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Any type of food regardless of how it is grown or processed has to pass through several channels during transportation from the point of origin to its point of consumption or storage. Foodstuffs are usually transported either in form of bushels, bouquets, bundles, buckets, in small packages, poly-line up barrels or baskets. Transportation of food can either be through road, air or water means and thus different precautions should be used for the different means. Without proper mechanisms put in place while handling food and food ingredients, these foodstuffs become vulnerable to contamination at some point either during transportation or storage, thus these processes should be cared out carefully (Bachelard & Baker 2007).
During transportation, the quality of food products especially consumer goods can gradually depreciate in quality if not properly stored. In most cases, the food end up having microorganisms but is dependant on various factors such as temperatures and other factors like; availability of nutrients in the foodstuff, oxygen, water or preservatives used. As a result, proper transportation ways should be used and other preservation measures taken to prevent food contamination (Vorvick 2011).
Warehouses are common storage facilities for foods which if not properly maintained may cause food poisoning. Warehouses storing foodstuffs if not well managed are vulnerable to attracts from various insects, rodents and birds which can contaminate the food stored through their excretions or infections (NSW Food Authority 2011). Especially considering the temperature changes in Melbourne, which have led to a rat plague so, precautions should be increased against rodent /animal plagues.
Warehouses also can lead to cross contamination especially if there are different types of foods that have been stored together. For instance, vegetables with traces of bacteria’s can contaminate meat and grain products if stored or transported together. Additionally, food contamination may take place during food packaging where the materials used are found to be contaminated. The World Health Organization (2007) advices that, “mold and bacteria can ardently live in food containers especially those made of cardboard. Thus, persistent cardboard recycling often causes presence of toxic chemicals on the cardboard which may contaminate the food stored in these recycled apparatus.”
Bacteria propagate rapidly in warm and moist conditions with a source of oxygen, especially given the drastic climatic changes and global warming, which make bacteria thrive in foodstuffs. Therefore, proper handling of food is necessary in food preparation (Landon 2010). Contaminating foods or drinks is a potential route for exposing toxic substances in the food. Additionally, touching foodstuffs with bare hands usually transfers germs into the food. Nevertheless, the increase in the importance of food hygiene brought a realization that it is difficult to act decisively while dealing with food production which have long posed serious health risks. Since 1970s many organizations concerned with food legislation continued to push for its amendment until in 1990 when the food safety act was passed. When the biological environment of food is tampered with by introduction of harmful bacteria into the food, then food poisoning occurs since the food becomes contaminated. There is an economic impact that occurs due to food poisoning since for proper food handling technological aspects have to be put in place so as to curb food poisoning.
It is also helpful for one to be aware of environmental issues related to food poisoning as the impact of food poisoning is negative to both the humans and the environment. These negative environmental issues include food wastage since the spoilt food has to be thrown away hence when disposed into the environment it has the ability to decompose emitting greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, transportation of these foods causes the emissions of green house gases through transport vessels and some of the materials used for packaging are harmful to the physical environment since they don’t decompose like polythene. Political environmental aspects have really boosted food handling process since the strict regulations have been put in place to reduce the rate of food poisoning such as it is in Australia.
An environmental issue that arises in food poisoning is that of both social and psychosocial influences. For example during the summer, many Australians gather to eat and socialize and during this season the climatic conditions are warm increasing the chances of food poisoning hence it is an environmental issue. Globalization is a factor that affects the environment adversely and it makes many people more susceptible to food poisoning due to the warm climatic conditions that come about thus providing favorable conditions for bacteria.
Food security can be improved from effects of microbiological and other hazards organisms through use of preventive methods such as hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP). Industries and companies are advised to follow and adhere with the regulations and codes stipulated by the occupational health and safety act (OH&S) for the sake of its employee’s safety as they go on carrying out their duties. It can also be improved by ensuring that good manufacturing and sanitation practices are in place and food safety performance standards are appropriate throughout food production processes and distribution chain. In order to maintain proper food security, the chemical environment of food should be examined so as to have adequate knowledge on the chemicals to avoid when preserving food. This is because chemicals produced which can be either synthetic or natural produce microbes which have the ability to kill other harmful bacteria and such a chemical is penicillin. If food needs to be transported from one place to another, it should be kept well covered and under adequate temperature controls. Transporters must use refrigerated mediums or insulated containers to keep hot foods hot (above 60 degrees) and cold foods cold (below 5 degrees). In addition, there should be regular forms of cleaning the transportation vessels to ensure that food is being transported in a clean and safe environment. While handling food, direct hand contact should be avoided at all times especially when handling raw foods ready to be served therefore, it is advisable to use disposable gloves, tongs, clean napkins or other tools while handling any type of food or drinks.
Bachelard, E. & Baker M., 2007. What on earth have you been eating? The age online. Web.
Landon, M., 2010. Environment, health and sustainable development. Berkshire: Open University Press.
NSW Food Authority, 2011. Food poisoning. NSW government. Web.
Vorvick, L., 2011. Food poisoning. Pub Med Health. Web.
World Health Organization., 2007. Food safety and foodborne illness. World Health Organization. Web.