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SUB-PROBLEMS INCLUDING LEADING TO IMPAIRMENT AND BEST PRACTICES FOR PRODUCTION OF FOOD

In general, the production of food is a very complex process during which disease organisms can be readily transmitted and allowed to grow in various environments because of deficiencies in: protection of raw products; protection of finished products; use of poor water sources; improper time and temperature controls; poor, outdated, and hard-to-clean equipment; production process control; buildings and facilities; personal hygiene of the employees; lack of appropriate training of employees, supervisors, and managers; improper use of partially used product; improper handling of high-risk foods; and lack of appropriate review to evaluate programs established to prevent disease and injury and protect the public. This situation is made even more complex when there is a demand on wholesalers of food to meet deadlines that are sometimes almost impossible to accomplish. A rushed situation many times leads to accidents and mishandling of foodstuffs.

There have been many recent examples of contaminated food entering the food stream in the United States. This food has come from numerous countries. A challenge of the global market relates to food that has come from foreign countries and which has been contaminated with sewage and has caused outbreaks of foodborne disease in the United States.

Specifically, in the production of food (eggs, fish and shellfish, fruits and nuts, grains, meat and meat products, milk and milk products, produce), the land and water utilized can be contaminated by people, animals, naturally occurring substances, and air. The contaminants of all raw food can be microbiological, chemical, and/or physical. Microorganisms, which cause disease in people, can be added to the raw food product by people and animals, either directly or through contaminated water. Chemical contaminants may include pesticides, fertilizers, and heavy metals from land and water pollution, natural sources, mining operations, aerial sources from smelting operations, etc. Chemicals, especially heavy metals that are bioaccumulative, can be concentrated in the food chain, therefore producing a greater effect in people than the original quantity of chemicals in the environment. Antibiotics are frequently added to feed to make chickens grow bigger and to help preserve fish and meat. Extraneous materials such as insect parts and rodent hairs are frequently found in raw agricultural material. Radioactive fallout can contaminate food products. Foods coming from foreign sources contain the contaminants from the areas of growth or production. In some cases, chemicals have been added intentionally to increase the value of the food. However, these chemicals can be extremely hazardous.

Industrial farm animal production systems create a substantial amount of air, water, and land pollution. Land is contaminated with large quantities of concentrated manure and urine, large quantities of solid waste such as feed, bedding, etc., agricultural chemicals, and dead carcasses, especially from chickens. Water sources, both surface and groundwater, are contaminated with runoff from the manure and urine, nutrients, industrial and agricultural chemicals, microorganisms, and heavy metals. The air is contaminated with methane gas, ammonia, carbon dioxide, etc. (See endnotes 18, 19.) In addition, poor indoor air quality is among other things a direct hazard to workers. The environmental problems may be highly detrimental to fish, other wildlife, and people. (See endnote 19.)

Best Practices in Production of Food

Refer to each of the individual categories in the Processing of Food section below for specific

Best Practices. Also for specifics on environmental issues and Best Practices see Chapter 2, “Air

Quality (Outdoor [Ambient] and Indoor)”; Chapter 11, “Sewage Disposal Systems”; Chapter 12,

“Solid Waste, Hazardous Materials, and Hazardous Waste Management”; and Chapter 14, “Water

Quality and Water Pollution.”

 
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