Most of our food came from hundreds or even thousands of kilometres away. During the hours of transport and storage, the chances for food contamination and spoilage increase. Even during food production, processing and preparation, the contaminants might find their way and cause serious foodborne illnesses.
What are the threats to food safety?
Contamination is the main threat, at least it’s our main worry whenever we eat. Microbes, chemicals, dirt and other contaminants may cause immediate hospitalisation and medical care. Within the hour of consumption, there’s even that potential of a fatality or a serious disease.
To prevent those from happening, organisations and government agencies have set safety standards. This is to protect us from known and emerging threats related to food contamination and spoilage. For example, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a management system that improves food safety. From its name, it analyses the hazards and determines the critical control points in food production, handling and preparation. It’s about inspecting each point of the process instead of just the final product. This is similar to the modern approach in manufacturing automobiles and electronics. Safety and quality problems should be revealed and analysed early on before the final product is made. However, in food production and handling the standards are higher because of threats to human health and safety.
Food safety hazards could be physical, chemical or microbiological. These can come from direct exposure or contact with a contaminated surface or environment. This is often a result of mishandling as well as lack of safety measures against potential contaminants. For example, inappropriate containers or packaging could have been used (e.g. toxic, contaminated or the surfaces were not cleaned and disinfected).
Another concern is about temperature during transport and storage. If the food product was contaminated in the first place, its exposure to outside the ideal temperature range can accelerate microbial and enzymatic activity. Bacteria would multiply faster and produce more biotoxins. There could also be biochemical reactions that will affect food safety, taste, appearance and quality.
Here at Cooltrans, we maintain tight temperature control in all our refrigerated food deliveries. In addition, we make sure each surface is cleaned properly (including our delivery vehicles and the containers we use). This is our way of helping protect consumers from the new and emerging threats to food safety.