The Case for Food Safety
How do we build public trust in food safety, creating a broader understanding of new technologies and addressing concerns that are frequently voiced about microbiological safety?
From recent studies, it has been identified that a large number of individuals get infected due to the consumption of raw vegetables, fruits and unpasteurized fruit juices. As a result, people are worried about microbiological safety. They wonder whether the foods that they consume are safe or not. According to the statistical records captured by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in United States, the number of outbreaks recorded in the past two decades have doubled when compared to the previous two decades. But we are on the road to recovery, and communication is the key to helping Americans stay healthy.
Why the increase in infections?
It is first important to understand why the number of infections has increased. According to healthcare professionals, there have been several reasons contributing reasons. Changes in dietary habits hold a prominent place out of them. The number of people who consume fresh and minimally processed vegetables and fruits has increased significantly over the past few decades. In addition, the number of people who consume these fresh and minimally processed meals outside their homes has also increased.
The reason for this shift in behavior is rooted in a desire to maintain a healthy diet. However, the number of fruits and vegetables produced within the country are not sufficient to cater the demand. Therefore, produce imports help to supplement the US’s supply. In addition, there have been a variety of changes in the food production and food processing methods so that a higher output can be obtained.
As a result of all these initiatives, the general public is exposed to more foreign and unnaturally designed vegetables and fruits. Unfortunately, this has increased the incidences of contamination by human pathogens.
Ensuring public trust about microbiological safety
Scientists are conducting a variety of initiatives to overcome these issues and maximize food safety. While they have made great accomplishments, the general public is not aware of them. As a result, people are still wary of consuming fruits and vegetables. To overcome such issues, it is important to build public trust in the microbiological safety of food.
Here are two powerful ways to both keep people safe from contamination and slowly build back the public’s trust in their ability to consume produce.
1. Creating awareness about the sources of contamination
To begin, it is possible to create awareness about the sources of contamination among people. Scientists have successfully been able to identify the exact sources of past outbreaks. As such, they have been able to design appropriate strategies to minimize the risks that are linked to future outbreaks. However, people are still not aware of them. Therefore, it is possible to create a series of awareness campaigns based on the research from our food scientists. With those awareness sessions, it will be possible to both keep our public safe and rebuild their trust in food safety and microbiological safety.
2. Letting people know about the factors that cause infections
It is also important to let people know about the factors that cause infections. The general public has a very limited knowledge and understanding about the microbial ecosystems that can be found on raw vegetables and fruits. As a result, they often worry about microbiological safety of the vegetables and fruits that they consume. Scientists, on the other hand, have been able to determine those factors that cause infections and are taking appropriate measures to produce fruits and vegetables in an environment that eliminates those factors. For example, scientists now recommend that farmers grow tomatoes within the pH range of 3.9 and 4.5 in order to maintain microbial safety. This is just one example from one initiative; there are countless taking place at any given moment. The results of all those initiatives are proven and they have already started producing foods that ensure microbiological safety. However, the general public is not aware of those steps. Hence, it is important to let people know that scientists have discovered the facts that cause infections and they have already started producing foods by eliminating those factors. The internet can be used as an effective medium in here to get the message communicated across to the general public. Infographics are one great tool for doing so.
Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables are an important element in a healthy diet. Recent demand for such produce caused the food industry to scramble to come up with enough supply. This scramble lowered the quality of produce being consumed while increasing the incidence of illness among the general public. While the public was growing increasingly mistrusting of their produce, scientists were working tirelessly to figure out how to keep the public safe. While science has been regulating the quality of produce sold in stores, their communication of this to the general public has been lacking. Through the implementation of informational campaigns around both how to avoid sources of contamination and regulating the food that is produced, the public can catch up with science and begin to once again trust that the food they eat is safe and their health is cared for.