Food safety is of great importance and is the subject of many standards. Mold, fungus, coliform bacteria, listeria, parasites, allergens as well as chemical pesticides and fertilizers and naturally occurring foreign substances are found in not only meat, milk and other foods, but also in water. Processing plants and health departments place high importance on maintaining the purity of food because the consequences of food borne illness are serious. Effects can be temporary but sometimes can last for years or be fatal and may include chronic arthritis, brain and nerve damage or kidney failure. About one in six Americans will have food poisoning in 2015. Safe food handing and food processing rely on cleanliness, sterilization, refrigeration, and proper monitoring and measurement techniques. The route from farm to table is often long, involving many steps and each one is important to ensuring food safety.
ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Systems – A Checklist for Small Business harmonizes the requirements for food safety management systems. All types of organization within the food supply chain, including feed producers – primary producers, food manufacturers, transport and storage operators, retailers and food service outlets – can use it to ensure that there is no weak link in the food supply chain.
ISO 4831:2006 gives general guidelines for the detection and the enumeration of coliforms. It is applicable to products intended for human consumption and for the feeding of animals, and to environmental samples in the area of food production and food handling. Enumeration is carried out by calculation of the most probable number (MPN) after incubation in a liquid medium at 30 °C or 37 °C.
The causes and symptoms of food borne illness as well as other useful information may be found at http://www.foodsafety.gov/