- Food Safety

Global Food Safety and Global Food Trade


The agriculture, the domestication of animals and the abandonment of nomadic life made the formation of cities possible. Trade and interchange between one region and another started. With rising productivity time was left to develope the arts, science and other mankind activities. All great civilizations have rested on a food base, usually a single key staple crop like rice, wheat, corn or meat.


Depending on one single key staple food such as rice, wheat, corn or meat the control over food became more and more concentrated in organized trade busines. Foods had to stored, transported and distribuited in a retailing system, this gave rise to industrialization.

Fears concerning safety matters

Industrialized food gave rise to fears about. Responding to the rising control of food by corporations, the consumer became increasingly afraid of loosing the control over his basic needs. Concerns about food safety resulted in sofisticated safety systems.

Check Food, what is it?

Disenchantment of food

As meals are more and more no longer prepared and consumed at home, their symbolic, religious and cultural importance are lost. They merely serve as a mean of sustaining life and are a source of pleasure. Powerful corporations are taking over world production of almost every food.

In order to coordinate the global trade the WTO was founded.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was founded in 1945 with a mandate to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living, to improve agricultural productivity, and to better the condition of rural populations.

Today, FAO is one of the largest specialized agencies in the United Nations system and the lead agency for agriculture forestry, fisheries and rural development. An intergovernmental organization, FAO has 187 member countries plus one member organization, the European Community.

FAO works to alleviate poverty and hunger by promoting agricultural development, improved nutrition and the pursuit of food security, defined as the access of all people at all times to the food they need for an active and healthy life.

Convention on Biological Diversity

Biological diversity is the variety of life on Earth, from the simplest bacterial gene to the vast, complex rainforests of the Amazon. Human beings are an integral part of this diversity, as is the food, medicine, clothing and other biological resources that sustain us.

Recognizing the importance of biodiversity to our daily lives and the pressure that human activities are placing on our living world, governments adopted the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992 as an activity of the UN Environmental Program. From the start it was understood that scientific knowledge and technological know-how would have a vital role to play.

Biological diversity

The German Federal Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen called for increased efforts to combat the worldwide loss of biological diversity. At a special session of the 65th UN General Assembly on biological diversity he mentioned in particular the destruction and overexploitation of habitats and species, environmental pollution and climate change as the main reasons for this biodiversity loss.

The Federal Environment Minister pointed out that the target set by heads of state and government in 2002 to significantly reduce the global loss of biodiversity has not been reached. “But biological diversity is the basis for our own survival. Every day we make use of the services provided by nature without even thinking about it: clean air and water, fertile soils, construction materials and fuels, medical substances, CO2 storage in forests, bogs, soils and oceans, are just some examples. Therefore preserving biological diversity is not a luxury but a necessary investment in our own future”, Minister Roettgen stressed.

The FAO paper also proposes costs to be divided equally between the governments of countries where hunger is a problem and international donors. Ultimately the success of anti-hunger programs will depend on winning support and commitment at both the national and international levels.

The International Alliance against Hunger

The International Alliance against Hunger was created by FAO. It should unite national governments, the international community and all civil society organizations to reduce the number of hungry by at least half by 2015.

A specific priority of the Organization is encouraging sustainable agriculture and rural development, a long-term strategy for increasing food production and food security while conserving and managing natural resources. The aim is to meet the needs of both present and future generations by promoting development that does not degrade the environment and is technically appropriate, economically viable and socially acceptable.…

- Food Industry

Hygienemanagement in Food Industry

In the production of food quick methods are important to check the quality of cleaning.
During the cleaning of utensils and machines it is important to remove from the surfaces as much organic material as possible

  • to insure a later disinfection and to avoid protein failure and
  • to withdraw organic material for further growth of bacteria.

The ATP-luminescence measures the ATP (Adenosine tri phosphate) from animal and from vegetable cells as well as living or dead bacteria. It shows in this manner how much impurities have been left after cleaning.

Principle of the ATP-bioluminescence-method

The ATP taken up with a swab from approximately 100 cm² of the surface to be tested is put together with a luciferin/luciferase system of commercially available kits. There is light emitted which is proportional to the amount of ATP being present. This light is measured with a luminometer as “Relative Light Units RLU” .
The light being emitted during this method is proportional to the amount of ATP being present on the surface to be examined.
In order to achieve a better supervision of the hygiene it is advisable to use both system: The ATP luminescence method showing how much residues are left after cleaning, and the normal method of contact cultures telling what kind of bacteria are present,
As the ATP-method gives the total amount of organic material left, it is necessary to determine for every place how much residues are still being considered as “good”, and “bad”.
To determine the maximum RLU being accepted for these two points proceed as following:
Measure for about 1 week the RLU of all relevant places of the production line and list the results for each place and note as:

  • Good cleaning: Sum total of RLU measured during one week divided by the number measures for each place.
  • Bad cleaning: 2 times the “Good Cleaning” point.

In order to determine the standard of hygiene which can be obtained during normal production proceed as follow:
Determine the RLU after “normal” cleaning.
Continue the cleaning by hand using different detergents and determine the RLU after “rigorous cleaning”. This is considered as being the best achievable cleaning.
The best reference data are those values of “normal cleaning”which are as close as possible to the values of “rigorous cleaning”.

After one to two month repeat the determination of the reference points “good” and “bad”. It is very likely that these points will be reduced because cleaning is growing better as a result of the continuous supervision.

The checks may be “horizontal” being made on the same specific critical places of all machines.
It is good to change from time to time to “vertical” checks from isolated machines checking all their parts.

Understanding cleaning of food process plants

Liu and colleagues assessed the removal of food fouling deposits during the cleaning of process plants. According to the authors deposits form by adhesion to the surface and cohesion between elements of the deposit. Cleaning can result from either or both adhesive and cohesive failure.

The authors measured the adhesive/cohesive strength of deposits in terms of the work required to remove them from the surface, using a range of coated surfaces They found that tomato concentrate, bread dough and egg albumin deposits have a lower adhesive than cohesive strength, whilst others (whey protein) have a lower cohesive than adhesive strength.

The researchers present a simple model to analyse the results in terms of the work required to remove the deposit per unit surface area and volume.

Manual dishwashing for restaurants

FDA recommendation for manual dishwashing in restaurants

The FDA recommends restaurants to follow a three-step process when washing dishes, scrub in soapy hot water at an uncomfortable 110 degrees Fahrenheit (44°), rinse with clean water, and then soak in sanitizer.

Low temperatures found to be sufficient for dishwashing in restaurants

Melvin Pascall and colleagues 2007 assessed the sanitization efficiency of the manual cleaning dishwashing procedure. Pascall and colleagues found that using a combination of low washing temperatures of 75°F (24°) and and minimal sanitizer concentration (150 ppm) of quaternary ammonium compounds the FDA recommended bacteria reduction greater than 5-log bacterial reductions were achieved. The stress, however, that different material of the utensils and different food residues, like milk may have different survival opportunities for various bacteria. The authors recommend to wash dishes right away before food dries. It saves washing time and gets rid of problematic places, like gaps between prongs of forks,where bacteria might be able to survive washing and drying. This is valid for restaurants as well as for home kitchen.

Read Also Global Food Safety and Global Food Trade


- Food

Food Processing Innovations

Beta-glucan in food applications

A preparation of beta-glucan, obtained from spent brewer’s yeast, was evaluated for potential food applications. This material was autolysed and the cell walls that were obtained were homogenized, extracted firstly with alkali, then with acid, and then spray dried.

Fragmentation of the cell walls during homogenization is regarded responsible for higher viscosity by Saowanee Thammakiti and colleagues. The beta-glucan obtained in this way had higher properties as compared with commercial beta-glucan from baker’s yeast.

The authors suggest that beta-glucan obtained from brewer’s yeast can be used in food products as a thickening, water-holding, or oil-binding agent and emulsifying stabilizer.

Read more Hygienemanagement in Food Industry

Beta-glucan as fat replacer in mayonnaise

Application of beta-glucan prepared from spent brewer’s yeast as a fat replacer in mayonnaise was studied by Worrasinchai, and colleagues Fat was partially substituted by beta-glucan at levels of 25, 50, and 75% achieving higher storage stability than full fat mayonnaise with acceptable sensory with beta-glucan not more than 50%. The authors conclude that spent brewer’s yeast beta-glucan may be used as a fat replacer in mayonnaise.

Carotinoids as coulorants in beta-glucan mayonnaise

Rujirat Santipanichwong and Manop Suphantharika studied the application of carotenoids beta-carotene and lutein, as natural colourants in reduced fat mayonnaise with 50% substitution of oil using spent brewer’s yeast beta-glucan as a fat replacer.

Lutein was found to destabilize the emulsion resulting in significant variation of the oil droplet size during storage and a spontaneous reduction of the viscoelastic properties.

Beta-carotene, however, did not change the stability of the emulsion. The authors concluded that the addition of these colourants in the concentration range tested seemed to have no effect on the textural properties of reduced-fat mayonnaise.

Beta-glucans and their effect on the immune system

Leiber, a German producer of yeast products, submitted a request of health claim saying that its beta-glucan of yeast “helps to maintain the body’s defence against pathogens in the upper respiratory tract”. It is already the second trial presenting new informations to the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The first request asking for the claimed effect of “reducing the risk for common cold infections by decreasing the susceptibility for common cold infections during the cold season by strengthening the body’s natural defences and improving the body’s immune defence against common cold viral infections during the cold season” was found by the Panel that a cause and effect relationship was not established between the consumption of the yeast product named Yestimun and the immune responses.

The product described in the request consists of (1,3)-(1,6)-β -Dglucans from brewer’s yeast cell wall (100 % Saccharomyces cerevisiae). Beta-glucans are polysaccharides consisting of a backbone of D-glucose subunits linked by (1,3)-β -glucosidic bonds with irregular β -(1,6)-linked glucosidic side chains of various length.

Health claims regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 []

Nutrition and health claims made on food are regulated by the regulation No 1924/2006. Health claims are prohibited unless they are authorised in accordance with this Regulation and included in the lists of authorised claims provided for in Articles 13 and 14 thereof. In particular, Article 13(5) of the Regulation lays down provisions for addition of claims, which are based on newly developed scientific evidence.
In fact there are studies which have found beta-glucans to reduce risk of several diseases.

Beta-glucans are considered biological response modifiers with immunomodulatory effects [5]

Beta-glucans are defined as glucose polymers linked together by a linear β 1-3 -glycosidic chain core. They are considered biological response modifiers with immunomodulatory effects. Anticancer properties were demonstrated in vitro. As adjuvant therapy in clinical trials, beta-glucans were associated with positive effect on patients survival and quality of life by stimulating the immune system.

Beta-glucans of mushroms stimulates the immune system and has anticarcinogenic properties [6]

The healing and properties of mushrooms have been known for thousands of years in the Eastern countries. Certain mushrooms and yeasts contain immunostimulating polysaccharides of the group of beta-glucans similar to beta glucans of cell wall of certain pathogenic bacteria and fungi. These substances increase host immune defense. The induction of cellular responses by mushroom and other beta-glucans is likely to involve their specific interaction with several cell surface receptors, as complement receptor 3 (CR3; CD11b/CD18), lactosylceramide, selected scavenger receptors, and dectin-1 (betaGR). beta-Glucans also show anticarcinogenic activity which is addressed in the paper of Akramiene et al. 2007.

The immune response can be modulated by nutrients like beta-glucans of yeast, fungi, and bacteria, but also of cereals like oat and barley. Volman, Ramakers and Plat 2008 write that studies show that beta-glucans of fungi and yeast have immune enhancing properties, such as leukocyte activity protecting from infections. The authors suggest that dietary beta-glucans may increase resistance against infections. [7]



- Poisonous Chemicals in Food

Radioactivity and Food

Ionizing radiation

Ionising radiation is produced by a beam of electrons striking a target, by cosmic radiation, radioactivity and nuclear reactions, which release energetic photons (gamma rays, x-rays) and/or particles. Ionizing radiation penetrates living organisms and alters cells, which then send signals to initiate various defensive responses.

Mass number of an atom

is the sum of neutrons and proton. It is given as a small number high up in front of the symbol of the element.

Atomic number

is the sum of protons of an atom. It is given as a small number down in front of the symbol of the element.
Every atom has a central, positively charged nucleus made of protons and neutrons. Nuclei are unaffected by chemical reactions. Protons and neutrons are collectively referred to as nucleons


Two atoms which have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes of each other. Isotopes have identical chemical properties and cannot be separated by chemical methods. The isotopes of hydrogen are:
Hydrogen ( 11H)
Deuterium ( 21D)
Tritium ( 31T)
The particles of the nucleus are held together by one of the four fundamental forces:
Strong interaction, also called nuclear force. This force is very strong.
Electromagnetic force.
Weak interaction.
Gravitational force.
Atomic warfare and atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Bikini and Soviet Union are responsible for high levels of strontium 90 fall out which caused high levels of strontium 90 in Brazil nuts growing in the rain forest of the Amazon region.
Nuclear energy is an important part of electrical power supply. It was considered to be clean energy.The disaster of Harrisburg and Chernobyl have demonstrated the danger of nuclear power stations. The fallout from Chernobyl made the killing and disposal of Norwegian reindeer.
Rising radioactivity of the Arctic region and its food chain is a product of uncontrolled nuclear handling.
The disposal of radioactive waste is unsolved problem for future generations. The salt mine of Gorleben in Germany is unsafe for disposal of nuclear waste.

Contamination of foods and feedstuffs by nuclear accidents

The accident of Chernobyl provided a lot of knowledge on contamination of the food chain. These information can now be applied in the actual Japan nuclear disaster. It is important to avoid milk of cattle which received grass and fodder of the contaminated region. As most of the radioactive particles end up in the ocean it is imperious to avoid sea foods of any kind. Do not drink tap water. More personal protection measures are described below.

The food chain safety will be compromised in the next decades by the situation in Fukushima. Primarily drinking water in Japan and Pacific fish and seafood will bear an increased load of radionuclides.

Japan prohibits the sell of shiitake-mushrooms

In the region of Fukushima shiitake-mushrooms (Lentinus edodes Sing) with high radiation were found. A total of 16 cities and towns are compromised. The ban was imposed on mushrooms cultivated outdoors. Mushrooms grown in greenhouses are safe and may be sold, according to Kyodo News. The local department of health reports a 1,55 times of the maximum permitted content of Iodine 131 and 1,78 times for Caesium in shiitake-mushrooms.

On April 1, shiitake mushrooms from the city Iwaki had a level of radioactive cesium of 890 becquerels per kilogram against the limit of 500 becquerels, reports Kyodo News.

Radionuclides in the food chain

The exposure may result from direct inhalation of contaminated air or ingestion of contaminated water, or from a less direct pathway, the ingestion of contaminated food products. The exposure may result from direct inhalation of contaminated air or ingestion of contaminated water, or from a less direct pathway, the ingestion of contaminated food products. The the contamination of the milk of the cow is a typical example to the incorporation of radionuclides in the food chain resulting of the ingestion of contaminated pasture, the so called the pasture-cow-milk exposure route.

Mushrooms from Bavaria, Germany, are still contaminated with radiating Caesium from the disaster of Chernobyl. German wild boars even after 25 years after Chernobil disaster are excluded from food market because they exceed the German limit on 600 Becquerel/Kg in meat. Wild boars like mushrooms which are highly contaminated by radionuclides.

The contamination of mushrooms with radionuclides depends on the type of mushroom and on the type of soil they grow on. The Cs-137 nuclides can highly be absorbed from forest soil where it is free available for plant roots. In agricultural areas the radionuclides are tightly bound to soil particles and their absorption is diminished. Sweet chestnuts and birch bolete are plant products with highest contamination.


- Food

Food, what is it?

Milk and dairy products

Milk and dairy products are an important source of proteins, calcium and vitamins.They are ideal baby food therefore is this product of great importance.
The production of milk is worldwide concentrating in very few big companies. This increases quality through modern know how destroying, however, the small decentralized factories.

The very big international dairy food producers

Enterprise Seat of Sales Mio
the Head US Dollar
1 Nestlé Ch 13.500
2 Kraft (Philip Morris) USA 8.000
3 Dairy Farmers of America USA 6.900
4 Danone F 5.800
5 Friesland Coberco Dairy Food NL 5.500
6 Besnier F 5.100
7 Snow Brand Milk Products J 5.000
8 Campina Melkunie/MKW NL 4.800
9 Bongrain F 4.600
10 Meji Milk Products J 4.000

Milk Calcium

Milk is a natural source of calcium. Unfortunately young people drink less milk and more carbonated drinks increasing a possible undersupply of calcium. The decline in use of dairy products along with the increase of osteosporosis has boosted the fortification of food and beverages with o calcium all over the world . Calcium sources are:

  • Calcium carbonater
  • Calcium phosphate
  • Calcium lactate
  • Calcium gluconate
  • Bone ash
  • Oyster
  • Eggshell calcium

But none of these sources have the same high bio availability as milk and their derivates.That is why milk should be carefully protected against pollution and diseases such as BSE.

Bio availability of calcium

One liter skim or full fat milk contains 1.200 mg calcium.About 30% of it is available to humans.
The availability of calcium depends largely of it being soluble.
Mineral water is a good source of calcium being present in soluble form.In dietary supplements the availability of calcium can be differ from case to case.
The bio availability of calcium in vegetables is smaller as from milk.
In milk calcium is linked with other components which avoid reactions as insoluble salts.

  • Lactose and citrate of milk help resorption.
  • Phytate and oxalate reduce resorption.
  • Roughage and fibres do not influence bio availability.
  • Even having a low bio availability fruits and vegetables represent an important factor in daily intake.
  • A low calcium status causes the organism to absorb better as it does under normal conditions.
  • Vitamin D and a normal intake of proteins promote a better bio availability.
  • Human male reabsorb more calcium as women do.
  • During Pregnancy and nursing calcium is reabsorb more easily.
  • As one gets older calcium resorption diminishes.
  • Diseases such as Morbus Chron and Colitis Ulcerosa slow down the resorption.
  • An undersupply of oestrogen causes low levels of calcium.

Daily intake of calcium :
Adults = 800 mg
Infants =1.200 mg
To keep bones strong magnesium as well as calcium and vitamin D are needed.
The ratio of calcium and magnesium is important.Too much calcium and two little magnesium makes blood more apt to clot, leading to heart attack.

The proper ratio is half as much magnesium as calcium.It is believed that old people get only one-fourth as much magnesium as calcium, specifically if they take calcium supplements.
An intake of 1.200 milligrams of calcium per day demands 600 mg of magnesium
A separate supplement of 200 to 300 mg per day seems to be good.Dr. Seelig insists that the daily intake of magnesium should be about 500 milligrams .

Pollutants in milk and dairy products

Pesticides and aflatoxins in milk have their origin in imported animal feed.
The fat soluble pesticides like polychlorated hydrocarbons can contaminate easily milk, heavy metals are very seldom found in milk because they have low solubility.

All efforts should be made to avoid contamination because milk is used to feed children, dairy products such as cheese or yoghurt are consumed in large scale. Contagious diseases like BSE should therefore be avoided through rigorous epidemiological measures.

Pesticides such as insecticides, fungicides herbicides, hexachlorobenzene ( HCB ) and isomers of hexachloro cyclohexane ( HCH )are used in agriculture or are found on the fields.

Even with low concentration of pesticides in animal feed the milk may be heavily affected because liposoluble pesticides usually store in the body of animals and can be detected in the milk in high level.

Mycotoxines such as aflatoxin B1 may be present in ground peanuts or cotton seeds.The cows changes the aflatoxin B1 to aflatoxin M1.
This is why animal feed should be protected against deterioration. Contaminated or spoiled food should not be given to animals.
Chlorated hydrocarbon such as Polychlorated biphenyl(PCB) were used in the past in transformers, refrigerators, in hydraulic oil and as all round chemicals. Its level in milk has decreased after the use of PCB has been reduced.…