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Food contaminant

Food safety
Food Safety 1.svg
Terms
Foodborne illness
Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP)  • Hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls (HARPC)
Critical control point
Critical factors
FAT TOM
pH
Water activity (aw)
Bacterial pathogens
Clostridium botulinum
Escherichia coli
Listeria
Salmonella
Vibrio cholerae
Viral pathogens
Enterovirus
Hepatitis A
Norovirus
Rotavirus
Parasitic pathogens
Cryptosporidium
Entamoeba histolytica
Giardia
Trichinella

Food contamination refers to the presence in food of harmful chemicals and microorganisms which can cause consumer illness. This article addresses the chemical contamination of foods, as opposed to microbiological contamination, which can be found under foodborne illness.

The impact of chemical contaminants on consumer health and well-being is often apparent only after many years of processing.Prolonged exposure at low levels (e.g., cancer). Chemical contaminants present in foods are often unaffected by thermal processing (unlike most microbiological agents). Chemical contaminants can be classified according to the source of contamination and the mechanism by which they enter the food product.

Agrochemicals are chemicals used in agricultural practices and animal husbandry with the intent to increase crops and reduce costs. Such agents include pesticides (e.g., insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides), plant growth regulators, veterinary drugs (e.g., nitrofuran, fluoroquinolones, malachite green, chloramphenicol), and bovine somatotropin (rBST).

Environmental contaminants are chemicals that are present in the environment in which the food is grown, harvested, transported, stored, packaged, processed, and consumed. The physical contact of the food with its environment results in its contamination. Possible sources of contamination include:

There are many cases of banned pesticides or carcinogens found in foods.

There is a heavy stigma attached to the presence of hair in food in most societies. There is a risk that it may induce choking and vomiting, and also that it may be contaminated by toxic substances. Views differ as to the level of risk it poses to the inadvertent consumer.



  • Greenpeace exposed in 2006 in China that 25% of surveyed supermarkets agricultural products contained banned pesticides. Over 70% of tomatoes that tested were found to have the banned pesticide Lindane, and almost 40% of the samples had a mix of three or more types of pesticides. Fruits were also tested in this investigation. Tangerines, strawberries, and Kyofung grapes samples were found contaminated by banned pesticides, including the highly toxic Methamidophos. These fruits can also be found in Hong Kong market. Greenpeace says there exists no comprehensive monitoring on fruit produce in the Hong Kong as of 2006.
  • In India, soft drinks were found contaminated with high levels of pesticides and insecticides, including lindane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifos.
  • News of Formaldehyde, a carcinogen was found in Vietnamese national dish, Pho, broke in 2007 Vietnam food scare. Vegetables and fruits were also found to have banned pesticides. "Health agencies have known that Vietnamese soy sauce, the country's second most popular sauce after fish sauce, has been chock full of cancer agents since at least 2001", thundered the Thanh Nien daily. "Why didn't anyone tell us?" The carcinogen in Asian sauces is 3-MCPD and its metabolite 1,3-DCP, which has been an ongoing problem before 2000 affecting multiple continents.
  • 2005 Indonesia food scare, carcinogenic formaldehyde was added as a preservative to noodles, tofu, salted fish, and meatballs
  • 2008 Chinese milk scandal
  • The EFSA published a report in 2011 on “scientific opinion regarding an update of the present knowledge on the occurrence and control of foodborne viruses”.
  • This year, an expert working group created by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), is expected to publish a standard method for the detection of norovirus and hepatitis A virus in food.
  • The CODEX Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) is also working on a guideline which is now ready for final adoption.
  • European Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 of 15 November 2005 indicates that “foodstuffs should not contain micro-organisms or their toxins or metabolites in quantities that present an unacceptable risk for human health”, underlining that methods are required for foodborne virus detection.
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Wikipedia

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