Food Safety is Risky Business - National Ag Risk Education Library

Food Safety Is Risky Business
Nancy Flores, Ph.D., Extension Food Technology Specialist 575-646-1179
Managing a farm or food processing facility
must take into consideration all factors that can
have adverse affect on the operation. Many
times farm business management does not
automatically include food safety issues.
Safety and wholesomeness of any food
product is a major contributor to the
profitability of any farming operation.
Methodical assessment of factors or risks to
an operation is dynamic processes that must
be continuously evaluated and adapted to the
current situation of the farming operation and
must also respond to the needs of the market
and final consumer.
Various Food safety systems are mandated by
state and federal law to improve food safety.
Consideration of the process, facility,
personnel and protection of the final product.
All personnel must be trained, understand the
principles of the food-safety plans and must
follow established procedures.
Key elements of any food safety program:
• Conduct hazard or risk analyses
• Implement and monitor preventive controls
• Institute corrective actions when necessary
• Repeat analyses at least every three years
• Maintain records of these activities.
Why do we have outbreaks of
foodborne illness in food production
facilities with
Who is responsible?
GMPs are operational sanitation procedures for
personnel, facility, grounds and proper
maintenance of equipment.
These practices are basic to any food processing
operation and are required by law (21CFR110.3).
Design of building and equipment to minimize
injury to product and to maximize accessibility to
Prevent birds or other vectors from
contaminating packing equipment surfaces,
packing areas, and storage areas.
Establish Routine cleaning and sanitizing
programs for all food contact surfaces and
surrounding areas.
The goal of GAPs is to reduce microbial risks in
fruits and vegetables by utilizing a FOOD SAFETY
PLAN that reviews all aspects of food production.
Although not a directly mandated program;
brokers distributors and public school food
programs are asking for third-party inspections
based on GAP requirements.
HACCP ( hassip) is a preventative system rather
than the typical reactive system such as sampling
and inspection of food products after
Many HACCP principles already are in place in the
FDA-regulated, low-acid canned food industry and
the seafood and juice industries. USDA FSIS meat
and catfish processing inspection includes HACCP.
Lapses in facility or system management
allow for amplification of localized
contamination, broadly re-distribute
pathogens and other opportunities for
pathogen contamination.
One outbreak where severe illness or death
occurs can devastate a business and
adversely affect an entire produce sector
even if it is remotely associated with the
Nationally the number of food born illness
cases associated with produce (fresh,
canned, and processed) is 19,700,000 at a
cost of approximately $1,960 per case and
$39 billion annually in economic losses (IFT,
In today’s global political climate, it is also
easy to envision the devastating effects of a
food borne illness outbreak from an “on
farm” act of agro-terrorism. Including food
safety issues in the business risk assessment
of a farm operation will identify all factors
that can affect profit for a food producer.