How Food Safety Systems Protect our Food Supply The implementation and maintenance of strict food safety systems ensures the health and safety of the public. The only time most people think about these systems is when they break down, for example in the August 2010 egg recall case. After increased outbreaks of Salmonella Enteriditis occurred, food safety personnel quickly traced the source of the outbreak to eggs from producers in Iowa, which resulted in the recall of over 500 million eggs. All three branches of the US Government are involved with public food safety, including the enforcement of statutes, regulation and the judicial branch is involved in rendering decisions when problems occur within our food safety systems. Companies that produce any kind of food have a legal responsibility to ensure that it is safe for public consumption, and overall the public has great confidence in these systems. We can trust that the flour we purchase, for example, will have been stored, milled, processed and packaged under strict regulation and is safe for us to consume. Scientists, food safety regulatory bodies and public health officials work hand in hand to maintain safe food safety, and all processes are transparent and open to the public’s scrutiny at any time. There are five main federal organizations responsible for consumer protection where food is concerned, but dozens of other smaller agencies are involved too. The FDA is probably the first that comes to mind, but other bodies include the DHHS, the organization directly involved in the inspection of food is the FSIS and it is apparent what function the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service performs. The Customs Service checks all foods imported into this country, which adds up to many millions of tons each year. The National Marine Fisheries Service inspects the fish we eat, and a specialist organization checks out foods that are biologically engineered. One of the main aims of these food safety systems is to focus on eradicating microbial pathogens in food, which are avoidable, so a system of checks are in place along the entire length of the processing chain, beginning with the farm and ending with the public’s dinner table. This focus has changed from concentrating on the risks from food additives and other risks to human health although these are still considered to be very important. Risk analysis of Salmonella in eggs is complete, also studies of e.coli in ground beef and “Mad Cow Disease” (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy). Risk analysis is currently undergoing for Listeria, which can occur in some prepared foods. So next time you are in the supermarket, consider the complex and effective food safety systems put in place by our government for your protection. An excellent source of practical advice about food safety systems including produce traceability can be found at http://www.redlineforproduce.com.