (only individual segments of the food chain), and we
neglect consumers. Each of us is a consumer, no matter at which
stage of the food chain we enter the safety cycle. That is why
GNP must be a link in the global vision of safety control, which
begins and ends in the concern for the consumer. But a con-
sumer is the one that is not informed enough on ensuring safe
food (Reid et al., 1998; Marklinder et al., 2004). Foodborne dis-
eases have emerged as an important and growing public health
and economic problem in many countries during the last two
decades. Redmond and Griffith (2003) assembled the annual
data of foodborne diseases and food related illnesses in some
countries. The results showed that 130 million Europeans, 2.1
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280
P. RASPOR AND M. JEV
ˇ
SNIK
million to 3.5 million Great Britons from England and Wales,
76 million Americans, and 4.7 million Australians have been
affected. A direct comparison of incidence data is not possible
because of the differences in the national surveillance systems;
however, it has been suggested that Australia, the United King-
dom, and the United States appear to have similar incidences of
FBD. Fielding and co-workers (2005) cited that food poisoning
outbreaks usually occur from SMEs in the food manufacturing
industry, which account for 99% of all food operations in the
UK.
Countries with reporting systems have documented signifi-
cant increases in the incidence of FBD outbreaks during the last
two decades (Rocourt et al., 2003). It is estimated that each year
FBD cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospi-
talizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States (Mead et al.,
2000) and 2,366,000 cases, 21,138 hospitalizations, 718 deaths
in England and Wales (Rocourt et al., 2003). In the Nether-
lands there are an estimated 2 million FBD every year, of which
30 to 50% are supposed to find their origin in family homes
(Oosterom, 1998). The burden of FBD is probably in the same
order of magnitude in most countries (Rocourt et al., 2003) of
the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD). The cause can be found in a better way of life, better
laboratory diagnostic, and an increasing number of infections
with new or more virulent types. In the last ten years Slovenia,
one of the smallest of the central European countries, registered
from 10,000 to 20,000 cases of intestinal infectious diseases
per year, which can be compared with the reported number of
diseases in other countries (Smole Moˇzina and Hoˇcevar Grom,
2004). Foodborne disease is a public health problem, which
comprises a broad group of illnesses (Tucker et al., 2006).
Analyzing various reports regarding annual incidences of dis-
eases caused by foodborne pathogens in some of the European
and non-European countries we acquired waste of data which is
hard to compare. Some data from the period 1998 to 2003 were
calculated from publications like WHO (Rocourt et al., 2003),
FoodNet (CDC, 2002) and IVZ RS (2005) respectively(Table 2).
However, it should be emphasized that these data are based upon
different monitoring systems and cannot be directly compared.
Some countries distinguish between domestically acquired cases
and cases acquired abroad; a large part of the observed varia-
tion might be accounted for by different diagnostic methods
and differences in the surveillance systems and the ways of
reporting.
Many studies focus on common mistakes made during food
processing procedures leading to foodborne diseases (Worsfold,
2001). As far back as the Bryan (1988) highlighted review up-
dates information about hazard operations that contributed to
FBD in the US and assesses the risk of each factor. He noted
that foods prepared in foodservice establishments account for
most of the reported outbreaks of foodborne disease. Reflect-
ing food habits and way of life, places where the implicated
outbreak vehicle is prepared or eaten, vary between nineteen
observed European and non-European countries. The evalua-
tion and classification of a place where food was prepared or
eaten was done on the basis of data reported by the Food Safety
Department, WHO (Rocourt et al., 2003) considering the lat-
est year of data between 1998 to 2001 selected for countries
with available data and compared with reported number of FBD
outbreaks in Slovenia for 2003 (IVZ RS, 2005). The results
show (Graph 1) an increase in incidences of family FBD out-
breaks. Many other authors reported similar results (Scott, 1996;
Sammarco et al., 1997; Johnson et al., 1998; Jones, 1998; Jay
et al., 1999; Meer and Misner, 2000). For instance, Marklinder
and co-workers (2004) mention the results from 102 households
in Sweden, which presents the lack of data of consumer refriger-
ation temperatures and storage times. Consumers need to know
which behaviors are most likely to result in illness in order to
make decisions regarding food handling and consumption be-
haviors (Hillers et al., 2003).
Many authors agree that the weakest link is definitely in-
correctness in the preparation of food in small and medium
size food businesses (Ay¸ci¸cek et al., 2004; Ba¸s et al., 2005;
Berm´udez-Mill´an et al., 2004; Walczak and Reuter, 2004;
Walker and Jones, 2002; Walket et al., 2003; Worsfold, 2001).
The situation in Slovenia regarding consumers as well as food
workers’ knowledge of food preparation in comparison with
available data of some EU and other countries is obviously worse
(Graph 1).
Contributory factors associated with the foodservice estab-
lishment relate to time and temperature situations and, hence,
their prevention and control are vital to food safety (e.g.
cool/chill, cook/freeze). The question is: Does industry vali-
date elements of HACCP plans at all?” (Scott, 2005). Problem
arises because a lot of people do not differentiate between vali-
dation and verification. The International Organization for Stan-
dardization (ISO, 2005) gives us a clear definition of the term
validation which means “Obtaining evidence that the control
measures managed by the HACCP plan and by the operational
PRPs are capable of being effective and verification, defined as
Graph 1 Comparison of the average incidence (FBD outbreaks/1.000.000)
in 14 EU and 5 other countries with incidence (FBD outbreaks/1.000.000) in
Slovenia regarding place of outbreak. Legend: * EU Countries (Denmark, Fin-
land, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal,
Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Slovenia) and non - EU
Countries (Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, United States).
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GOOD NUTRITIONAL PRACTICE FROM PRODUCER TO CONSUMER 281
Table 2 Annual incidence report by foodborne pathogens in some of the European and non-European countries from the period 1998 to 2003
Countries Year
1
Annual incidence
2
/Bacterial agents
Non-European countries
Canada 1999 37.7 18.4 4.9
Campylobacter spp. Salmonella, non typhoidal E. coli VTEC
United States 2002 16.2 13.3 10.8
Salmonella, non typhoidal Campylobacter spp. Shigella spp.
Japan 2001 3.9 2.4 1.8
Salmonella, non typhoidal Vibrio (excluding cholerae and
vulnificus)
E. coli Non-VTEC
Australia 2000 107.1 32.1 3.8
Campylobacter spp. Salmonella, non typhoidal Shigella spp.
New Zealand 2001 271.5 64.7 45.8
Campylobacter spp. Salmonella, non typhoidal Staphylococcus aureus
European countries
Austria 1998 89.3 30.3 2.1
Salmonella, non typhoida Campylobacter spp. Shigella spp.
Belgium 2000 137.0 73.0 5.0
Salmonella, non typhoidal Campylobacter spp. Yersinia enterocolitica
Czech Republic 1998 476.2 4.9 1.2
Salmonella, non typhoidal Shigella spp. E. coli VTEC
Denmark 2001 86.4 54.5 5.3
Campylobacter spp. Salmonella, non typhoidal Yersinia enterocolitica
Finland 76.4 52.6 14.0
Campylobacter spp. Salmonella, non typhoidal Yersinia enterocolitica
France 1998/1999 23.1 1.6 0.9
Salmonella, non typhoidal Shigella spp. E. coli VTEC
Germany 1998 118.6 2.0 0.1 Campylobacter spp.
Salmonella, non typhoidal Shigella spp. 0.1 Staphylococcus
aureus
Greece 1998 8.8 4.2 1.3
Salmonella, non typhoidal Brucella spp. Campylobacter spp.
Hungary 1998 179.3 6.4 2.0
Salmonella, non typhoidal Shigella spp. Campylobacter spp.
Iceland 2001 79.9 58.0 4.9
Campylobacter spp. Salmonella, non typhoidal Clostridium perfringens
Ireland 2000 57.5 17.6 2.0
Campylobacter spp. Salmonella, non typhoidal Shigella spp.
Italy 1998 25.1 2.6 0.1 Clostridium
botulinum
Salmonella, non typhoidal Brucella spp. 0.1 Listeria
monocytogenes
Luxembourg 1998 12.6
Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella, non typhoida
Netherlands 2001 30.6 0.3 0.1
Salmonella, non typhoidal E. coli VTEC Salmonella Typhi
Norway 2001 64.2 42.0 4.2
Campylobacter spp. Salmonella, non typhoidal Shigella spp.
Poland 1998 69.0 1.0 0.2
Salmonella, non typhoidal Staphylococcus aureus Clostridium botulinum
Portugal 1998 7.9 6.2 0.2
Brucella spp. Salmonella, non typhoidal Clostridium botulinum
Slovak Republik 1998 398.3 26.1 19.9
Salmonella, non typhoidal Campylobacter spp. Shigella spp.
Spain 1998 16.8 11.1 3.9
Salmonella, non typhoidal Campylobacter spp. Brucella spp.
Slovenia 2003 33.5 14.4 4.6
Salmonella Enteritidis Unknown source Staphylococcus aureus
Sweden 2001 96.3 52.9 6.5
Campylobacter spp. Salmonella, non typhoidal Yersinia enterocolitica
Switzerland 1998 76.5 42.1 7.0
Campylobacter spp. Salmonella Typhi and
Salmonella, non typhoida
Shigella spp.
(Continue on next page)
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Table 2 Annual incidence report by foodborne pathogens in some of the European and non-European countries from the period 1998 to 2003
Countries Year
1
Annual incidence
2
/Bacterial agents
Turkey 1998 48.1 19.6 2.3
Salmonella Typhi Brucella spp. Shigella spp.
United Kingdom 2000 95.0 25.2 1.6
Campylobacter spp. Salmonella Typhi and
Salmonella, non typhoida
Shigella spp.
1
Latest available year of data from the period 1998 to 2003 selected for each country.
2
Incidence rate per 100,000.
“Confirmation, through the provision of objective evidence, that
specified requirements have been fulfilled” (ISO, 2005). Valida-
tion is the element of verification focused on collecting and eval-
uating scientific and technical information to determine whether
the HACCP plan, when properly implemented, will effectively
control the hazards.
The source of FBD outbreaks is unknown in most of the
reported cases. Foods most frequently involved in outbreaks
are eggs and egg products, meat and meat products, and con-
fectionery products, with the likely implication of these foods
being associated with Salmonella and Campylobacter. Accord-
ing to the latest available data in Slovenia, home prepared foods,
mostly confectionery products containing insufficient thermi-
cally treated egg cream (tiramisu, etc.) and products containing
mayonnaise, are the main source of foodborne illnesses. Evalu-
ation and classification of food groups was done on the basis of
data reported by the Food Safety Department, WHO (Rocourt
et al., 2003) considering the latest year of data between 1998
to 2001 selected for countries with available data and compared
with the reported number of FBD outbreaks in Slovenia for 2003
(IVZ RS, 2005). Graph 2 shows results of the average incidence
(FBD outbreaks/1.000.000) in 14 European and 6 other coun-
tries (P < 0,05) regarding the type of food.
Graph 2 Comparison the average incidence (FBD outbreaks / 1.000.000)
in 14 EU and 6 other countries with incidence (FBD outbreaks/1.000.000) in
Slovenia regarding type of foods involved in outbreak. Legend: * EU countries
(Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands,
Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Slovenia)
and other countries (Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United
States).
FOOD SAFETY PARAMETERS
End-product testing alone is unable to assure safe food pro-
duction and hence the HACCP approach has been adopted for
the elimination or reduction of the identified hazard(s) to an ac-
ceptable level. HACCP is a systematic approach in identifying
the hazards at any stage of the food chain, assessing the re-
lated risks, and determining the areas where control is needed.
Monitoring and verification procedures form an integral part of
the system in the maintenance of safe food. Prior to effectively
implementing HACCP, food business should already have in
place various practices including ingredient and product speci-
fications, staff training, cleaning, and disinfectant regimes, hy-
gienically designed facilities, and be engaged in GHP. These may
be termed collectively as prerequisite programs (PRP) (Walker
et al., 2003).
The most common causes of hazards along the food supply
chain are connected with some biological, chemical, or physi-
cal parameters which have to be managed. From the available
data reported by Food Safety Department, WHO (Rocourt et al.,
2003) time/temperature abuse appears to be the most frequent
contributing factor in eleven OECD countries. Factors involved
in foodborne diseases represent four main groups (A, B, C, D)
of contributing parameters, related to contamination (e.g. cross
contamination, improper storage), to the survival of microorgan-
isms (e.g. time/temperature abuse), to those related to microbial
growth that can contribute to outbreaks (e.g. food prepared too
far in advance), and other parameters, mostly unknown sources
(Graph 3).
We could not neglect the contamination of foods, which may
occur through environmental pollution of the air, water, soil,
such as the case with toxic metals, polychlorinated biphenyls
(PCBs), and dioxins. Other chemical hazards, such as naturally
occurring toxicants, may arise at various points during food
production, harvest, processing, and preparation. The contami-
nation of food by chemical hazards is generally well-controlled
in the OECD countries. The safe use of various chemicals such
as food additives, pesticides, veterinary drugs, and other agro-
chemicals is also largely assured in OECD countries by proper
regulation, enforcement, and monitoring. However, sporadic
problems with chemical hazards continue to occur pointing to
the need for constant vigilance. These topics were discussed in
several works since they permit several comparisons and anal-
ysis (ICMSF, 1996; Garbutt, 1997; Hoornstra, 2001; Rocourt
et al., 2003; Raspor, 2004).
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GOOD NUTRITIONAL PRACTICE FROM PRODUCER TO CONSUMER 283
Graph 3 Evaluation of FBD outbreaks showed eight parameters connected to contamination (A), two parameters with survival of microbes (B), three parameters
with microbial growth (C) and five others (D) which represent 38.6%, 29.4%, 4.5% and 27.5%. Legend: * Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland,
New Zealand, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
Important Factors Influencing Food Safety
Food safety issues are triggered by various hazards, including
microbiological hazards (E. coli, Carnpylohacter, Salmonella,
Listeria, etc.), nutritional hazards (fat consumption, obesity
levels), environmental hazards (pesticides, heavy metals, ni-
trates, etc.), natural hazards (chemicals naturally occurring in
foods (ingredients); and food composition hazards (Barendsz,
1998).
Microbiological contamination is often perceived to be the
main threat to human health from food. However, some-
times chemical residues are perceived to be the main health
risk, especially when long-term effects are considered. When
compared in terms of the producer’s risk it must be real-
ized that microbiological contamination (and physical con-
taminants) can be effectively controlled by many food pro-
cessing operations. However, it is hardly possible to formu-
late an effective control system for chemical contamination
(Barendsz, 1998) in particular when naturally or process added,
degraded, and transformed compounds in food matrices are in
question.
Analyzing foodstuffs with food safety in mind calls for seg-
mentation according to its influence as follows:
Structure of Foodstuffs and their Physical, Chemical, and
Structural Properties
The development of microorganisms is the most frequent in
foodstuffs that contain lots of low-molecular substances (e.g.
simple monosaccharide sugar), which are easily degraded and
used for the further growth of microorganisms. Physical char-
acteristics of foodstuffs that have proven to be especially im-
portant when analyzing the development of microorganisms in-
clude a
w
value of foodstuffs, pH value, content, and propor-
tion of organic acids, the presence of preservatives and their
consistency. Foodstuffs can also contain chemical components
such as allergens, micotoxins, veterinary drugs, pesticides, and
other agro-chemicals. It is obvious that with new practices in
food production also new foodborne pathogens could appear.
For example:
In 1991, an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection (23 cases) in
Massachusetts was associated with consumption of an apple cider
prepared from a cider mill. Ninety percent of the apples used in the
cider were “drops” ± apples collected from the ground. Contamination
may have occurred prior to harvest or at harvest. Low pH and temper-
ature have been presumed to be barriers to survival and growth of E.
coli O157:H7; however, prolonged survival has been documented at a
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pH less than 4.0 and at refrigerator temperature (8
C) in experimentally
contaminated apple cider. To prevent future similar outbreaks, the prac-
tice of using “drops” in cider and using unprocessed manure and manure
composted under the current state of composting practices as fertilizer
should be reviewed (De Roever, 1998).
Microflora of Foodstuffs and Environment
Microflora causes hazard when further procedures of pro-
cessing do not assure their destruction or even enable further
development of microorganisms. Three groups of microorgan-
isms that have been proven to present microbiological hazards
are: bacteria, viruses, and parasites (protozoa, nematodes, trema-
todes, and cestodes). Each of them represents a very specific
group of microbes. However, all of them are specific in specific
environments or environment and can be easily transported by
traditional routes linked to the food chain. For instance the major
contaminant, especially in high perishable food, are still bacteria
and among them Salmonella. For example:
Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Typhimurium have been re-
ported most frequently as the major causative agents of human salmonel-
losis. In many EU countries the Salmonellae that most frequently cause
human gastroenteritis are S. Typhimurium and, especially in more re-
cent years, S. Enteritidis, particularly Phage Type 4 (PT4). The other
serotypes involved in human illness vary geographically but frequently
include S. Agona, S. Hadar, S. Heidelberg, S. Infantis, S. Newport, S.
Panama, S. Saint-paul, S. Thompson, and S. Virchow. Salmonellae are
capable of multiplying under aerobic or anaerobic conditions, and over
a wide temperature range (5–46
C), with an optimum for growth of
between 35
C and 43
C. At 8
C doubling times of salmonellae were
reported to be between 22 and 35 h. Although the lowest temperature at
which salmonellae may grow is approximately 5
C, most serotypes fail
to grow in food stored below 7
C (EC, 2003).
The values of pH that are higher than 9 or lower than 4 in-
hibit the growth of Salmonellae. Free available water also con-
trols growth; in the Salmonella case if the value is lower than
0.94, measured as water activity (a
w
). Water activity is defined
as relative availability of the water in a substance. Pure wa-
ter has aw of 1, and potential hazardous foods have a
w
0.85
or higher. Consequently it is sometimes difficult to distinguish
bacteriostatic from bactericidal effects due to the combined in-
fluence of a variety of factors. In principle, the most reliable
means of controlling growth of salmonellae are chill storage
or heat. The primary production of food animals remains the
most important reservoir of Salmonellae entering the human
food chain, since a salmonellae-free production system can-
not be achieved for all the animal species. Controls at slaugh-
ter and dressing are often not sufficient to prevent salmonel-
lae entering the food chain. In foods, the main factors affect-
ing microbial growth and survival are pH, a
w
, and tempera-
ture. Other important factors include the competing microflora,
the initial number of salmonellae, and their physiological
state.
Nonetheless some other new foodborne pathogens are also
entering the food chain, causing large difficulties to producer and
problems to consumers. For example Campylobacter is the lead-
ing cause of zoonotic enteric human infections in most devel-
oped countries. Most human campylobacteriosis are classified
as sporadic single cases or part of small family related outbreaks
(Rosenquist et al., 2003). For example:
Buzby (2001) stated that Campylobacter is the most commonly re-
ported cause of FBD in United States (16). Each year it causes around
2 million cases of FBD, 10,000 hospitalizations, and 100 deaths. In the
United States, infants (under 1 year old) have the highest reported inci-
dence of campylobacteriosis; young adults age 20 to 29 are the illness’s
second highest risk group. High incidence of Campylobacter was re-
ported also by Rosenquist et al. (2003) who stated that in Denmark,
Campylobacter surpassed Salmonella in 1999, where more than 4000
human cases of campylobacteriosis (78 cases per 100,000 populations)
were registered.
Food Preparation
Procedures are considered as causes of hazard when they
do not ensure complete destruction/elimination of pathogenic
microorganisms (vegetative shapes and spores) or are carried
out in a way that enables contamination of foodstuffs during
the process of preparation. They are also a risk factor when
they do not reduce chemical and physical hazards to the accept-
able level or exclude a material that cannot be processed into a
safe food product. However, in current practices microbes still
present a high risk to consumer, especially if fast food technol-
ogy is applied. It is quite often the case that we face inconsisten-
cies in technological process at the so-called critical points. For
example:
An outbreak of gastroenteritis associated with S. bredeney (serovar
O:4 H:Lv 1,7) occurred in Belfast, Northern Ireland in November 1997.
In total, ten cases were confirmed, of which eight had consumed chicken
cooked at local butcher’s and retailed through one of two local bakeries.
The person in one of the remaining cases was secondarily infected within
her home and the the person in the last case had eaten a product other
than cooked chicken from one of the bakeries. Food preparation practices
were inadequate in one of the bakeries in question and record keeping
and possibly cooking procedures were inadequate at the butcher’s. S. bre-
deney was isolated from an uncooked chicken supplied to the butcher’s
confirming that improperly cooked chicken was most likely the source of
the outbreak. All outbreak clinical isolates were indistinguishable from
each other and were similar to the isolate obtained from the uncooked
poultry demonstrating that these DNA-based methods were valuable in
the molecular characterization of S. bredeney. This report emphasizes
the importance and maintenance of an effective hazard analysis criti-
cal control point (HACCP) approach to the processing and retailing of
foodstuffs containing chicken in order to help eliminate hazards to public
health (Moorea et al., 2003).
Materials, Instruments and Other Equipment
It is possible to produce safe foodstuffs when the equip-
ment enables us to control the parameters of the process (e.g.
temperature and time of specific stages of the process). Once
the critical control points have been identified, appropriate con-
trol measures should be implemented. For all hazards, critical
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GOOD NUTRITIONAL PRACTICE FROM PRODUCER TO CONSUMER 285
limits must be established and meet the specified tolerances
to ensure the safety of the food. For example critical limits
may need to be set for temperature-time rations and temper-
ature during cooling. Adams (2001) highlighted the practicabil-
ity of the Heisler model to predict the cooling effects of various
types of equipment on different types of food. Another impor-
tant fact in food establishments is the suitability of equipment,
which comes into contact with food. Equipment that is required
should be made of materials that are suitable for cleaning and
are not easily breakable. Additional safety can be assured by
adding filters, magnets, and metal detectors. Materials should
be chemically stable, inert, and should not wear off in the deter-
mined period of time, regardless of the frequency of processes.
They should have a smooth surface, which enables wet clean-
ing, and sterilization. They should also be worker safe without
any danger to health. The materials and equipment are consid-
ered to be risk factors if they do not meet these criteria. For
example:
Huss and co-workers (2000) reported the preventive measures in-
clude the formulation of a cleaning and sanitizing program specifically
designed at reducing the presence of L. monocytogenes in the factory en-
vironment, the safe elimination of L. monocytogenes from heat treated
products and prevention of growth in ready to eat (RTE) products within
the normal shelf life and conditions started on the label. At least three
outbreaks of listeriosis associated with seafood have been reported. Con-
tamination or recontamination of seafood may also take place during pro-
cessing and low levels (<100cfu/g) of L. monocytogenes are frequently
found on seafood including RTE products.
Characteristics of Workplace, where Production, Processing
and Transport of Foodstuffs Takes Place
Contamination of food during processing happens more
often if the paths of the material, the waste, the end prod-
uct and the packing materials crossing points are not con-
trolled. The situation can be even worse in acclimatized
workplaces.
Interior microclimate (temperature, illumination, noise,
ventilation) is in close relation with machinery, equipment, and
technological processes that take place in the workplace. It also
depends on the size of a workplace and the type of processes.
Controlling the microclimate enables us to effectively prevent
contamination hazards and health risks for employees (Likar,
2002).
Ventilation and constant supply of fresh air is important in
assuring normal working conditions and preventing a stagnant
atmosphere. Natural or artificial ventilation is therefore essen-
tial and should be capable of removing polluted air. Insuffi-
cient ventilation or inappropriate installation can be an epi-
demiological risk factors and serve as on–path for spreading
microorganisms.
The temperature in the workplace and storage depends on a
type of performed processes and should reflect the needs of the
product, ensuring its stability.
Red meat samples collected from a deboning room of a high through-
put abattoir shown enumerated aerobic and Enterobacteriaceae plate
count. Sixty percent of the samples were positive for presumptive
Salmonella spp. while 52% of the samples tested positive for the pres-
ence of L. monocytogenes. The extent of contamination is dependent
upon the local environment, the throughput of meat, the temperature and
the cleanliness of utensils such as the cutting tables, conveyor belt and
knives (Nel et al., 2004).
Packing Material
European legislation regulates migration from food contact
materials, such as packaging, into foods by an overall migra-
tion limit (OML) applicable to the total of the migrating mate-
rial and specific migration limits (SMLs) referring to individual
substances or groups of substances. The EU Directives on plas-
tics in contact with food, presently Directive 2002/72/EC and its
amendments, are the leading legislation, complimented by the
directives regarding technical aspects (Grob et al., 2007). SMLs
are a risk management tool derived from toxicological data, such
as tolerable daily intakes (TDIs), or from a limited toxicologi-
cal assessment ensuring safety only for a low migration. PVC
cling films releasing plasticizers, such as di-(2-ethylhexyl) adi-
pate (DEHA), into cheese or meat are used as examples to show
that the high migrations tolerated by present legal limits are also
exploited. In EU the legal limit for DEHA is 18 mg/kg (Direc-
tive 2002/72). Since films are not fillable, this limit applies as
migration per surface area derived from the ratio of 6 dm
2
/kg
food, i.e. as 3 mg/dm
2
(Grob et al., 2007).
Plastic food wraps, containers, and glass jars and bottles play
an important role in protecting foods. Plastics of many kinds are
widely used in the manufacture of a wide range of food wraps
and containers.
The function of packing material is to control the food envi-
ronment and to preserve the food. For example nisin is approved
as a natural food preservative and knits together both functions.
Nisin, a bacteriocin produced by strains of Lactococcus lactis
subsp. lactis, is widely used as a preservative in pasteurized pro-
cessed cheeses and cheese spreads (Delves-Broughton, 1990).
It is the only bacteriocin which has been approved by the World
Health Organization (WHO) to be used as a preservative in the
food industry. Nisin displays inhibitory activity towards a broad
range of Gram-positive organisms, including L. monocytogenes
and Bacillus cereus (Jaquette and Beuchat, 1998). Gallo and co-
workers (2006) pointed out the effectiveness of nisin in control-
ling the growth of L. innocua in liquid cheese whey (LCW) was
more pronounced at 75
C than at 20
C and as the pH decreased
from 6.5 to 5.5. As a consequence, this combined treatment
may provide LCW with a degree of protection against this mi-
croorganism, particularly if employed in conjunction with low
temperature.
Safety of foods packed in glass jars and bottles is ques-
tionable because of a substance called semicarbazide (EFSA,
2003). Packing material together with the process of packing
can be a hazardous point and pose a threat if it fails to prevent
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contamination of food. It has been proven that it can be a source
of contamination by itself as well. Any potential threats origi-
nating from a package should be clearly written, informing cus-
tomer about proper handling (Sperber, 2001). For example:
Semicarbazide has recently been detected in food contact materials
made by using azodicarbonamide, a substance which has been used for
over 20 years to make plastic seals for lids on glass jars. Semicarbazide
(SEM) belongs to a family of chemicals (hydrazine’s) which are known
to cause cancer in laboratory animals. While semicarbazide has not been
extensively tested for toxic effects, it may also be genotoxic. The foods
that have been reported to contain SEM include baby foods, fruit juices,
jams and conserves, honey, ketchups and mayonnaise, pickles and ster-
ilized vegetables and sauces. The levels of SEM reported in these foods
are variable, ranging from non detectable up to 25 ppb. Baby foods are
reported to have highest concentrations, perhaps because of the higher
ratio of gasket area to food mass given the small pack sizes for these
foods. Given the present uncertainties in the science, and the fact that
potential exposure to this substance on a body weight basis is likely to be
the highest for infants, experts believe that it would be prudent to reduce
the presence of SEM in baby foods (EFSA, 2003).
Storage and Transport
Improper storage can damage packing material and contam-
inate its content. Great care must be taken to prevent this un-
til the product reaches a customer. Special attention should be
practiced with fast perishable foodstuffs. The term food trade
indicates all the postproduction procedures: storage, transport,
distribution, and retail of final products, their export and import.
The cold chain maintaining in retail represents the biggest prob-
lem to producers and retailers (Likar and Jevˇsnik, 2006). For
highly perishable foodstuffs a cold chain below 5
C or at a tem-
perature that is indicated on a label and required by the producer
is essential. According to our regulations and EU regulations
on the labelling of pre-packaged foodstuffs proper information
should be labelled on the products. For foodstuffs with longer
durability the appropriate microclimatic conditions are neces-
sary and the products should be sold only until their expira-
tion date. All foodstuffs have to be stored in original, undam-
aged packaging with a clear and complete labelling in domestic
language.
Microbial contamination reduces the shelf life of foods and
increases the foodborne diseases. Some of the traditional meth-
ods of preserving foods from the effect of microbial growth can-
not be implied in products such as fresh meats and RTE products.
Quintavalla and Vicini (2002) highlighted antimicrobial pack-
aging as a promising form of active food packaging that is an
innovative concept. Refrigeration is the only barrier for RTE
products, and temperature abuse at any of the supply chain from
the processing plants to the consumer’s refrigerator, could accel-
erate the growth of L. monocytogenes. Most RTE foods received
little or no final heat treatment before being consumed because
such foods are assumed to be, and often labelled as, fully cooked.
There have been reported illnesses resulting when supposedly
RTE foods were not reheated before consumption (Mytle et al.,
2004).
As a result of L. monocytogenes widespread distribution in
the environment, its ability to survive long periods of time un-
der adverse conditions, and its ability to grow at refrigeration
temperatures, Listeria is now recognized as an important food-
borne pathogen. One of the biggest challenges confronting the
food industry is control of L. monocytogenes contamination and
propagation in RTE meats. For example:
Mytle and co-workers (2004) highlighted the inhibitory effect of
clove oil (1% and 2%, v/w) applied to the surface of RTE chicken frank-
furters was determined on seven strains of L. monocytogenes. All strains
of L. monocytogenes survived and grew on control frankfurters at 5
C
and 15
C but growth was inhibited under both storage conditions in the
presence of either 1% or 2% clove oil. Clove oil, an herbal extract, con-
tains eugenol which when tested on various agar media has antimicrobial
properties and has been shown to inhibit L. monocytogenes, Campy-
lobacter jejuni, Salmonella is, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus
aureus.
Epidemics caused by contamination of food during trans-
port have occurred periodically since 1956. Contaminated food-
stuffs are usually powders, such as flour and sugar coming
into contact with a toxic agent when the alimentary product is
transported or stored together with the pesticide or in a place
previously contaminated by the toxic agent (e.g. insecticide
with a low LD
50
). The population affected is usually large, in-
volving at least a number of families usually living near the
source of distribution of contaminated food, such as bakery. For
example:
One of the most characteristic episodes happened in SaudiArabiaand
Qatar in 1967 when 2 freight loads of flour were contaminated when they
were transported beneath loads of endrin causing 4 outbreaks. Altogether
874 people were admitted to hospital and 26 died (Ferrer and Cabral,
1995).
Instructions for Consumer and Food Labelling
Certain types of food (containing allergens) or food in-
tended for people who are more susceptible to infections (in
hospitals, homes for elderly people, and children) should in-
clude additional instructions and information. Improper prepa-
ration and use by the customer can lead to contamination
and increased incidence of infections. Labelling should in-
clude special storage conditions and instructions for use where
needed.
Information about the foodstuffs that accompanies them
should be clear and comprehensive and should not be misleading
for the consumer in any way. EU has food labelling legislation
which began with Council Directive 79/112/EEC. They added
additional information by Council Directive 2000/13/EC and its
amendment 2003/89/EC. An introductory statement stresses that
prime consideration for any rules on the labelling of foodstuffs
should be the need to inform and protect the consumer giving
him the exact nature and characterization of the product thereby
enabling him to make his choice in full knowledge of the facts
(Przyrembel, 2004).
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GOOD NUTRITIONAL PRACTICE FROM PRODUCER TO CONSUMER 287
The members of an EU funded networking project, inform
all, focusing on developing strategies for the provision of cred-
ible, reliable sources of information for food allergy sufferers,
regulators and the food industry, have been considering these
matters with respect to food labelling (Mills et al., 2004). Con-
sumer perceptions thus show an increasing concern about food
safety and about properties of the food they buy and eat. Al-
though much information is available as a result of labelling
conventions, this does not always translate into more confidence.
It is of great importance to the food industry to protect brands
in order to restore and maintain consumer confidence. It has
been recognized that there is an increasing need for transparent
information on the quality of the entire food chain, supported
by modern tracking and tracing methods. High quality food, in-
tegrity, and associated services and information should be guar-
anteed. Consumers call for food that can be fully trusted, they
ask for safety guarantees and information with integrity to con-
firm their trust (Beulens et al., 2005). Insufficient or improper
labelling could cause serious illness or even death as was the
case in accidental consumption of trigger foods, such as peanuts
and other nuts. For example:
The recent tragic death of young athlete following consumption of
nuts in a Coronation chicken sandwich, matches the reported pattern.
Most peanut/nut allergy fatalities occur in the retail setting, where pro-
ducers, retailers and environmental health officers may have insufficient
knowledge of the actions and interventions necessary to protect sensitive
consumers (Leitch et al., 2001).
Health, Hygiene and Education/Training of Workers
Workers coming in contact with food during its production
and processing path are often a vector of contamination espe-
cially when they are not properly educated, trained, or ill.
A majority of FBD outbreaks result from faulty food han-
dling practices in small and medium sized food businesses, and
this applies even where an advanced safety control system is em-
ployed. Bare and gloved hands of food handlers can be vectors
in the spread of food borne disease because of poor personal
hygiene or cross-contamination (Ay¸ci¸cek et al., 2004). Food
handlers who are symptomatically ill may present a real haz-
ard and should be excluded from work. Educating food han-
dlers is a crucial line of defence in the prevention of most
types of food borne illnesses (Nel et al., 2004; Legnani et al.,
2004).
To gain results it is necessary to develop a new viewpoint
for educating and training specific groups of persons who man-
age with food (food handlers, managers). In this context we
should not forget a specific group which verifies, the so-called
food inspectors. Cotterchio et al. (1998) established that food
manager training and certification programs may be an effec-
tive way to improve the sanitary conditions of restaurants and
reduce the spread of foodborne illnesses. Food handlers play an
important role in the transmission of FBD, because they may
introduce pathogens into foods during production, processing,
distribution, and preparation. For example:
Only 48.7% responding food handlers in the area of Catanzaro, Italy,
knew the main foodborne pathogens and this knowledge was signifi-
cantly greater among those with a higher education level, in practice
from a longer period of time, and who had attended education courses.
A vast majority correctly indicated those foods classified as common
vehicles for FBD, and only 7.1% of food handlers were able to name
five different food vehicles, each of which transmit one of the five
pathogens (Angelillo et al., 2000). Ba¸s and co-workers (2005) estab-
lished that food handlers in Turkish food businesses often have lack of
knowledge regarding the basic food hygiene (critical temperatures of hot
or cold ready-to-eat foods, acceptable refrigerator temperature ranges,
and cross-contamination etc.). There is an immediate need for educa-
tion and increasing awareness among food handlers regarding safe food
handling practices.
FOOD SAFETY DILEMMAS OF THE CONSUMER
Fast ways of living and constant lack of time is a global
problem that dictates objective changes in the everyday envi-
ronment. As the global food-marketing environment becomes
more and more turbulent and competitive, marketers must “fol-
low” and understand the changes in consumers’ food-related
attitudes and behaviors, and be willing to react and adapt to this
information (Reid et al., 2005). There is a steady stream of con-
ferences and lectures on the consumer of the future, on trends in
food consumption, about the rapid changes in consumer demand,
and about the need for innovation of food producers as a way
to survive. Major topics mentioned in this context are usually
health concern, the role of convenience, the importance of vari-
ety and new experiences, linking “stories” to food, ethical, and
environmental issues (Grunert, 2006). Grunert and co-workers
(2001) have documented the food-related lifestyle concept that
are connected with food culture. Changing consumer needs have
led to a rapid growth of convenience food sales in recent years.
These changing consumer needs were a result of major macro-
economic changes that occurred in developed countries in the
last few decades (Jago, 2000). We experienced an explosion in
the supply of new food products in most markets (Grunert et al.,
2001). Prepared consumer foods (convenience foods) have an
important role in developed countries (De Boer et al., 2004).
The literature on public perceptions of food related hazards
is relatively recent (Sparks and Shepherd, 1994a,b; Fife-Schaw
and Rowe, 1996; Grobe et al., 1999; Williams and Hammitt,
2001). Researchers have suggested that the public’s reaction to
risk is underpinned by quality hazards not taken into account
by experts (Slovic, 1993). Public opinion on the evolution of
food safety over the last ten years is divided: 38% consider that
it has improved, 29% feel that it has stayed about the same
and 28% believe that we are now worse off (Eurobarometer,
2005).
Rosati and Saba (2004) estimated that consumers were more
worried about those food hazards that were well-known to them
and, consequently, less worried about food hazards that were
less known. Moreover, the study indicated that perceived per-
sonal risk and the individual’s own knowledge of potential food
risks were two distinct dimensions of food risk perception. It
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SNIK
was found that the reliability of knowledge held by agencies
about risks associated with food-related hazards to human health
and the trustworthiness of the sources of information were two
important factors of consumer trust. One of the potential reasons
for the lack of trust in institutions and institutional activities
mentioned by Frewer and co-workers (2004) is that the pub-
lic perceives that institutions have failed to take account of the
actual concerns of the public as part of their risk management
activities.
However, when consumers are reminded of the possible risks
associated with food, concerns appear to be quite widespread.
People do not differentiate greatly between the various types of
risks although they are more likely to worry about risks caused
by external factors over which they have no control (Eurobarom-
eter, 2005). At the top end of the “worry” scale, consumers
express concern regarding external factors that are clearly identi-
fied as dangerous (pesticides residues, new viruses such as avian
influenza, residues in meats, contamination of food by bacteria,
unhygienic conditions outside home). In the mid-range, one
finds other external factors such as environmentalpollutants (e.g.
mercury), genetically modified organisms (GMOs), food addi-
tives, animal welfare, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy
(BSE). Consumers appear to be less concerned about personal
factors (such as individual susceptibility to food allergies) or
other factors linked to their own behavior (e.g. food preparation,
food hygiene at home, and putting on weight) (Eurobarometer,
2005).
Frewer and co-workers (2004) stated that in a demographic
society where choice exists, people will not consume foods
that they associate with some negative attribute. Various factors
may contribute to concerns. A number of surveys and opinion
polls have sought to identify consumer attitudes to food and
its safety (O’Fallon et al., 2007; Eurobarometer, 2005; Frewer
et al., 2004; Rosati and Saba, 2004; Banati and Lakner, 2003).
Kuznesof and Brennan (2004) presented the results of an ex-
ploratory focus group where food concerns have been catego-
rized according to hazard type. The results show a range of con-
cerns varying from anxieties relating to each stage of the food
chain (e.g. specific food issues, such as genetically modified
foods and the use of additives and preservatives in processed
foods, were frequently mentioned). O’Fallon and co-workers
(2007) examined the data from the Eurobarometer 53 and they
ascertained that many (roughly 73% of the sample) of the in-
dividuals residing in the 15 European countries are less likely
to purchase a food product with a label indicating the existence
of a genetically modified ingredient. Research by Plahuta and
co-workers (2007) has shown that the opinion of Slovenian con-
sumers, retail chain representatives, and professionals (oenolo-
gists) about GMO is refusal (e.g. the majority believe that GMO
will be on the market within five years). Banati and Lakner
(2003) pointed out that the level of knowledge on biotechnol-
ogy is rather mixed, and that is why the Hungarian consumers
do not yet have a well-defined opinion on genetically engineered
products.
GOOD NUTRITIONAL PRACTICE FROM PRODUCERS
TO CONSUMERS
The long, global evolution and use of HACCP in food pro-
cessing plants provided overwhelming documentation that the
HACCP system of food safety was very effective at controlling
identified foodborne hazards (Sperber, 2005b). Food business
operators shall ensure that all stages of production, process-
ing, and distribution of food under their control satisfy the rele-
vant hygiene requirements laid down in the Regulation (EC) No
852/2004. Successful implementation of the procedures based
on the HACCP principles will require the full cooperation and
commitment of food business employees. To this end, employ-
ees should undergo training.
The efficiency of the HACCP system, especially in small and
medium sized enterprises (SMEs), is questionable. Lately the
authors of technical and scientific articles (Sperber, 2005a,b;
Azanza and Zamora-Luna, 2005; Taylor and Taylor, 2004a,b;
Hennroid and Sneed, 2004; Vela and Fern´andez, 2003) are
searching barriers for the system efficiency. Jevˇsnik and co-
workers (2006) allocate seven elements (training, human re-
sources, planning, knowledge and competence, management
commitment) representing almost 50% (47,8%) of all the iden-
tified barriers using meta-analysis.
Practical experience and a review of food safety literature
performed by Taylor and Kane (2005) indicates that success
in developing, installing, monitoring, and verifying a success-
ful HACCP system depends on overcoming a complex mix of
managerial, organizational, and technical obstacles. Even the
largest and well-equipped food companies with significant re-
sources of money, technical expertise, and management skills
face a difficult challenge; whilst the SMEs often feel that the
difficulties of HACCP are potentially insurmountable (Taylor
and Kane, 2005). The fact that a person is and will be responsi-
ble for HACCP implementation and further control calls for an
in-depth analysis and understanding of the individual’s reaction
to received information (Jevˇsnik et al., 2006). This can be ap-
proached from different perspectives as was indicated already
in 2001 for complex behavioral barriers in the food safety area
(Gilling et al., 2001).
It is also important to research consumer knowledge, behav-
ior and attitudes toward food safety. International studies in-
dicated that a significant proportion of FBD arises from prac-
tices in the home kitchen (Scott et al., 1982; Bryan, 1988; Scott,
1996; Raspor et al., 2006). Domestic food preparation can negate
much of the efforts of primary and secondary food producers to
provide safe food (Oosterom, 1998; Jay et al., 1999). Several
studies among different kinds of consumer groups (Sammarco
et al., 1997; Johnson et al., 1998; Jay et al., 1999; Meer and
Misner, 2000; Leitch et al., 2001; Berm´udez-Mill´an et al., 2004;
Anderson et al., 2004; Marklinder et al., 2004) have identified
food prepared in the family home as a major source of food poi-
soning and uncovered a lack of food safety knowledge and the
need for promoting improved food safety behaviors aiming at
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GOOD NUTRITIONAL PRACTICE FROM PRODUCER TO CONSUMER 289
Figure 3 Food safety platform: balance model for ensuring food safety from
good nutritional practices viewpoint.
particular target groups. The fact is that household food safety
education is needed to minimize the risk of exposure to food-
borne pathogens. The results of a number of previously men-
tioned consumer food safety research shows that the levels of
understanding, motivation, and trust needs to be further culti-
vated and raised. It has been shown that the present maintenance
of food safety in the food chain can be easily broken down, be-
cause of the different kinds of barriers or simple misunderstand-
ing. So, the important perspective is to educate the public about
safe food handling and preparation of foods throughout the sys-
tem of good nutritional practice that emphasizes hazardous food
handling techniques and the microbiological causes of FBD.
For solving the existing barriers in implementing and main-
taining the food safety system in all the steps in the food supply
chain it is necessarily to link-up of all relevant good practices
from farm to table to the one, named Good Nutrition Practice
(GNP), which could solve many issues since it involves the last
step in the food chain—the consumer (Fig. 3).
In all of the mentioned practices there are HACCP elements
there that comprise of the HACCP system as the main system
in food practice today. All practices are partial and are not con-
nected in a comprehensive system. Therefore a new approach
called GNP should be adopted to balance food safety. It is impor-
tant to restore the existing food safety system with GNP, based
on a model (Fig. 3) that covers subsystems with other good
practices. Clustering all the practices in a proper ratio under the
shield of GNP has been shown to be an appropriate platform for
achieving the final goal—safe and healthy food for consumers.
However, in daily practice most of the critical points are de-
pending on a particular person in a particular place. If we do not
perform adequate training, mainly appropriate education within
human resources, we can not expect to have professionals with
highly developed skills or high knowledge which makes rele-
vant control and documentation. And now this is expressed with
adequate information of the particular process. This integration
under GNP is based on the product of the professionals’ activity,
which is food. In that the particular food skills, knowledge, and
information are integrated. If we enable these together, with our
high quality personnel that the ratio of these activities is just
proper, then we deliver a good, nutrient, and safe product to the
consumer’s table. And this is the global goal of GNP based on
a comprehensive platform which includes all the needed instru-
ments and all the partners but also respecting the consumer as a
critical element in this philosophy.
CONCLUSIONS
Food safety is of crucial importance to the consumer, the food
industry, and the economy. Despite of the significant investment,
the incidence of food-derived diseases still increases what can
be connected to better statistics or to real increase. Foodborne
diseases caused by microbiological hazards are a public health
problem in Europe and worldwide. But it is of serious concern
that 50% to 87% of reported foodborne disease outbreaks in var-
ious countries throughout the world have been associated with
the home (Clayton and Griffith, 2003). It is obvious that con-
sumers are not provided with sufficient, processed, and easy-to-
understand information (Banati and Lakner, 2006). And also it
is indicative that we are losing some traditionally gained knowl-
edge and skills about food preparation and consumption.
Our inability to effectively improve the situation is a matter of
major concern in spite of the very significant resources allocated
to the problem of foodborne diseases (Raspor, 2004). A closer
look at the food field, which is spread from technical sciences
to social sciences, is giving a broad spectrum of possibilities as
to how to maintain food safety completely, with the consumer
standing at the end of the chain.
Due to the measures taken by governments, public author-
ities, and food manufacturers, it is postulated that consumers,
trust in food safety has increased within the last several years
(R¨ohr et al., 2005). But it is still essential for risk managers
to communicate that they are reducing or mitigating a partic-
ular risk and they also have to make sure that actions match
their words. It is obvious that the consumer is the one that is
not informed enough on ensuring safe food (Reid et al., 1998;
Marklinder et al., 2004). It is necessary to define as to who is
responsible to educate the consumers with food safety principals
and which method of educating would be successful.
With the consumer outside the food safety circle we do not
treat food safety “from farm to table.” That is why Good Nutri-
tional Practice (GNP) must become a link in the global vision
of food safety control, which begins and ends in concern for the
consumer.
The goal can be achieved only with global co-operation with
all who are involved in different kinds of food activities: gov-
ernment, teachers and professors, controller’s producers, food
processors, transporters and trade, catering and ourselves—
consumers who stand at the end of the chain.
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It is obvious that the food represents one of major problems
in the current world, beside health and environmental problems.
We can expect this trend to continue in the future. Development
of new techniques and methods will definitely help us to reduce
(avoid) certain hazards and maintain the quality of life, but we
should not forget the basic principles of nature.
We should create new knowledge with permanent education
on all levels in the food supply chain. To achieve that strategy
we have to:
Develop new methods of food preservation;
Improve methods for immediate identification of contami-
nants (e.g. pathogens, pesticides, veterinary drugs, etc.);
Prepare new foodstuffs with improved nutritional profile for
consumer’s individual needs and wishes with respect to body
requirements;
Complete integration of good practices into a manageable sys-
tem with the consumer as an integral part;
Carefully plan nutrition and research policy with respect to
cultural and regional diversity in diverse nutritional practice;
Assure synchronized development of regulation and standard-
ization procedures;
Realization and control.
Global food safety will be achieved only, when every single
link in the food chain entirely (in its indoor and outdoor environ-
ment) becomes master of its particular area and will trust in the
activity of both the previous and the following link in the food
safety circle “from farm to table,” not ignoring the consumer as
the one who should be aware of potential risks, proper handling,
and preparation of food for a safe and balanced everyday meal.
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