19 Dec 2019 What is a chemical Food Safety Hazard? (Excluding Allergens)
The safety of UK foods can be compromised by a range of hazards, including chemical Food Safety hazards. This occurs when the chemicals found in foods are harmful and could be caused by a variety of factors, including cleaning agents, environmental and agricultural contamination, pest control substances, contamination during manufacturing, additives, or water.
How do high levels of chemicals get into the food chain?
There are many ways chemicals can cause Food Safety hazards. For example, during the growing or animal rearing stages contaminants could be picked up from the soil, water, or air. This could be due to natural effects or may be a deliberate chemical hazard. Some of the most commonly found chemical Food Safety hazards involve toxins from the marine or natural environments, pesticides, antibiotics, mycotoxins caused by food moulds, food additives, cleaning products, and also chemicals that are produced during the food manufacturing processes.
How do food moulds cause mycotoxin hazards?
Mycotoxins are natural chemicals that are produced by some food moulds. They grow on lots of different foods, such as fruits, nuts, spices, cereals and peanuts. Contaminated food given to livestock can also cause mycotoxin hazards.
What about pesticides and marine toxins?
A variety of pesticides are used during the growing and livestock rearing phases. These can accumulate within the food chain if left undetected. The preparation and manufacture of fish products can cause marine toxins to enter the food chain, particularly in areas of the world where strict food hygiene practices are not followed.
Overuse of antibiotics within farming is a common cause of chemical Food Safety hazards
Increased use of antibiotics within the agricultural sector has led to bacteria evolving and being super resistant to it. As a result of this there have been more than 25,000 deaths in Europe in the past year alone. This contamination could happen in many ways, during the slaughter process or even when manure is spread in fields or market gardens.
Environmental contaminants are often naturally present
Just some of the chemical hazards commonly found in our natural environment include lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury. All these chemicals can be highly dangerous when consumed in large quantities or concentrated within the meat or fish we purchase.
How do chemical hazards enter foods during manufacturing?
Finally, there are lots of ways harmful chemicals can enter the food chain during the manufacturing.
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