New Approaches To Regulating Food Safety

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that "foodborne disease remains one of the most common and important causes of illness and deaths"-this despite progress in improving the quality of food and food handling in the United States, such as canning, refrigerating, freezing, and pasteurizing foods. According to researchers at the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), from 6.5 million to 33 million illnesses and up to 9,000 deaths may occur each year from foodborne microbes (namely, bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi). For just the few foodborne bacterial and parasitic diseases for which we have made cost estimates, medical charges and lost productivity cost society $5-6 billion annually (see box and table 1). In contrast to foodborne pathogens- which generally cause illness within hours or months-any toxicological effects from pesticide residues in food, in general, may take decades to manifest their chronic health effects. Such health risks are less easily tied to a particular cause. Most experts agree that pesticide residues in food pose minimal health risks. Nonetheless, questions continue to be raised about whether such risks are adequately understood and measured. For example, a recent National Academy of Sciences study questioned whether the current assessment of dietary risks from pesticide residues adequately accounts for their effects in children. This uncertainty has contributed to continued consumer concerns about pesticide risks (also see "Food Safety: Meal Planners Express Their Concerns," elsewhere in this issue).

Issue Date:
May 05 1994
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Published in:
Food Review: The Magazine of Food Economics, Volume 17, Issue 2
Page range:

 Record created 2017-12-19, last modified 2018-01-22

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