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|Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) • Hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls (HARPC)|
|Critical control point|
|Water activity (aw)|
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.
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