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Health and Nutrition Chapter 12 Protecting Our Fodo
Chapter 12 Protecting Our Food
Terms in this set (140)
The United States has one of the safest food supplies in the world, primarily the result of a team effort conducted by cooperating federal, state, and local agencies that regulate and monitor the production and distribution of food.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are the key federal agencies that protect consumers by regulating the country's food industry.
- Other team members include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
- the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and state and local governments.
n many communities, restaurants must display their rating for sanitation where customers can easily see it.
Local health departments can close restaurants that do not receive high enough ratings and not allow them to reopen until food safety hazards have been corrected.
FDA regulates nearly all domestic and imported food sold in interstate commerce and enforce federal food safety laws.
the FDA establishes standards for safe food manufacturing practices, such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs.
a science-based, systematic approach to preventing food-borne illness by predicting which hazards are most likely to occur in a food production facility.
When a hazard is identified, food manufacturers can then take appropriate measures to prevent the illness.
- FDA officials can take certain enforcement actions, such as requesting that a food manufacturer recall an unsafe item, so that it is removed from store shelves
- educates public about safe handling of food
FDA oversees the safety of most foods, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) enforces food safety laws for domestic and imported meat and poultry products.
FSIS staff inspect beef, poultry, and other food animals for diseases before and after slaughter, and the agency also ensures that meat and poultry processing plants meet federal standards.
- FSIS staff collect and analyze food samples to check for the presence of microbial and other unwanted and potentially harmful material in foods
If a food hazard is identified, FSIS officials can ask meat and poultry processors to recall their unsafe products.
food safety experts with FSIS conduct programs and publish a magazine (be FoodSafe) to educate people about proper food handling practices.
EPA oversees the quality of our drinking water. EPA staff establish safe drinking water standards and assist state officials in their efforts to monitor water quality
EPA staff regulate toxic substances and wastes to prevent their entry into foods and the environment.
State and local officials work with the FDA and other federal agency staff to implement national food safety standards for foods produced and sold within their state's borders
Local health departments, for example, are responsible for inspecting restaurants, grocery stores, dairy farms, and local food processing companies.
In many communities, restaurants are required to post their sanitation rating where customers can easily see it.
Local health departments can close restaurants that do not receive high enough ratings and prevent them from reopening until food safety hazards have been corrected.
You cannot always rely on your senses to judge the wholesomeness of a food.
A food can taste, smell, and appear safe to eat, but it may contain pathogens and/or their toxic by-products.
After you obtain foods and bring them into your home, it becomes your responsibility to reduce the risk of food-borne illness by handling the items properly.
if you suspect that something you consumed made you or a family member very sick, you should contact your physician for treatment. The physician may decide to report the case of food-borne illness to local public health officials, so they can investigate and determine the source of your infection.
For thousands of years, people have used certain microbes to produce a variety of foods, including hard cheeses, raised breads, pickled foods, and alcoholic beverages.
When microorganisms metabolize nutrients in food, they often secrete substances that alter the color, texture, taste, and other characteristics of the food in beneficial and desirable ways.
Other kinds of microbes grow and multiply in food, but their metabolic by-products spoil the food, making it unfit for human consumption.
Disease-causing microbes are referred to as pathogens. When pathogens are in food, they can make the item unsafe to eat.
A contaminated food (or beverage) is no longer wholesome—pure or safe for human consumption
Contamination generally occurs when something that may or may not be harmful enters food or beverages unintentionally.
- insect parts,
- residues of compounds used to kill insects that destroy food crops,
- and metal fragments from food processing equipment.
Many kinds of food-borne pathogens infect the digestive tract, inflaming the tissues and causing an "upset stomach" within a few hours after being ingested.
A few types of food-borne pathogens multiply in the human intestinal tract, enter the bloodstream, and cause general illness when they invade other tissues
Other pathogens do not sicken humans directly, but these microbes contaminate food and secrete poisons (toxins).
- When the contaminated food is eaten, the toxins irritate the intestinal tract and cause a type of food-borne illness called food intoxication (or food poisoning).
- To reduce your risk of food-borne illness, keep flies, cockroaches, and other vermin away from your food.
The microbes that cause food-borne illness can live practically anywhere—in air, water, soil, and sewage, and on various surfaces.
skin, nasal passages, and large intestines have vast colonies of various kinds of microbes, some of which can be pathogenic.
Animals, including cats, dogs, reptiles, cattle, and poultry, can also harbor harmful microbes on and in their bodies, especially in their intestinal tracts.
pathogens are found throughout your environment, there are numerous ways that the microbes can contaminate your food. To reduce your risk of food-borne illness, you need to be aware of how pathogens can enter foods.
Common Routes for Transmitting Pathogens
One common route for transmitting harmful microbes involves vermin, animals that often live around sewage or garbage, such as flies, cockroaches, mice, and rats.
When vermin land on or crawl across filth, they pick up pathogens on their feet.
When the vermin come in contact with food, they can transfer the pathogens to humans. To reduce your risk of food-borne illness, keep flies, cockroaches, and other vermin away from your food.
People who touch turtles or other potential Salmonella carriers should wash their hands thoroughly after handling the animals.
Poor personal hygiene practices frequently transfer microbes to food.
People can contaminate their hands with pathogens when they come in contact with feces, such as while using the toilet or changing a baby's soiled diaper
animals harbor pathogens in their feces as well as on their skin and fur.
If children prepare or eat foods after stroking animals at petting zoos or playing with pets, they can transmit these microbes to themselves or others. Thus, it is important for people to wash their hands before preparing or eating foods. Children (and many adults) often need to be reminded to wash their hands.
Improper food handling frequently results in food-borne illness. A common practice is failing to wash cutting boards and food preparation utensils after they come in contact with raw meat or poultry.
contaminated boards and utensils are then used to prepare other foods. As a result of this practice, cross-contamination is likely to occur, because the pathogens in one food are transferred to another food, contaminating it. If that food is eaten raw, such as carrots in a salad, it carries a high risk of food-borne illness.
Failing to cook foods properly can also increase the likelihood of food-borne illness
Pasteurization is a special heating process used by many commercial food producers to kill pathogens. In the United States, for example, most juices and milk have been pasteurized before they are marketed.
High risk foods
Not all foods are likely to harbor pathogens. To survive and multiply, most microbes need warmth, moisture, and a source of nutrients, and some also require oxygen.
high-risk foods are warm, moist, and protein-rich, and they have a neutral or slightly acidic pH.
Many of the foods we eat every day, such as meats, eggs, milk, and products made from milk, fit this description
Signs and symptoms of food-borne (and water-borne) illnesses generally involve the digestive tract and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal cramps
most pathogens have an incubation period, a length of time in which they grow and multiply in food or the digestive tract before they can cause illness.
if you develop signs and symptoms of a food-borne illness, you might have difficulty identifying the source of the infection or intoxication. Was the vomiting and diarrhea that you experienced at 3a.m. the result of eating soft-cooked eggs for breakfast 18 hours earlier or the sliced deli chicken you ate for lunch 2 days ago?
Various factors influence whether an individual becomes ill after consuming a food or beverage that has been contaminated with a pathogen or toxin.
The number of pathogenic microbes in a food or the amount of toxin it contains can contribute to the risk and severity of a food-borne illness. Furthermore, individuals vary in their vulnerability to many food-borne pathogens. In general, high-risk groups are pregnant women, very young children, the elderly, and persons who suffer from serious chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems.
In most cases, otherwise healthy individuals who suffer from common types of food-borne illness recover completely and without professional medical care within a few days.
vomiting, diarrhea, and other signs of illness can be so severe, the patient requires hospitalization. You should consult a physician when an intestinal disorder is accompanied by one or more of the following signs: fever (oral temperature above 101.5°F), bloody bowel movements, prolonged vomiting that reduces fluid intake, diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days, or dehydration
Many people mistakenly report that they have the "stomach flu," when they actually are suffering from a food- or water-borne illness.
"Flu," or influenza, is an infectious disease caused by specific viruses that invade the respiratory tract. Influenza is characterized by coughing, fever, weakness, and body aches. On the other hand, food-borne illness primarily affects the digestive system and not the respiratory system. Intestinal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting are not typical signs and symptoms of influenza, and coughing is not a usual sign of a food-borne illness. Thus, it is inaccurate to call a bout of diarrhea and intestinal cramps the "stomach flu."
Honey, even commercially processed brands of the sweetener, should not be fed to infants because it may contain Clostridium botulinum spores.
The spores can grow in an infant's intestinal tract, produce toxin, and cause botulism. Older children and adults can consume honey safely, because their immune systems prevent the spores from growing.
Common Food-Borne Pathogens
The major kinds of pathogens are bacteria, viruses, protozoans, and fungi. In the United States, bacteria and viruses are responsible for most cases of food-borne illness.
Improperly cooked or handled meat, poultry, eggs, and foods made with eggs are common sources of Staphylococcus aureus.
The bacteria produce a toxin that results in food-borne illness.
Bacteria are single-cell microorganisms that do not have the complex array of organelles that plant and animal cells contain
Some bacteria can live without oxygen, such as in canned or vacuum-packed foods. Other types of bacteria transform into inactive resistant forms called spores when living conditions are less than ideal. If the environment becomes more hospitable, the spores revert to the active bacterial state.
Many kinds of bacteria are pathogens that cause food-borne illness, including forms of Campylobacter, Clostridium, Escherichia, Listeria, Salmonella and Staphylococcus (kam′-pih-low-bak′-ter, klo-strid′-e-um, esh′-ear-i′-ke-ah, lis-te′-re-ah, sal′-mo-nell-ah, staff′-il-lo-cawk′-kiss).
Some types of pathogenic bacteria do not cause infections when they are consumed in food, but these microbes produce toxins that cause food intoxication.
Viruses are another common source of food-borne infection.
A virus is simply a piece of genetic material coated with protein
Viruses must invade a living cell to produce more viruses. Unlike certain bacteria, viruses do not secrete toxins, and therefore, they do not cause food intoxication.
Contaminated food or water, however, can transmit viruses to humans and cause food infection.
Vaccines that protect against hepatitis A and rotaviral infections are available.
A vaccine to prevent norovirus infections is in development.
A virus, such as this Norovirus, is simply a piece of genetic material coated with protein.
A parasite is an organism that lives in or on another living thing, often deriving nourishment from its host.
Some parasites, such as Giardia (jee-ar′-de-ah) and Cryptosporidium (krip′-toe-spo-rid′-ee-um), are protozoans (pro-toe-zoe′-ans), single-celled microorganisms that have a more complex cell structure than bacteria. Protozoans are often responsible for causing traveler's diarrhea
Giardia is a parasitic protozoan
single-celled microorganism that has a more complex cell structure than bacteria.
food-borne parasites include types of worms such as Trichinella (trick'-ah-nell'-ah) and Anisakis (ah′-ni-sa′-kis)
Most Americans who become infected with parasites that are common in the United States recover when they receive proper treatment. Nevertheless, some infected persons suffer long-term health problems and even die as a result of the illnesses.
Anisakis is a type of worm that can be transferred to humans who eat raw or undercooked fish or squid.
Fungi such as molds, yeast, and mushrooms are simple life forms that live on dead or decaying organic matter.
Certain fungi, such as button mushrooms and the mold in blue cheese, are beneficial and edible.
Other fungi are responsible for spoiling foods, such as bread molds, or causing respiratory problems or allergic reactions in sensitive people
A serious concern is the toxicity of several varieties of wild mushrooms. Cases of severe illness and death have been reported as a result of people picking and eating toxic wild mushrooms after mistaking them for edible varieties. Nevertheless, fungi are not a major source of food-borne illness in the United States.
Severe illness and even death can occur if people pick and eat toxic mushrooms, such as this Amanita mushroom.
Certain molds produce aflatoxins, substances that can cause severe illness, particularly liver damage, and even death when consumed
Tree nuts, peanuts, and corn that are stored under warm, humid conditions can become sources of aflatoxins. In some regions of the world, especially Africa and Southeast Asia, people often eat foods that are contaminated with aflatoxin-producing molds. Rates of liver cancer are high in these places. Thus, medical researchers think there is an association between exposure to aflatoxins and development of liver cancer. No outbreaks of food-borne intoxication caused by aflatoxins have been reported among the U.S. population. Certain fungi, such as button mushrooms and the mold in blue cheese, are beneficial and edible.
If nothing is done to preserve a fresh food, the item soon undergoes various chemical changes that eventually result in spoilage. Preserving food extends its shelf life.
Shelf life refers to the period of time that a food can be stored before it spoils. Heating is one of the oldest ways to preserve foods
Heat can kill or deactivate pathogens, and the process also destroys naturally occurring enzymes in foods that can contribute to food spoilage.
Fermentation is an ancient method of food preservation that is still used to produce a variety of foods, including yogurt, wine, pickles, and sauerkraut.
The fermentation process involves adding certain bacteria or yeast to food. These microbes use sugars in the food to make acids and alcohol, chemicals that hinder the growth of other types of bacteria and yeast that can spoil food.
For centuries, people preserved meats, fruits, and other foods that had high water contents by adding salt or sugar to them.
To grow, bacteria need plenty of water; yeasts and molds can grow when less water is available. Adding sugar or salt to foods draws water out of cells, including bacteria, fungi, protozoans, and worms. As a result, these pathogens are less likely to survive in sugary or salty foods. Drying reduces a food's water content. Dried fruits such as raisins, for example, have a longer shelf life than grapes, their natural counterparts.
Today, we can add pasteurization, refrigeration, freezing, canning, irradiation, additives, and aseptic processing to the list of food preservation techniques
Aseptic processing involves sterilizing a food and its package separately, before the food enters the package.
The sterilization process destroys all microorganisms and viruses.
After undergoing aseptic packaging, boxes of sterile foods and beverages, such as milk or juices, can remain free of microbial growth for several years while sitting on supermarket or pantry shelves. However, once the containers of these products are opened, the foods or beverages have the same shelf life as their counterparts that have not undergone aseptic processing.
When food is canned, commercial food production methods require heating the food to certain temperatures for specified times. Thus, unless the can or jar has been damaged, properly processed canned foods should be free of pathogens.
Certain home-canned foods, however, may contain the microorganism Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum) that causes botulism or its toxin.
The home-canning process may kill C. botulinum bacteria in the food, but their spores or toxin may remain. That is why home-canned, low-acid foods such as beans and corn should be boiled for 10 minutes before eating.
Foods made with vinegar, tomatoes, or citrus juices are usually high-acid foods, and as a result, such items are not likely to be sources of C. botulinum.
The botulinum toxin is highly poisonous; never taste a home-canned low-acid food before boiling it. For more information about proper home canning of foods, obtain a copy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Complete Guide to Home Canning
the process of food irradiation preserves food by using a high amount of energy to kill pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7
The processes used to irradiate foods do not make the items radioactive. The energy passes through the food, as in micro-wave cooking, and no radioactive material is left behind.
The energy is strong enough to destroy the genetic material as well as cell membranes or cell walls of insects and microbes. As a result, irradiation is a highly effective way of killing insects and microorganisms that may be in foods. However, irradiation is not always an effective way to destroy viruses.13 It is important to recognize that even when foods, especially meats, have been irradiated, once their packaging has been opened, the foods can still become contaminated.
U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist Glenn Boyd places a batch of hot dogs into the gamma radiation source to rid them of food-borne pathogens.
Irradiation extends the shelf life of spices, dry vegetable seasonings, meats, seeds, shell eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Except for dried seasonings, packages that contain irradiated foods must be labeled with the international food irradiation symbol, the Radura, and include a statement indicating the product has been treated by irradiation
Irradiation of food is not a new technology; in 1963, U.S. food manufacturers were given approval to irradiate wheat flour. Today, France, Israel, Russia, and China are among the countries that use irradiation to preserve various foods.
Nevertheless, some consumer groups claim that irradiation diminishes the nutritional value of food and leads to the formation of harmful compounds, such as carcinogens, cancer-causing substances. According to medical experts with the World Health Organization (WHO), FDA, and CDC, irradiated foods are safe to eat.13 Furthermore, irradiation causes few or no nutritive losses. Despite such assurances, many Americans are skeptical about the safety of irradiated foods, and they avoid purchasing such products.
Preparing for Disasters
In late August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the central Gulf Coast region of the United States. At least 1800 individuals lost their lives and more than 250,000 people were displaced from their homes as a result of the hurricane. Media coverage of the storm's aftermath showed desperate conditions as people lived in their attics or on their roofs, waiting to be rescued. What steps can you take to have enough water and food available to survive hurricanes, earthquakes, or other serious emergency situations?
A supply of clean water and wholesome food is necessary for surviving disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. The following recommendations may help sustain you and your loved ones for several days:
Store at least 1 gallon of water per person per day. Ideally, you should have at least a 3- to 5-day supply of drinking water, or at least 5 gallons of water for each person in a household. Children and breastfeeding women may need more than 1 gallon of water per day. Also, more water may be necessary for people living in warm climates. Furthermore, store extra water for food preparation, personal hygiene, dishwashing, and pets.
Water should be maintained in a cool place and in sturdy plastic bottles with tight-fitting lids.
Avoid storing water in areas where toxic substances, such as gasoline and pesticides, are stored. Over time, toxic vapors from these products may penetrate the plastic and contaminate the water.
Change stored water every 6 months.
Drink only bottled, boiled, or treated water until you are certain the public water supply is safe.
If you have time to prepare, fill a bathtub with water to use if it becomes necessary. The water, however, will need to be sanitized before being consumed.
If you drink bottled water, make sure the seal has not been broken.
If your emergency water supply is inadequate, you can consume melted ice cubes from the freezer, canned fruit juices, and water drained from an undamaged water heater.
Water stored in the tank of the toilet (not the bowl) is also fit to drink. Pets can drink toilet bowl water that has not been treated with a toilet bowl sanitizer. Water in swimming pools and spas can be used for personal hygiene needs but not for drinking. Never drink water from car radiators, home heating systems, or water beds. Alcoholic beverages contribute to dehydration and therefore should be avoided.
Emergency Food Supply
disaster can easily disrupt your access to safe food; therefore, you should store at least a 3-day supply of food for emergency use. Choose foods that have a long storage life, require no refrigeration, and can be eaten without cooking, such as canned meats, fruits, and vegetables. If you have pets, you should also keep a supply of pet foods.
If stored under proper conditions, unopened canned or boxed foods will remain fresh for about 2 years. Before storing food, use a permanent marking pen to write the date on the package. You should use and replace foods before they lose their freshness or reach their expiration dates.
An ideal food storage location is a cool, dry, dark place. Do not store foods near gasoline, oil, paints, or petroleum-based solvents, because some food products absorb their odors. You can protect foods from rodents and insects by storing them in airtight containers or plastic storage bins.
If you have no electricity, consume perishable food in your refrigerator or freezer before using your emergency food supply. However, discard cooked foods after they have been at room temperature for 2 hours. Do not eat food that appears or smells spoiled or is from cans that are leaking or bulging.
To prepare meals safely after a disaster, you will need to store
A camp stove or charcoal grill.
Fuel for cooking, such as charcoal. Never cook food on a camp stove or charcoal grill indoors. The fumes contain carbon monoxide, an odorless deadly gas.
Cooking and eating utensils.
Paper plates, cups, and towels.
Heavy-duty aluminum foil.
A food additive is any substance that becomes incorporated into food during production, packaging, transport, or storage. Food manufacturers incorporate direct or intentional additives into their products for various reasons. Such additives may make food easier to process, more nutritious, able to stay fresh longer, or better tasting. Most additives are added to influence a food's sensory characteristics, including taste or color.
Color additives are dyes, pigments, or other substances that provide color to foods, drugs, or cosmetics
Many direct food additives help maintain the safety of foods by limiting the growth of bacteria that cause food-borne illness. Other additives protect against the action of enzymes that can lead to undesirable changes in the food's color and taste.
Such unwanted chemical changes occur when enzymes that are naturally in certain foods are exposed to the oxygen in air. Antioxidant additives, including vitamins E and C and a variety of sulfites, can prevent oxygen from reacting with these enzymes.
Color additives are dyes, pigments, or other substances that provide color to foods, drugs, or cosmetics, such as beta-carotene in margarine and FDC(Food, Drug, Cosmetic) Red No. 40 in cherry-flavored cough syrup.
Indirect additives, such as compounds from a food's wrapper or container, can enter food as it is packaged, transported, or stored. Indirect additives, however, have no purpose. The FDA and certain international organizations regulate all food additives to ensure that processed foods and their packaging are safe
Sulfites are sulfur-containing food additives that limit the growth of food spoilage microbes and prevent enzymatic browning of certain foods, such as pieces of fruit and vegetables. Some people, however, are sensitive or allergic to sulfites, and they can have severe reactions when they ingest the compounds.
The FDA requires manufacturers who add sulfites to foods and beverages to indicate on their products' package labels that these chemicals are among the ingredients.
Food Safety Legislation: Food Additives
By the 1950s, hundreds of ingredients were being added to foods during processing. Many of these substances had long histories of being safe; others were deemed safe after undergoing scientific testing. In 1958, the U.S. Congress enacted the Food Additives Amendment.
According to this amendment, an ingredient that had been in use prior to 1958 was Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) when qualified experts generally agreed that the substance was safe for its intended use.
The Food Additives Amendment excluded GRAS substances from being defined as food additives.15 Thus, modern food manufacturers can include substances on the GRAS list as ingredients without testing them for safety or getting prior approval from the FDA.
As a result of the 1958 Food Additives Amendment, the manufacturer of a new food additive (one developed after 1958) must provide evidence of the substance's safety to the FDA before the additive can be used
When evaluating the safety of a newly developed food additive, FDA experts consider the chemical composition and characteristics of the substance, the amount of the substance that Americans would typically ingest, and the additive's effects on the body. If the additive is safe in amounts that people are likely to consume, FDA experts establish a level of the substance that can be added to foods.
According to the Delaney Clause of the Food Additives Amendment, food manufacturers cannot add a new compound that causes cancer at any level of intake.
if an additive causes cancer, even though very high doses may be necessary to cause the disease, no amount of the additive is considered to be safe, and none is allowed in food. Evidence for cancer risk could come from either laboratory animal or human studies. The FDA allows very few exceptions to this clause.
The FDA cannot ban unintentional food additives—various industrial chemicals, pesticide residues, and mold toxins—from foods, even though some of these contaminants may be carcinogenic
The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 established the safety standard of "a reasonable certainty of no harm" for pesticide residues in foods. As a result of this act, the "no risk" provision of the Delaney Clause does not apply to pesticide residues. However, the Delaney Clause remains in effect for food additives.
According to the results of numerous scientific studies, food additives do not cause hyperactivity or learning disabilities in children.
a small percentage of preschool children may be allergic to FDC Yellow No. 5, so this color additive must be listed on the package label if it is used as an ingredient.14
Other Substances in Foods
Various substances can accidentally enter food during processing. Although such contaminants can blend into a food, they are not food additives. Common biological and physical food contaminants are insect parts, rodent feces or urine, dust and dirt, and bits of metal or glass from machinery used to process food. Although some of these substances may not be harmful to health, most people find it unappealing to have filth and other unintentional ingredients in their foods.
According to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, adulterated food contains objectionable and unsanitary material, and it cannot be distributed. However, the FDA permits very small amounts of unavoidable, naturally occurring substances such as dirt and insect parts in foods, because they are not harmful when consumed in minute amounts.
The FDA established guidelines concerning amounts (action levels) of certain materials that are permitted in specific foods, such as mold and rodent hairs in paprika or insect eggs in canned orange juice. According to the FDA, "...it is economically impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects. Products harmful to consumers are subject to regulatory action whether or not they exceed the action levels
Chemical contaminants also enter foods unintentionally. Toxic metals, such as lead, cadmium, and mercury, are naturally in our environment, and these elements may also be in our food. Poisonous human-made compounds such as benzene and polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs) are in the environment as well.
Toxic metals or poisonous compounds resulting from human manufacturing practices can pollute sources of water used by consumers (well water, for example). Americans who drink water from municipal supplies can be assured that the water is analyzed regularly to determine its concentrations of toxic substances. However, people who rely on privately owned wells should have the water tested routinely.
What Is Benzene?
Late in 2005, the FDA received reports that low levels of benzene had been detected in some soft drinks that contained ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and a group of food additives called benzoate (ben'-zo-ate) salts. Benzene is a cancer-causing agent present in the environment from natural and manufactured sources.
fter receiving the reports, the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) surveyed benzene levels in soft drinks. The survey's findings indicated that the vast majority of beverages sampled, including those containing both benzoate salts and ascorbic acid, contained either no detectable amounts of benzene or amounts that were very low and within the range allowed by the U.S. water standard
FDA scientists concluded that the levels of benzene in soft drinks did not pose a safety concern. Nevertheless, agency officials determined it was necessary to contact beverage manufacturers to ensure that processing conditions avoid or minimize benzene formation.
Herbicides are the most widely used type of pesticide in agriculture. Note the protective gear worn by this farmworker as he handles an herbicide.
A pesticide is any substance that people use to control or kill unwanted insects, weeds, rodents, fungi, or other organisms. There are several different kinds of pesticides.
Insecticides control or kill insects; rodenticides kill mice and rats; herbicides destroy weeds; and fungicides limit the spread of fungi, such as mold and mildew
Over 1 billion tons of pesticides are used in the United States annually.20 Herbicides are the most widely used type of pesticide in agriculture
Pesticide Residue Tolerances
The use of pesticides in modern farming practices has helped increase crop yields, reduce food costs, and protect the quality of many agricultural products. However, many pesticides leave small amounts (pesticide residues) in or on treated crops, including fruits, vegetables, and grains, even when they are applied correctly.
Concentrations of pesticide residues often decrease as food crops are washed, stored, processed, and prepared
some of these substances may remain in fresh produce, such as apples or peaches, as well as in processed foods, such as canned applesauce or peaches.
The EPA regulates the proper use of pesticides. The agency can limit the amount of a pesticide that is applied on crops, restrict the frequency or location of the pesticide's application, or require the substance be used only by specially trained, certified persons.
The EPA also sets pesticide tolerances, maximum amounts of pesticide residues that can be in or on each treated food crop. A pesticide tolerance includes a margin of safety, so the maximum pesticide residue that is allowed to be in or on a food is much lower than amounts that can cause negative health effects
Nonchemical Methods of Pest Management
Although the EPA focuses on chemical methods of managing pests, the agency also promotes nonchemical pest management techniques that may be safer for humans and the environment. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) involves using a variety of methods for controlling pests while limiting damage to the environment.
IPM methods include growing pest-resistant crops, using predatory wasps to control crop-destroying insects, and trapping adult insect pests before they can reproduce.
Biologically based pesticides, such as sex hormones (pheromones) that attract pesky insects to predators or traps and viruses that infect insects and weeds, are becoming increasingly popular among farmers. Such methods are often safer for humans than traditional chemical pesticides.
The spined soldier bug (left) makes a meal of a Mexican bean beetle larva. Bean beetle larvae are devastating pests of snap beans and soybeans. The spined soldier bug's pheromone may help farmers control many insects that eat crops.
Lead is a highly toxic mineral that may be in candies imported from Mexico and traditional ethnic folk remedies, especially greta, azarcon, ghasard, and ba-baw-san
it is prudent to avoid ingesting these candies or folk remedies.
IPM permits the use of chemical pesticides but only as needed to enhance the effects of nonchemical methods.
Studies suggest that IPM techniques generally increase crop yields and economic profits, while reducing the use of chemical pesticides.20 As IPM programs become more widely adopted, conventional farmers will depend less on the use of chemical pesticides.
Fruits and vegetables grown without use of pesticides are available and may bear an "organic" label
These products generally are more expensive than those grown using pesticides, and they are not necessarily safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced foods.
How Safe Are Pesticides?
Pesticides used in agriculture have both beneficial and unwanted effects. Pesticides help protect the food supply and make food crops available at reasonable cost. Nevertheless, pesticides have the potential to harm humans, animals, or the environment because they are designed to kill or otherwise negatively affect organisms. If a pesticide is applied improperly to cropland, it may remain in the soil, be taken up by plant roots, decompose to other compounds, or enter groundwater and waterways. Winds may carry pesticides in air and dust to distant locations. Each path can be a route to the human food chain
If a pesticide is applied improperly to cropland, it may remain in the soil, be taken up by plant roots, decompose to other compounds, or enter groundwater and waterways. Winds may carry pesticides in air and dust to distant locations. Each path can be a route to the human food chain.
The potential harmful effects of a pesticide in food depend on the particular chemical and how effectively the body can eliminate it, its concentration in the food, how much and how often it is eaten, and the consumer's vulnerability to the substance.
Tolerable amounts of pesticide residues on or in foods are extremely small. However, it is possible that regular exposure to small amounts of these chemicals may enable the substances to accumulate in the body and produce toxicity or initiate cancer
Health experts have studied rates of cancers among people who have close contact with pesticides, such as farmers and pesticide applicators. Among the people who applied pesticides, the likelihood of developing lip cancer was elevated.
The risk of prostate cancer was also elevated but primarily among applicators with a family history of this type of cancer.22 Environmental health experts will continue to monitor the effects of pesticides on humans.
In the United States, an estimated 76 million people become ill from various food-borne illnesses each year. Food-borne illness occurs when microscopic pathogens or their toxic by-products enter food (or beverages) and are consumed.
Many kinds of pathogens infect the digestive tract; other types of food-borne pathogens do not sicken humans directly, but these microbes secrete toxins into food. When the food is eaten, the toxins irritate the intestinal tract and cause food intoxication.
People use certain microbes to produce a variety of foods, including hard cheeses, raised breads, pickled foods, and alcoholic beverages. When microorganisms metabolize nutrients in food, they often secrete substances that alter the color, texture, taste, and other characteristics of the food in beneficial and desirable ways.
Other kinds of microbes grow and multiply in food, but their metabolic by-products spoil the food, making it unfit for human consumption. When pathogens are in food, they can make the item unsafe to eat. Food contaminants include pathogens, insect parts, residues of compounds used to kill insects that destroy food crops, and metal fragments from food processing equipment.
The microbes that cause food-borne illness can live practically anywhere. Common routes for transmitting harmful microbes to food involve vermin, poor personal hygiene practices, and improper food preparation and storage practices.
To grow, most microbes need warmth, moisture, and a source of nutrients, and some microorganisms also need oxygen. In general, high-risk foods are warm, moist, and protein-rich, and they have a neutral or slightly acidic pH. Such foods include meat, poultry, milk and milk products, and eggs.
______ are disease-causing microbes.
The ______ is the primary government agency that oversees the safety of most foods in the United States.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Which of the following foods is most likely to support the growth of pathogens?
raw ground meat
commercially canned tomato soup
raw ground meat
Food-borne illnesses are usually characterized by
flulike signs and symptoms.
coughing, sneezing, and respiratory inflammation.
megaloblastic anemia and nervous system defects.
abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
In the United States, common sources of food-borne illness include all of the following, except
responsible for 30% of food-borne illnesses in the United States.
harmful compounds produced by certain molds.
a type of parasitic worm.
medications that are effective against viral toxins.
harmful compounds produced by certain molds.
Which of the following practices can help reduce the growth of food-borne pathogens?
washing hands before preparing food
keeping cold foods cold and hot foods hot
cooking foods to proper internal temperatures
All of the choices are correct.
Which of the following substances are not direct food additives?
All of the choices are correct.
Irradiation of food is
an untested technology.
not recommended, because the process increases nutrient losses.
widely used in France, Russia, and China.
a common method of food preservation in the United States.
widely used in France, Russia, and China.
Which of the following food preservation processes effectively destroys microbes?
All of the choices are correct.
_____ is the commercial heating process that destroys harmful bacteria in milk and fruit juices.
When you travel to countries outside the United States, you can reduce your risk of "travelers' diarrhea" by
eating whole fresh fruits and vegetables.
avoiding water that has not been bottled and sealed.
purchasing foods from street vendors.
consuming ice with beverages
avoiding water that has not been bottled and sealed.
A _____ is a substance that kills weeds.
Which of the following temperatures is recommended for storing chilled foods in a refrigerator?
To reduce the risk of food-borne illness, raw poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least
____ is the most reliable method of making water that contains pathogens safe to drink.
quiche with eggs, cheese, spinach should be heated to
examples of food additives
main principle of preservation of food
is to reduce water content
norovirus can be transmitted by
food and water
store foods likely to carry pathogens
on the lower shelf in the refrigerator
pork, bear, seal
unintentional food additiives
accidentally in foods
don't seem to pose a safety concern
generally recognized as safe list
clean, separate, cook, chill
wash hands for
2 micro-organisms associated with food borne illness are
bacteria and viruses
drink pasteurized milk
use bottled water to wash hands, brush teeth, take meds
FDA irridiation approves
sea level water
should be boiled for 1 minute to make it safe
store ground meat only
1-2 days in refrigerator
microbes in food does not always lead to illness
some microbes alter texture, taste, color
cool cooked food
in smaller pans
cool food for 2 hours to 40 degrees
dark colored urine
polychlorinated biphenols, benzine
poisonous man made poisons that may be in our food
purchase by best date
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