Food passing several stages in the long and sophisticated food chain processing (from farm to fork) before being consumed and in each stage can cause morbidity and mortality, and also destruction to food industry. This is because food is a vulnerable media for contamination by thousands of biological, chemical and physical agents, and radio nuclear materials. Such contamination may occur intentionally or unintentionally far of “intended crime.” On the other side, food may deliberately contaminate within “intended terroristic crime.” Food and water contamination remains the easiest way to distribute toxic agents for the purpose of terrorism. Intentional contamination of food and water supplies by such harmful agents for terrorist purpose is a real and current threat to consumer’s health. This presentation addresses the chemical contamination of foods. Unlike most microbiological agents, chemical contaminants present in foods are often unaffected by thermal processing. They can be classified according to the source of contamination and the mechanism by which they enter the food product. They include a wide range of agrochemicals used in agricultural practices and animal husbandry with the intent to increase crops and reduce costs. Such agents include pesticides (e.g. insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides), plant growth regulators, veterinary drugs (e.g. nitrofuran, fluoroquinolones, malachite green, chloramphenicol), and bovine somatotropin (rBST). Moreover, food can be contaminated by chemicals that are present in the environment in which the food is grown, harvested, transported, stored, packaged, processed, and consumed. Possible contaminants include radio nuclides (e.g., cesium, strontium), heavy metals (e.g., arsenic, mercury, cadmium, copper), persistent organic pollutants, [e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), acrylamide, furan, perchlorate], as well as numerous substances attributed to packaging materials [e.g., antimony, tin, lead, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), semicarbazide, benzophenone, isopropylthioxanthone (ITX), bisphenol-A]. At present, melamine represents one of the largest deliberate food contaminant. Increasing incidences of cancer, chronic kidney diseases, suppression of the immune system, sterility among males and females, endocrine disorders, neurological and behavioral disorders, especially among children, have been attributed to chronic exposure to toxic chemicals and/or long-term consumption of food contaminated with such chemicals. Chronic exposure to food chemical contaminants may adversely affect human health even at contamination levels below MRLs (maximum residue limits) of each chemical. Furthermore, exposure through food to different contaminants may lead to additive or synergistic effects, a matter which poses an urgent need to improve our knowledge on such possible interactions at the intestinal level. Sophisticated analytical tools needed for detection of some chemical compounds, such as dioxins and nanoparticle materials, are not available in many countries, a matter which requires assisting these countries to raise their capacity building in this concern. On the other side, there is an urgent need for establishing a Security Plan Development (SPD) which can be realized easily and efficiently by implementing the principles of hazard analyses and critical control points (HACCP). In conclusion, although unintentional contamination of food could be controlled by local regulations, intentional contamination for the purpose of “terrorism” should be faced internationally and early as soon as multinational consequences are expected. Coordination between food-safety authorities worldwide is needed to efficiently exchange information and to enable tracking and recalling of affected products to ensure food safety and to protect public health. Cooperation between countries has to be activated and exchanging information is something very important to minimize threat and contamination on national, regional and international levels. Prevention and response are the two major strategies for countering the threat of food terrorist, and they are everyone’s responsibility all over the world in such manner.

Full Text
Published version (Free)

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call