Issues 2019-06-10T17:18:02+00:00

WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS OF FOOD DISTRIBUTION?

​Microbiological tests currently available for the food industry provide results too late to prevent product recalls and to guarantee consumer safety. The absence of a fast, reliable test for bacterial detection (E.coli, Listeria, Salmonella, etc.) is a serious issue for the fresh food industry (fruits and vegetables, dairy products, fresh meat and fish, etc.). The results of the standard testing systems (HPC) are available after a number of days. “Express” tests may require from 18 to 32 hours. During this time, food products will have been released from the processing facilities and will be available on supermarket shelves, or will have already been consumed by customers.

Cost reduction

Timely action eliminates detrimental extra costs.

Consumer safeguard
Product Recalls

Test results are available only after the product is released for distribution and retail or, even worse, after consumption.

47% of product recalls is due to microbiological issues.

A MAJOR THREAT TO FOOD SAFETY

Throughout the production chain, the potential contamination of bacterial pathogens such as Escherichia Coli, Listeria, food Salmonella, etc. is among the most serious threats to the whole food sector and to consumer health. The problem is exacerbated by the slow speed of the analytical methods currently used to detect dangerous bacteria. As a matter of fact, especially as far as fresh products are concerned, test results are made available only after the products have been released for distribution and retail or, even worse, after consumption. In the USA and Europe, 47% of food product recalls (practically one out of two) is caused by microbiological issues.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, A SECTOR ESPECIALLY AT RISK.

In terms of microbiological hazards, the fruit and vegetable sector is exposed to serious specific risks. The situation is made worse by common consumption practices. Most fruit and vegetables are consumed raw, thus not affecting the potential pathogens that would be neutralized by thorough cooking. Different sectors across the fruit and vegetable supply chain are involved: Grade I products (unwashed retail fresh products), Grade IV (ready-to-use) and frozen products. Unfortunately, in Europe there is plenty of evidence about the serious risk in this sector. Among the several cases occurring over the past few years, it would suffice to mention that 53 people died in Germany in 2013 and almost 4000 people suffered from health problems because of a single case of E-coli bacterium spread by an agricultural product. In the United Kingdom, 2 people died and 153 were hospitalized in 2016 due to E.coli in arugula, which allegedly originate in Italy.

Consumer Risks

  • The majority of the products are consumed raw.

  • Fifty-three people died and almost 4000 suffered from health problems because of contamination by E.coli in Germany in 2011.

  • Two people died and 153 people were hospitalized in the UK in 2016 also because of E.coli.

  • Several sectors of the fruit and vegetable supply chain are exposed to risk, including Grade I (not washed retail fresh products), Grade IV (ready-to-use), and frozen products.

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