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bout 48 million people in the US alone – one in six Americans – get sick, 128,000 are hospitalised and 3,000


die annually due to food-borne diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Food-safety experts believe these illnesses are largely preventable. In many other nations, the situation is worse. Fortunately, the foodservice industry is responding. “Very few, if any, kitchen-install applications do not have some form of food safety as part of their presentation,” notes William Eaton FFCSI, chairman of the board of Cini-Little International in Germantown, Maryland, US. “As a member of the Handwashing for Life Initiative, I am involved in the review of strengthening handwashing disciplines, mostly down to the efforts of (founder) Jim Mann, who should get a lot of credit.” As methods for the safe handling of


food, “particularly farm-to-table products, are developed, conditions in the average kitchen will improve,” Eaton predicts. Continuing improvements in the aspects of warewashing that relate to sanitising also reduce the consumption of water, he adds, “providing a double benefi t”. In addition, “highly sophisticated refrigeration controls and management systems for walk-in refrigerators and freezers means almost perfect safety control of the storage environment while signifi cantly reducing run time and non- essential evaporator coil defrosting and utility costs”.


“This is happening, and mostly it


is good,” says James Little FFCSI, a consultant for more than four decades and a principal of Cini-Little International. “However, not everyone in the health departments understands the codes and the issues, so they make unrealistic demands and are inconsistent. Not everyone in the operating groups understands either. And architects, interior designers and engineers do not understand the codes or appreciate the values.”


56


THE EVOLUTION OF FOOD SAFETY STANDARDS IS HAPPENING ON A VARIETY OF FRONTS


Regulation


Proposed new Food and Drug Administration regulations developed under the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, (FSMA), will affect how Pennsylvania farmers, processors and retailers operate. “But the devil is in the still-to-be-fi nalised details,” note administrators at Penn State University, “and implementing the most sweeping changes to the nation’s food-safety laws in more than 70 years will require collaboration, communication and education.” “For many years, the food supply in the US has been extremely safe,” says Winifred W McGee, senior extension educator in agricultural entrepreneurship at Penn State Extension in Dauphin, Pennsylvania, US, “but the Food Safety Modernization Act has established protocols to review processes and procedures from farm to table to ensure that everything that might be done, is done.” In early May, a pair of agencies under the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) umbrella, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), signed an agreement to foster a more comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to address food-borne health hazards potentially associated with meat and poultry products. The Memorandum of Understanding will document the procedures and responsibilities under the collaborative effort between APHIS and FSIS in assessing the root cause in outbreaks of food-borne illness in humans, according to FSIS offi cials.


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