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Food safety has become a popular issue in the media since the early 1990s. It has gained enormous importance in the European Union due to the significance of BSE that resulted in the extensive reorganization of the systems applied to control risk. Among many new disciplines, the risk analysis approach has emerged to provide a methodical paradigm for authorities. Risk analysis has been used in catastrophic loss management for a long time and is rooted in financial decision-making. Food safety, however required new control methods. The White Paper on Food Safety defined risk assessment, risk management and risk communication as distinctive but coherent and cooperative areas. The role of risk assessment and risk management is relatively clear. On the other hand, risk communication is often neglected in everyday policy processes. Its role can be limited to a reaction to press and crisis communication in many cases, although it is well known that 8 out of 10 patients treated with food borne illness are infected by food at home that has not been handled correctly. Fortification of consumer consciousness is also an important issue, which can be fostered by well designed communication campaigns and routine bilateral communication. This paper covers many of the important food safety cases (such as BSE, avian flu, red pepper intoxication, guar gum scandal, food frauds) that have occurred in Hungary from 2000. The analysis presents primary research data derived from different measurement methods utilized in previous years to indicate public resonance of the cases and the communication of different institutions.

In: Ethical futures: bioscience and food horizons

Abstract

Mycotoxins are amongst the most prevalent food contaminants leading to serious health implications for humans and animals. Limiting exposure to them within the population remains a pressing food safety challenge. Prevention and timely detection are crucial for minimising mycotoxin contamination in food and feed. Therefore easy-to-use, rapid, eco-friendly and low-cost screening methods are increasingly implemented. Early-stage end-user engagement in the technological development process aids and guides the research towards increased societal impact. To investigate these end-user needs, the limitations of the currently used methods and the expectations towards a novel approach were mapped among stakeholders in a comprehensive survey. Stakeholders along the food supply chain (agricultural, food processing, retail, food safety and control, laboratories) were identified in five European countries and contacted. A total of 63 participants completed the survey, which was followed-up by an interview. The results of the survey revealed that different end-user groups have different priorities. Important limiting factors for agricultural, processing and retail stakeholders of the current methodologies include the complexity of sample preparation, high cost and time-to-results. Complementing the accredited laboratory tests with a pre-screening device would be especially interesting for agricultural producers (87.5% of the participants are interested) and food processors (80%), since there is an increasing demand for on-site detection of contamination. On the other hand, food control authorities and commercial laboratories indicated higher priority towards low quantification limits and multi-compound methods. The time to get the results was found to be more important than the testing cost (important aspect for 74.6 versus 66.7%). Overall, the findings of this study are critical input for end-user-targeted development of novel mycotoxin detection platforms.

Open Access
In: World Mycotoxin Journal