Food safety

What is food safety 

Food safety is the extent to which those  requirements relating specifically to characteristics or properties that have the potential to be harmful to health or to cause illness or injury are met.

Some food quality characteristics (e.g., counts of total bacteria, coliform bacteria) can be used as indicators of food safety, although they are not considered specifically as food safety characteristics. A food that does not conform to the food safety requirements automatically does not conform to the food quality requirements. On the other hand, a food can conform to the food safety requirements, but not conform to the other quality requirements. 

Why food safety


Food safety is important for all! Click on the link below to find out why!

Find out why food safety is very important!

Who is responsible for safety?

Just like quality, safety is a responsibility of all people on the food chain, not just the manufacture.

Figure 2. Key determinants of food quality and safety
Learn more about their roles?

How can food become unsafe?

Food can become unsafe through many ways:

  • Contamination from the environment with environmental contaminants such as heavy metals
  • Cross contamination from contaminated foods or ingredients used
  • Poor cleaning and sanitation practices for equipment and food itself
  • Poor personal hygiene may cause contamination of food
  • Poor storage of raw materials as well as finished foods. E.g. Time and temperature abuse, toxic mold contamination due to high moisture storage for maize
  • Negligence in the use of additives e.g. not following stipulations in the use of nitrites
  • Adulteration of food with contaminants e.g. the use of antibiotics in preserving raw milk
  • Failure to adhere to stipulated guidelines in the use of agricultural chemicals – agricultural chemical residues
  • Processing toxic contaminants may be formed during processing such as nitrosamines, acrylamide
Dealing with unsafe food!

Enhancing food safety

Food safety can be enhanced through a number of ways:

  • Food processing and preservation – food is processed to not only make it more palatable, nutritious, increase its shelf life but also to make it safe for consumption.

  • Quality and safety management systems implementation – Today there are established safety management systems that can be implemented to enhance safety and assure the consumer of quality and safety. Such systems include the implementation of HACCP, ISO 22000 among other systems.
Learn more!