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Emerging Pathogens- Challenges to Franchise and Catering Business

Anang, DM and Rusul, G (2003) Emerging Pathogens- Challenges to Franchise and Catering Business. In: Food Franchise and Mass Catering- Technology for Expanding Market Frontiers. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

FOOD SAFETY is a major concern for consumers, food producers, processors and regulatory agencies. It is concerned with ensuring food that is safe or free from disease causing agents such as microorganisms, biological toxins and chemicals from the FARM TO THE TABLE, or throughout the FOOD CHAIN. Foodborne diseases are widespread and of growing public health concern problem, both in developed and developing countries. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), USA, estimates about 250 different foodborne pathogens. The global incidence of foodborne disease is difficult to estimate, but it has been reported that in the year 2000 alone, 2.1 million people died from diarrhoeal diseases. The latest edition of the WHO Quarterly Statistics indicates that, the incidence of foodborne diseases may be 300-350 times more frequent than those reported. About 1.5 billion global episodes of diarrhea occur annually, mainly in developing countries, resulting in 3 million deaths among children less than 5 years of age. The WHO estimates that 70% of diarrhoeal episodes are caused by biologically contaminated food. Epidemiological data from both developed and developing countries indicates that the incidence of food poisoning is on the increase. This increase can be attributed to globalization, changing life styles, urbanization, demographic changes, increase international trade and tourism, microbial adaptation, technology and innovation in food processing, food handling, marketing and retail. Changes in Agricultural practices such as intensive farming, use of pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics have also contributed to the increase in the incidence of food poisoning and the emergence of food pathogens. In addition to human suffering, caused by foodborne diseases in terms of death and ill-health, substantial economic costs are involved, affecting individuals, families, industries, health care systems and entire communities. At the national level, epidemics of foodborne disease affect tourism, trade and economic development.

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