Essential food safety and food processing vocabulary 1

Every major food exporting country has experienced food safety problems at one time or another.

E Coli bacteriaIn 2008 China experienced the so-called "melamine scandal" in which milk and infant formula as well as other food products were found to be contaminated with the dangerous chemical Melamine.

Thailand has experienced food safety setbacks in the past in its food export sector ranging from avian flu (article #1 and #2) to contamination of fruit exports to Europe (article #1). 

Many food importers are rich countries like Japan with rigorous food safety regulations and enforcement. Japan has zero tolerance for potential health hazards in their food (Read article).

This means that problems with food for export are likely to be corrected more quickly than food sold domestically.

Not correcting problems quickly  would lead to a loss of lucrative export revenue. For example, CP Group was a major participant in a project to protect Thai poultry against Avian Flu and thus won back market share in chicken meat exports after the avian flu crisis (Read article).

Domestic markets are much slower to react to problems.  A recent study has shown that much of the food sold in domestic wet markets and food stalls (and even stores where one would expect higher standards) still contain chemical and bacterial contamination that could lead to food poisoning or longer term health problems like cancer (Read article).

Technology and well-developed international standards for food safety have helped Thailand to overcome food safety problems in the past.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags on food products such as packaged pork bought in supermarkets now allow each item sold to be traced back to its origins to determine where contamination occured in the food processing supply chain.

For over a decade, Thailand's food industry has gradually adopted state-of-the-art manufacturing practices, environmental controls, and the so-called Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) approach to food safety.

Photo on the right above is of the e-coli bacteria which is a common form of bacterial contamination in food.


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food safety - a scientific discipline that studies the handling, preparation, and storage of food to prevent food from carying illness (See Wikipedia) ความปลอดภัยในเรื่องการอาหารนับแต่กระบวนการการผลิต ขนส่ง การจัดเก็บและจัดจำหน่าย
at one time or another - sometimes
the melamine scandal - the 2008 Chinese milk scandal, a food safety incident in China involving milk and infant formula, and other food materials adulterated with the chemical melamine, with China's wide range of export food products, the scandal has affected countries on all continents, in November China reported an estimated 300,000 victims have been claimed; six infants have died from kidney stones and other kidney damage, 860 babies hospitalized. The chemical appeared to have been added to milk in order to cause it to appear to have a higher protein content. In a separate incident, watered-down milk resulted in 13 infant deaths from malnutrition in China in 2004 (See Wikipedia)
contamination (noun) - made dirty and dangerous to use or eat after exposure to dirt, germs, chermicals, or radiation การปนเปื้อนเชื้อแบคทีเรีย
contaminated (adjective)
setbacks - problems that prevent moving forwards to reach goals, problems that hinder progress
avian flu -  bird flu, a danger virus transmitted to humans by birds (See Wikipedia)  ไข้หวัดนก
consumer -
a person or family buying things to meet their needs ผู้บริโภค
rigorous - careful,, exact and thorough, strict อย่างเข้มงวด, อย่างเคร่งครัด,อย่างถูกต้อง
regulation - a government rule controling how an activity is done ข้อบังคับ
enforcement -
making sure a law is obeyed and punishing people if it is not obeyed  บังคับใช้กฎหมาย
zero tolerance - won't accept any defects, faults or problems, zero faults required 
hazard -
something that is dangerous, that could cause harm, damage or accidents สิ่งที่เป็นอันตรา
lucrative - profitable, can make a lot of money
revenue -
income, money made by and coming into a company, household or government
participant - someone who joins in an activity or project ผู้มีส่วนร่วม, ผู้เข้าร่วม
poultry - birds such as chickens that are raised for their meat and for their eggs
market share - the percentage of customers in a market for some product that is controlled by a company or whole country
win back market share - after losing customers for some reason, getting them back again
domestic - within a country
wet market - an open air food market as commonly found throughout Thailand and Asia (See Wikipedia)
food stalls - large tables or small shops with an open front from which goods are sold in a public place แผงขายของ
food poisoning - suddenly getting sick after eating food  (See Wikipedia)
overcome -  to succeed in solving a problem (or at least reducing the size of the problem)
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) -
a technology where tags are attached to an item being manufactured or processed and information about the item is added to the tag as it is processed, this allows you to go backwards and trace the sequence of steps that the item went through to find the cause of a problem identified later  (See Wikipedia)
trace -
to find out or discover where something started and how it grew and developed over time
traced back to its origins - to discover where something started
food processing - the methods and techniques used to make food products from raw food ingredients such as meat and vegetables (See Wikipedia)
supply chain - all the processes and companies involved in making and selling a final product, includes raw materials and intermediate parts, manufacturing, storing, transporting and selling the product to the customer
adopt - start using something
state-of-the-art
- equipment or methods that use the newest and most advanced ideas and features 
practice -
a common way of doing some often repeated task
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) - a system for food safety used by the US government:

"...a systematic preventive approach to food safety and pharmaceutical safety that addresses physical, chemical, and biological hazards as a means of prevention rather than finished product inspection. HACCP is used in the food industry to identify potential food safety hazards, so that key actions, known as Critical Control Points (CCP's) can be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk of the hazards being realized. The system is used at all stages of food production and preparation processes including packaging, distribution, etc. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) use mandatory juice, seafood, meat and poultry HACCP programs as an effective approach to food safety and protecting public health..." (See Wikipedia)

e-coli - a bacteria sometimes found in food that can cause serious food poisoning, often the reason behind food recalls (See Wikipedia)

About the author

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Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer