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Discussion of Food Safety Issues

Introduction

No one can deny the statement that food is of vital importance for all people because a person will die in a few days without it. That is why it is reasonable to draw sufficient attention to ensuring that individuals consume healthy and nutritious products. Even though the modern world can impress with high development levels, there still exist numerous problems that deteriorate the quality of what people eat. Thus, credible evidence demonstrates that tampering and bioterrorism adversely affect this state of affairs, while various quality standards are not sufficient to eliminate all food safety issues in a global environment.

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Understanding Tampering

Tampering is one of those phenomena that deteriorate the quality of food. In particular, this term denotes the process when food products are deliberately contaminated to cause harm, implying a few adverse consequences. On the one hand, it is evident that food tampering negatively affects the population’s health. It occurs because contaminated products essentially hurt bodies from within. On the other hand, public psychology suffers because individuals are afraid of buying specific food for a certain period of time after tampering has been identified (Koku, 2017). It denotes that the phenomenon under analysis adversely impacts the whole society.

It is worth admitting that food tampering is a relatively widespread practice internationally, and the United States has witnessed some notorious cases. For instance, Koku (2017) explains that 1984 witnessed such an accident when needles and pins were found in cookies in 17 states. One more example, the Chilean grapes scare, happened in 1989, when the grapes imported from Chile were poisoned with arsenic (Koku, 2017). These situations demonstrate that both domestic and foreign processes can contribute to food tampering. Consequently, it is of significance to understand this threat, draw sufficient attention to its detection, and be ready to take timely actions to mitigate negative consequences.

Defining Bioterrorism

Bioterrorism is another process that can adversely impact food safety. According to Nofal et al. (2021), it is the “intentional use of microorganisms, or toxins derived from living organisms, to produce death or disease in humans, animals or plants” (p. 1). Bioterrorism attacks can be of different scales, affecting individuals, communities, or even whole countries. As for the US, the 2001 anthrax attack is considered the most notable event that significantly influenced the nation (Nofal et al., 2021). That tragic case made the USA and the European Union develop programs on how to respond to such threats in the future.

In addition to that, it is reasonable to comment on what connection exists between bioterrorism and food. Nofal et al. (2021) explicitly state that products and water can be ideally used to disperse dangerous biological or chemical agents. This information demonstrates that maintaining food safety is one of the possible methods to protect the population from the given danger. Other efficient preventive measures include promoting humanitarian values, developing emergency disaster response protocols, and others (Nofal et al., 2021). Consequently, governments and other authorities should take the required efforts to protect the population from bioterrorism attacks, and improving food safety is a significant element of this process.

Food Safety Standards

Since the information above demonstrates that food can be a source of threat, various safety standards are available to govern this sphere. They refer to documents containing specific requirements that food should satisfy to ensure that nothing endangers people’s health. It is challenging to overestimate the significance of these regulations because they govern the processes of food storage, preparation, distribution, and others. However, it is necessary to understand that the creation of the standards does not guarantee food safety; it is required to make sure that they are followed. That is why regular quality audits take place to check whether products and people working with them abide by the regulations (Kotsanopoulos & Arvanitoyannis, 2017). This approach seems efficient to improve food safety and protect the population’s health.

Multiple quality standards govern the sphere of food safety, and it is reasonable to comment on a few of them that deserve more attention. Firstly, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) standard defines criteria regarding food retailers’ inspection (Kotsanopoulos & Arvanitoyannis, 2017). Its requirements focus on the fact that retailers can affect whether products are a source of threat. Secondly, the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) standard offer a science-based system to eliminate possible threats during food preparation (Kotsanopoulos & Arvanitoyannis, 2017). Thirdly, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 22000:2005 focuses on customer demands to identify and meet possible safety and quality requirements. These standards are applied internationally to protect people from various foodborne diseases.

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Food Safety Issues in a Global Environment

Even though multiple standards have been presented above, they do not eliminate all the possible barriers that result in food safety issues in a global environment. Globalization has resulted in the fact that “good production, distribution, and consumption chains have become distributed, intricate, and complex” (Nayak & Waterson, 2019, p. 409). This fact denotes that various nations, including the US, import a part of food products from other countries. Often, developing states become distributors because they offer lower prices. In this scenario, a problem arises because not all producers can satisfy the quality and safety requirements that the purchasing nation imposes. It denotes that globalization has made the world united, but it has not addressed the problem that countries have different resources and opportunities.

Simultaneously, one can admit that globalization has made countries more subjected to tampering and bioterrorism, which means that the health of millions of people is endangered. It again refers to the fact that developed countries obtain many food products from other nations. It can sometimes happen that these suppliers fail to abide by quality standards. If it occurs, either intentionally or not, the purchasing country can obtain tampered products, which can negatively affect the population’s health. Furthermore, the global food distribution network can be suitable to conduct announced bioterrorism attacks that become noticed once harmful biological agents are in the country of destination and an incubation period is over (Nofal et al., 2021). This information demonstrates that developing countries’ failure to follow food quality standards can significantly endanger food safety in developed states that purchase products from these suppliers.

Conclusion

It is challenging to overestimate the significance of food safety because this phenomenon can directly impact people’s physical health and psychological well-being. Food tampering and bioterrorism are those issues that can result in fundamental problems within this area. That is why there exist multiple quality standards that are used to ensure that people are provided with safe products. These include the British Retail Consortium, the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, and other standards, but they are not sufficient to eliminate all threats. It occurs because the modern global environment leads to many food safety issues, meaning that government should take even more effort to address the problem.

References

Koku, P. S. (2017). The stock market’s reaction to news of food tampering in the United States. Journal of Marketing Channels, 24(3-4), 171-179. Web.

Kotsanopoulos, K. V., & Arvanitoyannis, I. S. (2017). The role of auditing, food safety, and food quality standards in the food industry: A review. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 16(5), 760-775. Web.

Nayak, R., & Waterson, P. (2019). Global food safety as a complex adaptive system: Key concepts and future prospects. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 91, 409-425. Web.

Nofal, A., AlFayyad, I., AlJerian, N., Alowais, J., AlMarshady, M., Khan, A., Heena, H., AlSarheed, A. S., & Abu-Shaheen, A. (2021). Knowledge and preparedness of healthcare providers towards bioterrorism. BMC Health Services Research, 21(426), 1-13. Web.

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