Foodborne illness outbreaks and food recalls can cause many of us to think twice about what to buy in our local grocery stores and restaurants. While the United States has one of the safest food systems in the world, it appears as though our food is not without flaws. If you want to understand better how food recalls happen, how our food system is regulated, and what does the future hold for our food system, read on.
In this edition of DataDish, we will talk with Dr. Ben Chapman, who is an associate professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. Dr. Chapman received his doctorate in plant agriculture in 2009 from the University of Guelph. Notably, Dr. Chapman’s research group designs, implements and evaluates the effectiveness of food safety strategies and messages among consumers.
Some highlights from our conversation include:
- U.S. food recalls in 2018 due to microbial contaminants and undeclared allergens that have been in the media lately and the comparison with previous years.
- Most common recalls, which are due to mislabeling and undeclared allergens. Dr. Chapman walks us through ways we can be more vigilant in avoiding ingredients we are allergic to.
- Microbes that cause the most “food safety woes” when it comes to foodborne illness outbreaks. Spoiler alert: Salmonella and Listeria are on the chopping block!
- Food producers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) work together to keep our foods safe. However, consumers should take proper precautions as well. Ben talks with us about how while it is important for consumers to clean, cook, separate and chill, there are more actions we can take to help keep food safe.
- Predictions for future food recalls and what we as consumers can do to stay alerted, educated and avoid foodborne illness.