Thursday, November 10, 2005

Deaths By Food Poisoning

Foodborne disease concerns are on the rise in the EU, ever since one company got shut down after an E. coli outbreak spread to 161 people (affecting mostly school children) ...killing one young boy.

John Tudor & Sons, which supplied schools, retirement homes and retail outlets, has been closed down since the firm's cooked meat products were linked to the E coli 0157 outbreak, which occurred throughout south Wales, most of them at 42 schools.

"The firm, based in Bridgend, South Wales, closed down voluntarily when the food poisoning outbreak occurred. Local officials later issued an emergency notice stopping the company from trading. The company contested the decision and is waiting for a court decision on the matter. Police sealed off the plant on 7 October and launched a criminal investigation into the firm's disinfection procedures and its vacuum packing process at its plant in South Wales." source - FoodProductionDailyEU

The new EU regulations covers controls at all stages of production, processing and distribution. It covers controls on feed and food produced within the EU and that are exported to or imported from outside the bloc.

New rules on imports will require systematic checks of documentation with additional random identity and physical checks for foods and feeds of animal origin, plus imported "high-risk" foods are slated to get the same intense scrutiny.

However, with about 700 unfilled food safety posts in the UK -- even with tougher legislation and random spot-checks, will there be enough Food Safety inspectors to go around?

The tighter control legislation comes at a time when food safety concerns are on the rise throughout the world ...but few general consumers are even aware of these concerns.

For example, in the USA many people might perceive the quality of our food to be quite high -- right? Guess again. According to one source, the death rate extrapolations for USA for food poisoning is estimated at 5,000 per year.

That's 416 deaths per month, 96 per week, 13 per day.