Food safety is a growing concern in the American community as well as on a worldwide scale. The top six pathogens that contribute to domestically acquired food borne illnesses include, norovirus, salmonella, escheichia coli, clostridium perfringens, campylobacter species, and staphylococcus aureus. Every year one in six Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die from food-borne illnesses every year. Although these numbers can be scary, no vegetable or fruit outbreaks of food borne illnesses in Delaware since 1968.
The food categories that are most commonly implicated with food borne illnesses are fish, mollusks, dairy(unpasteurized), pork, chicken, and vegetables. Some of the most recent national incidents of food borne illnesses are spinach in California in 2006, cantaloupes in Colorado in 2011, and lettuce/other greens in 2014.
Everyone wants safe food, and because of that the The Food Safety Modernization Act(FSMA) was made, and made food go from minimum regulation to super regulated. Good Handling Practices(GHP) and Good Agricultural Practices(GAP) are very important to ensuring the safety of food that is presented to consumers. The Food and Drug Administration are in charge of developing science-based standards and regulations for growing, harvesting, packing, holding, and transport. There are five major routes of contamination which include agricultural water, farm worker hygiene, manure and other bio-additions, animals in the growing area, and equipment.
The goals of the FSMA are to improve public health by strengthening food safety, prevent food safety problems vs. reacting to problems after they occur, law provides FDA with new enforcement designed to achieve higher rates of compliance with prevention, it gives FDA tools to hold imported foods to the same standards of domestic foods, and builds an integrated national food safety system working with federal, state, and local authorities.
Food safety is incredibly important as a consumer and producer of agricultural products in regards to the wellbeing of people and the reputation of the agricultural industry.