Define absolute food safety and relative food safety, Biology

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'Absolute  food  safety'  is  the  assurance that damage  or  injury from use  of  a substance is impossible.

'Relative food safety' is  the  assurance that damage  or  injury will not result from  a  food  or  ingredients used  in  a  reasonable and customary manner  and Quantity

An understanding of food safety is improved by  defining two other basic concepts - hazard and toxicity.'Hazard' is the  relative probability that harm  or  injury will result  when the  substance  is  used  in  a proposed manner  and  quantity  while 'toxicity'  is  the  capacity  of  a  substance to produce harm or injury of  any  kind under  any  conditions.  Remember, assessment of whether  a  food  or  ingredient  is safe should not be based on  its  inherent toxicity but  on whether  or not  a hazard  is created.

 Next, let us understand what is meant by  the term 'food  quality'. Food quality refers to  the attributes  that  influence a products value to a  consumer. This includes both negative attributes such as spoilage, contamination, adulteration, food safety hazards and positive attributes  such as the origin, color,  flavor, texture etc. Another term which  is often used while talking about food safety is  'food hygiene'.  Food hygiene refers  to all conditions and measures necessary  to ensure  the safety and suitability of  food at all stages  of the food chain.

After a comprehensive review of the different terms used in the context of food and its safety concerns, we will now focus on  the  importance of safe food and hazards which  are a  concern  to  food safety. ,411  of you are aware of the constituents of food and  the fact that we need food  for our  survival. You may  have  also noticed  that  some of  the  foods  are  consumed  as such while others require certain processing, before they are ready for consumption. Safety  Processing of certain  foods develop constituents  that might  be  toxic  for human consumption. You might be wondering what these constituents are. The food processes that might  lead  to the development of potentially hazardous  compounds in foods, or those that affect its nutritive value include  use  of agricultural and environmental  . chemicals, drugs, synthetic ingredients and fertilizers. The safety of foods, therefore, is of utmost significance and has gained a worldwide attention.

There  are  certain specific food safety concerns that differ markedly and include issues  such as additives, drug residues, pesticides, irradiation, fertilizers and other growing aids, microbiological contamination,  food  toxicants, adulteration, misbranding etc. During recent years, newer  challenges such  as  globalization of trade  in  food, urbanization, changes  in  life style, international  travel  and environmental pollution, all have  further contributed  to the concern for food safety. The new World Order and global  environment for food trade places a considerable obligation on the part of both importing and exporting countries to ensure safety and quality of food.

Apart from  all  these,  one of  the major  issues  that  require  special  focus  is  the  consumer's attitude and knowledge about food safety. It is  essential  to acquire  the know-how  and skills  necessary  to  understand and  manage  food safety hazards.

Consumer confidence in the safety and quality of food supply is an important requirement and  consumers are demand protection  for the whole food  supply chain  from the primary producer  to  the e  d consumer, often described  as  from farm  or pond  to the plate  approach  '. However, it  is interesting to note  that most  of  the  consumers are not concerned about microbiological contamination and food safety issues. Many households  have  unsafe food  storage  and preparation practices. Consumers rarely consider their own food practices a hazard. However, food industry is most concerned about the microbiological safety of  its products and many quality control checks are made to ensure that foods are safe. An elaborate system known  as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)  is  being employed  in recent  years by  many food industries to minimize the chances of contamination during processing.




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