Food safety can be realised if the food regulators, the agricultural industry, food and beverage industry as well as the consumers work in tandem. The biggest risk comes from food adulterants like microorganisms that can cause food borne illnesses. Therefore prevention of foodborne illnesses must be the primary aim of food safety.
Food safety must begin right at the time of growth as pesticide residues in food can be harmful for human health. Also environmental contamination can cause the food to become unsafe. At the time of food preparation or processing, proper food hygiene plays a major role in keeping foods safe. One of the biggest reasons for food contamination is poor sanitation and personal hygiene. Good hygiene practices in keeping with the hygiene standards in handling and preparation of foods, as given in the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 can help to keep foods safe. Water is another major source of food contamination. To keep food safe water used in food needs to be tested every six months to ensure that it is free of contaminants like lead.
Food safety should be the major concern of all those who are connected to the food industry. They must ensure that as the food passes through the food chain it remains free of contaminants. Food Business Operators and manufacturer must have their processes in place so that right from procurement to storage, preparation, processing and distribution the food is completely safe. Another important aspect of food safety is food labelling because the label lets consumers know what food it is, what ingredients it contains and the Use by date lets them know before what date the food can be safely consumed.
Whether raw or processed foods must be stored and refrigerated appropriately in temperatures that are assigned for particular foods. During food preparation it is important to use quality food additives, ingredients, colours and flavours and only in quantities that are permitted. After preparation and processing food needs to be delivered safely and once it enters the market it needs to again be stored appropriately to keep it safe.
Restaurants, hotels and other eateries and bakeries have to pay the greatest attention to food safety. Just by following FSSAI regulations they can ensure safe food. They must ensure that the utensils, the crockery are of food grade quality and cleaned and stored appropriately. Cooked and uncooked food needs to be stored separately. Food needs to be cooked for the appropriate length of time to the appropriate temperature. The premises need to be clean and free from pests and insects. They must use on branded edible oil and buy raw materials like milk, vegetables, food grains only from registered and licensed suppliers. Only potable water must be used to make steam or ice.
If government food safety officers carry out their duties effectively and inspect the premises and carry out food tests often then food safety can improve. Those who adulterate foods should be punished as charged.