The term Food Safety is an English term and in Italian takes on a dual meaning.
Where it refers to access, availability and distribution of food, as well as food hygiene and compliance with labeling and consumer information requirements.
The first meaning comes from the definition provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations: "to ensure that all people and at all times have sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and dietary preferences for an active and healthy life"; this amounts to a cautionary statement against poverty and an address to nations that food is an important resource for world social stability and to take action to ensure that food is available and accessible.
This compares to the second meaning of food safety. Every year, in Europe alone, 23 million people fall ill and about 5,000 die from food diseases.
Unsafe food is responsible for millions of sick days and can sometimes lead to serious or prolonged illnesses, hospitalizations, and death. A variety of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemical risks have potentially serious consequences not only for human health, but also for the economy and the environment.
It is estimated that the most frequent causes of foodborne illnesses are diarrhea agents.
The most common is norovirus, followed by Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp. The bacterium Listeria monocytogenes is a major cause of death.
All this indicates the need to strengthen the prevention, monitoring and management of food diseases, including improving communications about risk and consumer awareness and education. While the harmful impact of poor food quality directly affects the consumer, there is also a consequent economic harm to the producer.
Very often it is the delays in identifying the problem, its source, and the lack of traceability to corrupt batches, that results in an overly wide withdrawal of goods from the market with consequent negative impact on the brand. In order to mitigate the economic impact, a series of rapid testing and easy to use kits have been developed for in-house or third party laboratory use, which reduce the time taken to complete testing and assist in improving the timely release of production batches.
A selection of kits dedicated to the genetic testing of meat, fish, milk, and their derivatives is available and their use will allow efficiencies to be made to the controls applied to production chains and in the detection of tainted matter in raw materials, semi-finished products and finished products.