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Food Safety: Risks associated with food consumption

The concept of world food safety is very broad and is based on people having permanent physical and economic access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food sources to meet their dietary and food preference needs for carrying out an active and healthy life. Food safety is a must when it comes to people’s health. In developed countries, where access to food is guaranteed, when we talk about food safety we mean the trust we feel that when we eat food we will not only obtain the nutrients we expect, but we will also not suffer any adverse effect that could be harmful to our health. Food safety cannot be improvised. It is the result of applying a series of measures throughout the food chain intended to prevent or reduce hazards in a food item.
There are various kinds of risks and associated contaminants: macroscopic (visible remains), toxic (such as pesticides, remains from cleaning products, etc.) and biological (parasites such as Anisakis and microorganisms). Microbiological—particularly bacterial—contamination is the most common cause of food-related health problems and where human intervention is truly crucial.
We must not fall into the trap of thinking that all bacteria are harmful and potentially cause foodborne illness. Some are harmless and even beneficial, intentionally used in the preparation of some foods such as yogurt and cheese. Others are responsible for the breakdown of foods such we see in the putrefaction of meat and fish and the fermentation of sauces and purees. These are not, however, the most dangerous bacteria. There are harmful bacteria  that often do not alter the product but do affect the health of those who consume it. When we eat a food with this type of bacteria or other pathogenic microorganisms or their toxins, we can be subject to a series of disorders of varying seriousness and develop food poisoning.
Although we may think that food can only become contaminated when handled, there are also risks during the production, transport and storage process where the food can be in jeopardy. However, the consumer can intervene in this area of the food chain by always avoiding any possible contamination of food and even in some cases eliminating contamination, as in raw, unprocessed food that may naturally contain microorganisms, (fresh meat, seafood, eggs and vegetables, etc.).
Today consumers are more interested in food safety, requesting information and advice to help ensure their family’s health. As consumers, we have the right to useful and clear information on the quality of food and ingredients at the time of purchase, as well as health guarantees backed by producers and competent health authorities. We have the duty and responsibility of being informed, understanding and implementing correct food handling habits focused always on preserving the health of the products we consume, for the good of our health and the health of the people we feed at home. Do not forget that an informed consumer is more protected against food poisoning.