Safe Food.Safe Food
Nestle M, University of California Press "UC Press" redirects here, but this is also an abbreviation for University of Chicago Press
University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. , Berkeley, 2004, 350 pages, $37.95, ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number
ISBN International Standard Book Number
ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m 0-520-24223-8
If you have ever wondered what went on behind the scenes in developing and amending food regulations or why decisions are made that are not in keeping with protecting public health and safety, then this is the book for you!
In this follow up to Food Politics, Nestle exposes the goings-on and really does illustrate why food safety is highly political. This current book extends the arguments set out in Food Politics and brings to light the many themes that underpin the political nature of food safety such as:
* Increasing concentration of food producers into larger units
* Overproduction o·ver·pro·duce
tr.v. o·ver·pro·duced, o·ver·pro·duc·ing, o·ver·pro·duc·es
To produce in excess of need or demand.
o and overabundance o·ver·a·bun·dance
A going or being beyond what is needed, desired, or appropriate; an excess: teenagers with an overabundance of energy. of food in the USA
* Competitiveness between companies to get consumers to eat more food
* Relentless pressures exerted by food companies on government agencies to make favourable regulatory decisions
* Invocation of science as a means to achieve commercial goals
* Clash in values among stakeholders in the food system
This last theme is one that carries throughout the book and Nestle refers to the different ways in which people assess risk--'science based', which balances risk against benefit and cost, versus 'values based', which balances risk against dread and outrage. She notes that the estimation of risk is a scientific question, but the acceptability of risk is a political question.
As the title suggests, the three main themes of this book relate to foodborne illness A foodborne illness (also foodborne disease) is any illness resulting from the consumption of food. Although foodborne illness is commonly called food poisoning, this is often a misnomer. , food biotechnology and bioterrorism, although there is less emphasis on the latter. In Part 1: Resisting Food Safety, Nestle details the eventual introduction of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a systematic preventive approach to food safety, pharmaceutical safety, etc. that addresses physical, chemical and biological hazards as a means of prevention rather than finished product inspection. (HACCP HACCP
hazard analysis critical control points. ) into segments of the meat industry Along the way she identifies the main protagonists and antagonists and the (sometimes) dirty tricks dirty tricks
1. Covert intelligence operations designed to disrupt the economy or upset the political situation in another country.
2. and tactics used to defeat each attempt. One of my favourite parts in these chapters is when the United States Department of Agriculture United States Department of Agriculture (USDA),
n.pr established in 1862, USDA is responsible for the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products. It conducts ongoing research in areas from human nutrition to new crop technologies and also helps ensure open meat inspectors, trying to discredit the HACCP approach to food safety decided that the acronym was more apt as 'Have a Cup of Coffee and Pray'!
In a similar vein, Part 2 details the behind-the-scenes lobbying around the issues of genetically modified genetically modified
(of an organism) having DNA which has been altered for the purpose of improvement or correction of defects
genetically modified genetic adj [food etc] → foods, in particular the issue of substantial equivalence The phrase substantial equivalence is given to a relatively new concept used in the regulation of new foods, especially genetically modified foods, also called [recombinant DNA] (rDNA) derived foods (hereafter GM foods). and the need for premarket testing and labelling.
In each part, Nestle provides very detailed case studies and uses an extensive range of references to support her assertions, including journal articles, texts, government reports, notes from congress, newspaper articles etc.
The conclusion deals with issues relating to bioterrorism, which has obviously become a more pronounced threat particularly in the USA. She suggests that this threat has necessitated a broader definition of food security and that additional efforts will need to be made to deal with it.
She concludes by stating that a number of political actions are necessary to ensure safe food and to engender trust in our food supply--introduce HACCP to all food production, disclose production processes on labels, create a single food agency to overcome the fragmented, overlapping and confusing distribution of authority for food safety, and for consumers to become more active in advocating and electing officials committed to food safety
This was a very illuminating read, but one that was quite detailed and required a lot of concentration--definitely not bedtime reading. There are some tables and figures to illustrate points, but more could have been provided to enhance the readability of the book.
There is the old adage--there is always someone worse off--and certainly this did ring true when comparing the USA and the Australian situation, especially in relation to introduction of HACCP programs, labelling of genetically modified foods and the number of agencies responsible for food safety.
This book is highly recommended for health professionals involved in the food safety field, health policy officials, consumer advocates and students of nutrition, dietetics dietetics /di·e·tet·ics/ (-iks) the science of diet and nutrition.
The branch of therapeutics concerned with the practical application of diet in relation to health and disease. , public health and policy.
Monash University, Melbourne
[c] 2006 The Author
Journal compilation [c] 2006 Dietitians Association of Australia