Science & Technology in Action

14th Edition

Food Safety: Keeping Consumers Safe

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

From food and drink we get all the nutrients required to sustain life. However, consuming food can also expose us to certain hazards. The labels on packaged foods can alert people to the risk posed by certain foods (e.g. food allergens). However, for this to be effective the lists of ingredients and other information must be accurate.
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Lesson excerpt

Food (including water) is the way we get all the nutrients required to sustain life. However, consuming food can also expose us to certain dangers (hazards). A hazard is something that could cause us harm. The labels on packaged foods can alert people to the risks posed by certain foods (e.g. food allergens). However, for this to be effective the lists of ingredients and other information must be accurate. Consumers can also be put at risk if some ingredients are substituted but not declared (food fraud).

While the consumption of local freshly prepared food is preferable, it is not always feasible in the modern lifestyle enjoyed by many people today. Food consumed in Ireland may contain ingredients from around the world, and the additional food miles bring with them greater safety risks that must be monitored and managed.

Food safety control bodies, like the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), help to keep food safe by coordinating the implementation and enforcement of food law which is designed to protect consumers. Scientific analysis of food samples is central to this role.

There are four main types of food hazard:

    1. Biological hazards

    2. Physical hazards

    3. Chemical hazards

    4. Food Allergens

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True or False?

  1. All bacteria in food are pathogenic. false
  2. Cross contamination occurs when bacteria mate. false
  3. Restaurants can be closed down for minor breaches of food law. false
  4. Pasteurising milk kills all bacteria in that milk. false
  5. Glass, rubber or plastic fragments in food are chemical hazards. false
  6. The winter vomiting bug is a virus true
  7. The FSAI monitors the food market to ensure food is safe. true
  8. DNA analysis is an effective way of detecting food fraud. true
  9. Food fraud is simply a labelling issue. false
  10. Some food allergies can be fatal. true
  11. All food label information is voluntary. false
  12. The FSAI is a Government Department. false