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Alternative NamesFood - hygiene and sanitation
Definition Return to top
Food safety refers to the conditions and practices that preserve the quality of food to prevent contamination and foodborne illnesses.
Function Return to top
Food can be contaminated in many different ways. Some food products may already contain bacteria or parasites. The germs can be spread during the packaging process if the food products are not handled properly. Failure to cook or store the food properly can cause further contamination.
Properly handling and preparing food greatly reduces the risks of getting foodborne illnesses.
Food Sources Return to top
All foods can become contaminated. Higher risk foods include red meats and poultry; eggs; cheese and dairy products; raw sprouts; and raw fish or shellfish.
Side Effects Return to top
Poor food handling and inadequate food safety can cause infection (foodborne illness). Symptoms of foodborne illness vary, but usually include stomach problems. Foodborne illness may be severe and life-threatening, especially in young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.
Recommendations Return to top
References Return to top
Medeiros LC, Hillers VN, Chen G, Bergmann V, Kendall P, Schroeder M. Design and development of food safety knowledge and attitude scales for consumer food safety education. J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 Nov;104(11):1671-7.
Anderson JB, Shuster TA, Hansen KE, Levy AS, Volk A. A camera's view of consumer food-handling behaviors. J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 Feb;104(2):186-91.
Redmond EC, Griffith CJ. Consumer food handling in the home: a review of food safety studies. J Food Prot. 2003 Jan;66(1):130-61.Update Date: 5/21/2008 Updated by: D. Scott Smith, M.D., MSc, DTM&H, Chief of Infectious Disease & Geographic Medicine, Kaiser Redwood City, CA & Adjunct Assistant Professor, Stanford University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.