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FOOD SAFETY OF THE SHORT SUPPLY CHAIN - Favv

FOOD SAFETY OF THE SHORT SUPPLY CHAIN - Favv

wares and that 84 %

wares and that 84 % disagreed with the idea that their products could cause food poisoning. Guzewich and Ross (1999) reviewed the literature and found that 82 % of the reported outbreaks implicated food handlers as the source of infection and that the majority of the outbreaks associated with food handlers involved transmission of the pathogen by the food handlers’ hand. This is surely the case for noroviruses, responsible for 17.8 % of all foodborne outbreaks in Europe in 2008. A good personal hygiene and recognition of the disease at the human level are the basis to limit the transmission to consumers. Other alternative marketing initiatives, elaborated in the short food supply chain such as the use of vending machines and web shopping are leading to a specific set of precautions which have to be taken to guarantee microbiological safety. Concerning the use of vending machines for selling raw milk on farm, specific requirements were elaborated by the FASFC (Anonymous, 2009), stressing the importance of governance of cold temperature and (restricted) holding time of the raw milk in the vending machine. The FASFC Sci Com stressed in its advice 02‐2012, the importance of providing sufficient information to the consumer on the microbiological risks related to the consumption of raw milk, especially for vulnerable groups such as elderly, young children, pregnant woman and immune‐ compromised persons. HIGH RELATIVE COST FOR MICROBIAL TESTING TO COMPLY TO MICROBIAL CRITERIA OR FOR BASELINE DATA ON MICROBIAL SAFETY Each system for ensuring food safety includes the demand for a number of necessary analyses. The requested microbial testing is relative expensive for an operator in the short food supply chain due to the relative small scale production and the combination of various activities (primary production and processing). As a consequence, the relative costs are high. Guidance and support by public or private networks may help in the elaboration of a dedicated sampling plan (products to be analyzed, along with frequency of analysis and selection of microbial parameters) to verify food safety and provide guarantees for placing safe food on the market. An example of the complexity of microbiological testing is the microbiological criterion defined for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in end products (Anonymous, 2005). The criterium defines as end product limit “

proof are missing or insufficiently elaborated, the criterion of “absence of L. monocytogenes in 25 g or ml of product” has to be applied, which is the case for many producers in the short chain. INCREASING CENTRALIZATION AND GLOBALIZATION It has to be taken into account that also in the short food supply chain production, globalization is introduced e.g. due to import of feed, additives, fertilizers and seeds. Examples of possible introduced emerging hazards are: rare Salmonella serotypes (related to feed and fertilizer import (Li et al., 2012; Miles et al., 2009; Smith et al., 1982)), antibiotic resistance genes present in pathogens and commensal bacteria circulating on the farm (Sci Com FASFC 29‐2010, 18‐2012) and for example pathogenic E. coli introduced by seeds. The latter became clear during the recent outbreak with Escherichia coli O104:H4 in the spring of 2011 in Germany and the related cluster in France, which was traced back to on‐farm sprout production and the use of contaminated seeds with origin in Egypt. This outbreak stressed the possible drastic effects of seed contamination and thus the role of input materials which are not under direct control of the farmer. Investigation of the outbreak strain showed that we dealt with a new pathogenic E. coli strain (indicated as an entero‐aggregative enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EAHEC), an EAEC‐VTEC or an AggVTEC by Buvens and Piérard (2012)), not previously isolated as human foodborne pathogen (Sci Com FASFC 15‐2012). Recently, specific requirements for hygiene in the production of sprouted seeds were elaborated by the FASFC (Anonymous, 2012). In the short food supply chain of meat, animals are usually slaughtered in a centralized slaughterhouse which makes also the short chain meat production vulnerable for contamination from multiple sources. For animal products, contamination of processing areas and products with multiple pathogenic strains are often encountered in slaughterhouses and meat processing plants for pigs and poultry. Multiple Salmonella strains were detected in several pig slaughterhouses and on pig carcasses (Botteldoorn et al., 2003); the same was also observed in poultry slaughterhouses and broiler carcasses (Heyndrickx et al., 2007). OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES An increasing number of cooperative processing initiatives and new marketing formats are being introduced in the short food supply chain, which give an extra dimension both to the above mentioned strengths and weaknesses. They can be on the one hand regarded as opportunities to improve the specific microbiological safety issue of the short food chain, but they never come without new challenges on the other hand. Cooperative initiatives lead to a larger scale production when it coincides with co‐processing of products of several primary producers. To guarantee microbiological food safety in these more complex 39

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