girl in the donut factory

brennagh, beegeok, yanfen, yongren, yapmin and shixuan=)

e diel, 15 prill 2007

Safety Hazards- Seafood

Seafood is subject to a wide range of safety hazards, some of which are unique to seafood. Fortunately, most are controllable and occur infrequently, although in some cases the controls are not easy and better ones are needed.

Other than raw molluscan shellfish, seafood is only rarely a source of illness caused by bacteria from the environment. Most pathogens are introduced in the processing environment. As aquaculture becomes a more important source of food, however, care must be taken that bacteria are not carried from contaminated ponds to workers and consumers.

Several viruses infectious to humans enter aquatic habitats through sewage. Most concentrate in shellfish and can be present and infective even when bacterial indicators of fecal pollution are absent. Viruses probably cause the bulk of seafood-associated disease, particularly the Norwalk agent, which is linked to the consumption of raw or undercooked molluscan shellfish. Viruses can also be introduced during handling by food plant workers.

After Norwalk virus, the two most frequently reported illnesses from seafood are from toxins. The first is scombroid poisoning, which occurs as a result of decomposition in certain species of finfish, primarily tuna, mahi-mahi and bluefish. It is completely preventable through good handling practices. The second is ciguatera poisoning from consuming predatory, tropical and subtropical-fish such as grouper, snapper, barracuda, and Spanish mackerel. These toxins originate in marine algae and can be concentrated by passage along the food chain. Ciguatoxic fish are generally confined to very localized geographic areas where blooms of the algae occur.

Parasites such as the anasakine nematode (round worm) naturally infect many fish and ocean mammals. When human infections from marine parasites occur it is almost always from the consumption of raw fish (sushi, sashimi) or undercooked fish. These infections could be completely avoided by adequate cooking or by commercial freezing if the fish is to be consumed raw.

Chemical Contaminants
The presence of toxic chemicals in the aquatic environment leads to the potential for contamination of fish and shellfish. These chemicals include pesticides, other industrial chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) , heavy metals (such as lead, cadmium, and mercury), and petroleum hydrocarbons. Marine species, especially deep sea varieties, comprise the majority of commercial fish consumed in this country. Generally speaking, these fish have little potential to contain chemical contaminants at levels of toxicologic concern. Fresh water and estuarine species, especially non-migratory bottom feeders, are generally the most exposed to a variety of chemical contaminants.


e premte, 6 prill 2007

Food Safety control

This is to provide a guidance for carrying out food recalls. It explains what should be done when food products have to be removed from supply or use by consumers for public health and safety reasons. Recall of food product is in the common interest of the industry, the government and in particular, the consumer.

What is a recall?
A recall is defined as an action to remove from sale, distribution and consumption, foods which may pose a safety hazard to consumers.

Role of the recall
The recall procedure at its various stages including follow-up checks to ensure that recalls are successful and that subsequent batches of the food products are safe for human consumption. A recall should be undertaken in consultation with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and preferably with prior agreement on the recall strategy. During the recall process, company personnel should keep all relevant parties informed of the latest developments.

Initiation of a Recall
A recall may be initiated as a result of reports/complaints referred to the company from a variety of sources. The reports may be referred by manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, medical practitioners, government agencies and consumers. A recall of goods manufactured overseas may also be initiated by reports appearing in overseas bulletins and similar publications of health authorities, or from information received directly from such authorities.
To minimize the risk that may arise, recalls are usually carried out in the shortest time practicable. Companies are encouraged to develop its own recall procedure so that it can respond promptly to any emerging situation. The procedure should be able to achieve the purposes of stopping distribution and sale of an affected item, notifying the public and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department of the problem, and effectively and efficiently retrieve from the market any product which is potentially unsafe.

Informing the Consumer
Depending on the extent of the recall, the company concerned should inform the consumer of the recall at the earliest possible moment. Information dissemination may take the form of a press release, letter to the concerned parties or paid advertisement in the media. Sufficient telephone hotline service should be made available to deal with enquiries.

Assessment of the Recall
Depending on the imminent risk that may be involved, there are two classes of recall:
(a) Class one recall-emergency situation.
This arises when there is a reasonable probability that the use or consumption of the product would cause adverse health consequences or death.
(b) Class two recall-concern situation.
The product may have serious defects which represent a potential health risk.

To expedite the classification, the company should provide all information on the 'Food Recall Notification Form'. Other relevant details may include:
(a) availability for investigation of suspect sample or other samples;
(b) assessment of risk; and
(c) proposed recall classification.

Since some of the above information may be of a commercially sensitive or private nature, the Department will, upon request by the company concerned, maintain confidentiality on selected information as and when necessary.

In determining the recall level, the principal factors to be considered are the significance of the risk, the channels by which the goods have been distributed and the level to which distribution has taken place.

Product Recovery
Products may be recovered by return to supermarkets, return via distribution chains or direct return from consumers. The product is to be recovered to a central site, or in the case of widely distributed product, to major recovery sites. The recovered product must be stored in an area which is separated from any other food product. Accurate records are to be kept of the amount of recovered product and the batch codes of the product recovered. After recovery, products may be corrected or reprocessed before release to the market if it is fit for human consumption. Otherwise the product is to be destroyed.

Follow-up Action
Post-recall should provide the Department with an interim report as soon as a recall is completed, in any case not later than one month after the announcement of a recall. A final report should be ready within two months of the recall. The reports should contain essential information such as:
(a)the circumstances leading to the recall;
(b)the action taken by the company including details of any publicity;
(c)the extent of distribution of the relevant batch locally and in overseas;
(d)the result of the recall (quantity of stock returned, corrected, outstanding, etc.);
(e)the proposed method of disposal or otherwise of recalled stock with record of destruction;
(f)the action proposed to be implemented in future to prevent a recurrence of the problem.

The report helps to establish the effectiveness of the recall. Unless satisfactory reports are received, the Department may consider taking further action, e.g. stepped-up inspection, against the company concerned.

Effectiveness of Recall Action
To be effective, recall notification must reach as far as the product has been distributed. The effectiveness of the recall is assessed upon the amount of product returned as a percentage of the amount of product which left the manufacturer while taking into account the retail turnover of that product.

Worldwide, cooperation between the company and the regulatory authority has proven over the years to be the quickest and most reliable method to remove potentially dangerous products from the market. These guidelines outline the procedures which would enhance efficiency and transparency in the recall of food products. The implementation of such guidelines will hopefully minimize the loss inflicted on the company and the community at large.


p.s. however this is only for Hong Kong. Whether Singapore follows the same practice is not known yet=(

Food recall systems

Why is there a need for a food recall system?
Every day the food industry supplies millions of food items to consumers around the world. There are occasions when mistakes occur and products have to be withdrawn from the marketplace. These mistakes usually may cause harm to consumers, upon consumption.

Who needs a food recall system?
Wholesale suppliers, manufacturers, and importers need a food recall system. Reasons for a food recall could include contamination of food by food poisoning bacteria, or by chemicals or foreign matter that could harm someone when the food is eaten. That is why we need a effective and efficient recall system.

If you are a wholesale supplier,a manufactureror an importer of food you must have a food recall system in place that you can use to retrieve food from the market place if you find that the food may be contaminated in some way and be dangerous to eat after you have sent it on to other food businesses or your customers. This requirement is set out in Standard 3.2.2 Food Safety Practices and General Requirements. Your recall system must be set out in written form and you must follow the written procedures when recalling unsafe food.

However if you are a food service or retail business such as a supermarket, a restaurant or a takeaway shop, you do not need a recall system unless you are also a wholesale supplier, or manufacturer or importer. The wholesale suppliers, manufacturers or importers are responsible for the recall of food sold at supermarkets, and food served at restaurants and takeaways is normally eaten immediately, so a recall is impractical.

However, food service and retail businesses may still have to play a part in a recall from another business. In this case certain specific requirements apply to the identification, storage and disposal of the recalled food and recalled items returned by customers. The section of this fact sheet headed ' Disposing of recalled, unsafe, unsuitable or returned food' includes further information on these requirements.

Sometimes food businesses decide to retrieve food for reasons that are unrelated to the safety of the food, for example, packaging or labelling faults, and they may choose to use their recall system to do this, although there is no legal obligation for them to do so.

The purpose of a recall system
A recall system must:
1. stop any further distribution and sale of the unsafe product as soon as possible.
2. tell the public and the relevant authorities about the problem.
3. effectively retrieve the unsafe food.

Key features of a recall system
1. the purpose of a recall and a list of the members of the recall team and their responsibilities;
2. a series of steps to guide decisions on the risks associated with the potentially unsafe product;
3. a series of steps to guide decisions on the extent of the recall - for example, has the product already reached the retail level and been sold to consumers;
4. a list of the authorities that are to be told about the recall
5. records of where the product has been sent, for example to wholesalers, distribution centres, supermarkets, hospitals and restaurants;
6. records of information that will help other businesses and the public to identify and return the food you are recalling, for example, the name of the product, the batch code, the date mark, the reason for the recall, where to return the food and who to contact for more information;
7. arrangements for retrieving food returned to supermarkets or other outlets; and
arrangements to assess the amount of recalled food that has been returned and how much of it is still in the market place.


e enjte, 5 prill 2007

Welcome bren=)

From now onwards Brennagh will be in our group=)=)
but cuihua will be outta the group=(=(

We discussed so much today, but no food has come to our mind yet. We shall wait for Yapmin or Beegeok for their food product, and even recipe!!=)

Meanwhile, while we temporary cannot research on anything related to any food product, we shall start on legislations and regulations, recall methods, and microbes and related food borne illness.

I shall start my research on recall methods tml. Cya=)

Use of HACCP

What is HACCP?
HACCP is actually Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points which is a systematic preventative approachto ensure food safety. It helps to pin point physical, chemical and biological hazards as a means of prevention rather than finished product inspection. It is also known to identify potential food safety hazards, whether they are the raw materials, processes, or even equipments. Key actions, known as Critical Control Points (CCP's) are taken to reduce or eliminate the risk of the hazards. The system is used at all stages of food production and preparation processes of all foods.

This method plans out unsafe practices, differs from traditional "produce and test" quality assurance methods which are less successful and inappropriate for highly perishable foods. The use of HACCP helps to ensure the safety of the all food alike.

7 established principles of HACCP
1: Conduct a hazard analysis and identify the preventive measures the plant can apply to control these hazards. It can be biological, chemical, or physical cause a food to be unsafe for human consumption.
2: Identify critical control points which are points, steps, or procedures in a food process at which control can be applied for a hazard to be prevented, eliminated, or reduced to an acceptable level.
3: Establish critical limits for each critical control point.
4: Establish critical control point monitoring requirements and monitoring activities.
5: Establish corrective actions which can indicate a deviation from an established critical limit.
6: Establish record keeping procedures like documents, including its hazard analysis and written HACCP plan, and records documenting the monitoring of critical control points, critical limits, verification activities, and the handling of processing deviations.
7: Establish procedures for verifying the HACCP system is working as intended to prove if it is successful.


Areas with confirmes huamn cases of the Avian flu

Fron the World Health Organisation, I found out that there are a lot of countries with Avian flu!!
The countries are,
Egypt, Niginia, Laos, Indonesia and China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Iraq etc.
I guess these are the countries we shd not be taking their poultry from.

e mërkurë, 4 prill 2007

Up next.....

Next up, I am going to research on, the microbial limits, process parameters, use of HACCP template and regional countries where birds with Avian flu are found.
I gotta go now. Next posting probably by tomorrow=)

Human risk on Avian Flu

H5N1 has caused a very large number of detected cases of severe disease and death in humans. The sacry part is that, it is possible that only the most severely diagnosed cases are reported, while milder cases go unreported. Therefore there is a need to control the spread of virus.

WHO recently reported evidence of human-to-human spread in Indonesia. In this situation, 8 people in one family were infected. This shows how contagious the infection can be. So far, there is no vaccine to protect humans against H5N1 virus.


Research on Avian flu

I researched on Avian Flu through the net to find out what is it about. I then realised that it is actually what known as 'bird flu'. I then researched more to find out what caused it and what is so dangerous about it.

It is caused by a virus, called Avian influenza that infects wild birds and domestic poultry. They are known as low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

LPAI naturally occurs in wild birds and will spread to domestic birds, like chickens and ducks. However it causes no signs of infection in these birds. These strains are not a worry to human health=)

It is HPAI that kills:( From the website,, i found out that HPAI spreads a lot faster than LPAI. It kills many birds and humans too.

Avian influenza (AI) is primarily spread by
1. direct contact between healthy birds and infected birds,
2.through indirect contact with contaminated materials.
The virus can be spread through the faeces of infected birds and through secretions from the nose, mouth and eyes. Therefore, the eggs of those birds are potentially hazardous too.

Research has also found that AI also can be found on egg shells and can infect the egg white and egg yolks. However airborne transmission of virus unlikely.

So, what is the virus we normally heard of, i.e. H5N1?
It is actually the mutation of HPAI that could spread easily from person to person, or chicken to person. That is why we have to control this virus, as it can kill.

Can we get avian influenza from eating poultry or eggs?
Yes, if the food have not been properly prepared. Cooking poultry and eggs to the proper temperature can prevent it though=)
For example given in our package, the eggs in pound cake. Eggs should be cooked until the yolks and whites are firm, and if temperature were to be measured, it is to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pastuerisation of eggs can be done too, to eliminate the presence of the virus.