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Current Issues in Food Sanitation Presented to University Safety Council April 18, 2007 Curt Speaker, EHS Foodborne Illness Results from eating food contaminated with bacteria (or their toxins) or other disease-causing organisms such as parasites or viruses.

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current issues in food sanitation

Current Issues in Food Sanitation

Presented to University Safety Council

April 18, 2007

Curt Speaker, EHS

foodborne illness
Foodborne Illness
  • Results from eating food contaminated with bacteria (or their toxins) or other disease-causing organisms such as parasites or viruses.
  • Symptoms range from upset stomach to diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and dehydration.
foodborne illness statistics
Foodborne Illness - statistics
  • Most foodborne illnesses are undiagnosed and unreported
  • CDC estimates that every year about 76 million people in the US become ill from pathogens in food.
  • Of these, about 5,000 die
foods of concern
Foods of Concern
  • Any food can be a vehicle for fooodborne illness
  • High protein foods are most often responsible for foodborne illness
  • Includes milk & milk products, eggs, meats, poultry, seafood (fish, shellfish, crustaceans), cooked potatoes, tofu and other soy-protein foods, heat-treated plant foods, raw seed sprouts
foodborne illness outbreaks
Foodborne Illness Outbreaks
  • In the past, most outbreaks were associated with improper food processing, preparation or storage
  • Recently, outbreaks have been associated with contamination at the source
    • Green onions – Hepatitis A
    • Spinach – E. coli
    • Peanut butter - Salmonella
  • The “nationalization” of food distribution has made widespread outbreaks of foodborne illness much more likely
  • Locally grown produce is not likely to be safer than national brands due to limited processing and cleaning
  • Food irradiation is still meeting with resistance from some consumer groups
  • Clean
  • Separate
  • Chill
  • Cook
current topics in food sanitation
Current Topics in Food Sanitation
  • Produce Cleanliness
  • Food Irradiation
  • Food Preparation and Process Engineering
  • What PSU is doing
  • Take Home Lessons
cleaning produce
Cleaning Produce
  • Produce may be contaminated:
    • Physically (dirt)
    • Chemically (pesticides)
    • Biologically (bacteria, viruses)
  • A 1996 report by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that pesticides are consumed at such low levels that they pose little threat to human health
  • The benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables far outweigh any pesticide-related risks
cleaning produce11
Cleaning Produce
  • Bleach, detergent or soaps should not be used; they are not food-grade and may cause more harm than good
  • Wash produce under cold running water to remove residual dirt
  • Firm fruits and vegetables can be scrubbed with a brush if additional cleaning is needed
cleaning produce12
Cleaning Produce
  • Specially made fruit and vegetable washes may be of some value in removing dirt and pesticide residues from items that are purposely waxed, such as cucumbers, apples and oranges
  • No evidence to suggest that organic produce is any safer; same risk of microbial contamination
food irradiation
Food Irradiation
  • Food Irradiation is not a new phenomena
    • Wheat flour was first approved for irradiation in 1963 to control mold growth
    • Potatoes were approved in 1964 to prevent sprouting
    • Spices have been irradiated since 1986 to sterilize them
benefits of food irradiation
Benefits of Food Irradiation
  • Disease-causing germs are reduced or eliminated
  • Food does not become radioactive
  • Dangerous substances do not appear in the foods
  • The nutritional value of the food is essentially unchanged
disadvantages of food irradiation
Disadvantages of Food Irradiation
  • Not all pathogens are eliminated
  • Not particularly effective against viruses (at current doses)
  • Some high risk foods do not irradiate well
    • Some fresh produce becomes mushy
    • (Live) shellfish are killed by irradiation
    • Egg whites become milky
  • Slight reduction in vitamin content
food preparation and process engineering
Food Preparation and Process Engineering
  • Servesafe is a food sanitation program based on HACCP (Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points)
  • HACCP was originally developed by NASA to prevent foodborne illness in astronauts while in space
  • Looks at food preparation as a process with essential steps where sanitation must be controlled
moving forward
Moving Forward
  • Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) is an extension of the HACCP idea into the growing, picking and processing of produce and other agricultural materials which emphasizes personal hygiene & sanitation, food security, sustainability and integrated pest management on the farm
what psu is doing
What PSU is Doing
  • All full-time food service employees (managers, cooks, dishwashers) are trained in SERVESAFE and recertify every 5 years
  • Has specifications for produce providers
    • Certain countries excluded due to use of pesticides and/or handling practices
    • Transportation requirements (no co-shipment with chemicals, refrigeration temperatures, closed trucks)
what psu is doing21
What PSU is Doing
  • Food Science Dept. and Extension provide numerous SERVESAFE courses throughout the state
  • Also have numerous publications on proper handling of game meats, home canning and preservation
  • EHS-lead foodborne illness committee established to evaluate allegations of illness from PSU eateries and dining halls
what psu is doing22
What PSU is Doing
  • University Policy AD-26 limits student food sales event to:
    • Materials prepared by PSU HFS
    • Products that do not require refrigeration
    • Foods that are prepackaged for resale
  • List of approved caterers for University events (at all locations) that have adequate liability insurance
take home lessons
Take Home Lessons
  • Keep temperature requirements in mind for pot lucks and food events
    • Crock pots or chaffing dishes for hot foods
    • Ice baths or coolers for cold foods
  • Do not keep foods at room temperature for more than 2 hours
  • Even properly prepared foods will go bad if mishandled
take home lessons24
Take Home Lessons
  • Make sure that food purchased for College or Departmental functions (either from PSU Food Services or from a caterer) is handled appropriately
    • Have appropriate equipment to maintain hot or cold foods at the appropriate temperature(s)
take home lessons25
Take Home Lessons
  • At home, follow proper procedures when canning meats, fruits and vegetables
    • Adjust salt and acid levels as needed
  • Purge your fridge of leftovers on a periodic basis
  • When in doubt, throw it out!
  • For hunters, follow appropriate cleaning and dressing practices with game
current events
Current Events
  • The current pet food poisoning incident represents a slightly different aspect of this problem
  • Foreign materials found in cat and dog food include aminopterin (a rat poison and cancer treatment drug) and melamine (a material used in the manufacture of plastics)
  • Foodborne illness is not just a people problem!
current events27
Current Events
  • In September of 2006, several individuals in Georgia and Florida came down with foodborne botulism from unrefrigerated carrot juice
    • Juice not heat-processed
    • Has low acidity (pH~6)
    • Low salt
  • Conditions listed above coupled with warm temperatures allowed bacteria to grow and produce botulism toxin
the bottom line
The Bottom Line…
  • The food supply in the United States is very safe
  • Proper handling and storage of foodstuffs can further reduce the risk of potential foodborne illness
  • More control and inspection of at-risk foods throughout production and distribution can also help
the end

The End