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What are the Different Types of Food Safety Regulations?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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Though there is no set rule for differentiating between the different types of food safety regulations, although there are ways of breaking them down. Categorizing such regulations by imports, distribution and food service is one way to do it, and will cover many different issues. No matter which division in food regulations is being discussed, the goal of all rules and laws is the same - to keep the food supply safe, and stop food borne illness. Depending on the division, multiple agencies could have a hand in enforcing food safety issues.

Food safety regulations dealing with imports are among the most common, and controversial, of all food regulations. Some countries may see certain regulations as another country's way of unfairly influencing the balance of trade, and so politics has the potential to play into these decision in all directions. For example, while some countries have no problem importing cheese made with unpasteurized milk, others do. The same applies to genetically-modified crops, which have received broad acceptance in the United States, but are met with suspicion in Europe and other places in the world. Regulations in this division are usually enforced by a national department of agriculture.

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Distribution, which includes processing, is another common place where food safety regulations focus. It is especially important to stop food borne illness at this level simply because the potential impact is so great. Contaminated food at this level could spread all over a country, multiple countries, or even the world. If unsafe, a massive recall effort would be needed. This is often very costly and, depending upon the illness, could be very dangerous for many people. Regulations include such things as food sanitation, and measures meant to stop cross-contamination. This is also usually the responsibility of a national department of agriculture.

Food regulations focusing on food service will be concerned with food handling and food safety standards. This may include cooking meats to a certain heat, or at least giving consumers ample warning if the meat is not cooked to that heat, making sure salad bars remain a certain temperature, and other such safety measures. It will also include measures, such as making sure employees practice good hygiene and possibly wear hair nets if preparing food. These regulations will also look at the overall cleanliness of a food preparation and serving area. This is usually handled by a state or local health department.

Those companies or restaurants that disregard food safety regulations will likely be fined, and could even be shut down until corrective action is taken. Therefore, most of these businesses will do whatever is necessary to comply with regulations. Food safety regulations related to the importation of food may be the only case where a business is totally powerless to do something about the situation.

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jeancastle00
Post 4

@thumbtack, you make a valid point about the overregulation of government and it's policies. The problem of course, is that we've experienced deaths and severe sickness from the mishandling of food in our country.

It is in a case like this that I specifically think the government has a role in stepping in to make sure that our food is safe to eat. While you may have excellent experience and washing dishes through your years of working in the restaurant industry, sometimes, experience can actually be harmful into the technique that you have developed over those years.

A good example of this, is when technology for sanitation changes in the industry like dishwashing for restaurants. The types of

chemicals and sanitizers that are now used with combinations of three sink step processes for washing dishes are very different than what the technical steps were 15 years ago.

With the emergence of diseases like hepatitis, it is critical we follow step-by-step when sanitizing dishes that people are reading from. I have no problem with the government regulating the food handlers industry and making sure that the people who serve food to me in a restaurant have the proper knowledge to serve it safely.

thumbtack
Post 3

When I moved to a state required every employee to have a food safety handlers permit, I was extremely frustrated. I worked in the restaurant industry for over 15 years and never had been required to obtain such a certificate.

It would seem obvious to me that experience can often play a significant role and whether or not an individual needs to obtain further education to perform a certain task. I worked long enough, and I know how to clean dishes. I don't need a special book or a special class to tell me when it is proper for another human to eat off the plate that I've cleaned.

summertime
Post 2

@JoseJames, is right in his analysis that many states have different regulations for the way that food is dealt with and handle in a kitchen or restaurant environment.

Unlike California, where only a single employee must obtain a food safety permit, the state of Washington requires that every employee that touches or handles dishes or food inside of a restaurant must obtain a certification for the position.

This requirement is also a great way for employers to be able to weed through a variety of resumes and applications submitted when looking for a new employee. Employers can simply disregard employees or potential employees, that do not have the proper permits for the position that they are applying.

You can think of this extra step, as a means of regulating the food industry even further. While sometimes government regulation is too much, I think this is a good example of when the government stepped in on a safety issue and has in fact saved lives from food poisoning because that.

JoseJames
Post 1

Because food safety training and certification can be handled in a variety of ways, it really is important to identify your local and state regulations on safe food handling.

Often it is the case that a local government or state government will require that a food handlers permit or certificate to be obtained before an employee is capable of working in an organization that serves food to customers.

In the state of California, a safe-serve certification must be obtained by at least one employee that is working for a kitchen. This might seem strict, but it is to ensure that we as consumers are eating healthy food that is been dealt with properly.

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