Several outbreaks of foodborne illness have occurred in recent years due to poor handling practices or contamination during production. If you know or witnessed someone who suffered from food poisoning, then you know why food safety is essential.
This leads us to the question, ‘why are food regulations important?’ Read on as we shall discuss it in this article.
What are Food Regulations?
Food regulations are laws or rules that govern the production, sale, and consumption of food. They also aim to prevent the spread of disease through contaminated foods.
These rules are enforced by various government agencies such as the FDA (US), FSSAI (India), and Health Canada.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was created in 1906 to ensure the safety of foods sold in the country. In 1938, Congress passed the Federal Food, Drugs, and Cosmetic Act, which established the agency and gave it authority over the manufacturing, processing, packaging, labeling, and distribution of food, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices.
Today, the FDA regulates the production of meat, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, seafood, processed fruits and vegetables, and other foods. It also oversees the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and cosmetics.
What is the Difference Between Food Safety Law and Food Regulation?
The food safety law is the legal framework governing the production, processing, distribution, storage, sale, and consumption of foods. Food regulation is the specific rules or regulations that govern the operation of a particular food industry sector.
For example, the food safety law regulates the production and sale of meat, while the food regulation regulates poultry sales.
Why Are Food Regulations Important?
Since food regulations are necessary to ensure safe food for the consumer, let’s take a look at the following importance:
Maintenance of Food Security
Food security is the condition in which people always have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain good health.
It is when all people have adequate food supplies to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for active and healthy lives.
According to the WFP, nearly 800 million people around the globe don’t have reliable access to adequate amounts of food. In addition, over 2 billion people suffer from malnutrition. This makes food insecurity a global issue.
To maintain food security, governments regulate the production and distribution of food. They also promote sustainable agriculture practices and invest in agricultural research.
Prevention of Disease and Death
For those who find themselves asking, ‘why are food regulations important?’ This is one obvious answer. The food industry has become very competitive over the years. This is why food companies spend millions of dollars annually to create new and innovative recipes.
However, these innovations often come with a price tag. Some of them contain ingredients that aren’t safe for consumption. In addition, they can also cause serious health problems.
Food regulation prevents these health problems from spreading diseases and deaths due to unsafe food and drug practices. In addition, they help consumers get the information they need to make informed decisions about their health.
Protection Against Deceptive Practices
Some companies deceive customers by declaring wrong information such as weight, ingredients, and nutritional value.
They add chemicals to foods without telling us; some even claim that their products are healthier than other brands. Consumers don’t always realize that these practices are illegal.
Food regulations ensure that foods meet specific standards. For example, they must contain no more than a particular amount of fat, salt, or sugar.
They also require that manufacturers disclose their ingredients clearly and prevent them from deceiving customers through false advertising or misleading labels.
Improve Consumer’s Well-being
How would you rate your health today? Would you say it’s good or bad? If you answered ‘good,’ then congratulations! Your well-being has improved.
What does food regulation have to do with this?, Food regulation protects consumers from harmful substances and unhealthy practices. They also aim to promote public health and safety. This is one of the reasons why food regulations are important.
Benefits to the Transportation Industry
The food safety system has evolved. In the early days, food gets transported from farm to table without concern for quality or safety. Nowadays, however, food safety regulations require strict standards for transporting food across state lines.
Food safety laws ensure that consumers receive safe foods. These rules are enforced through farm inspections, processing plants, and distribution centers.
Transportation companies benefit from these regulations because they provide a safer environment for their customers. This means less risk of contamination and fewer recalls.
Benefits to the Packaging Sector
Packaging companies have to come up with new ways to promote their products. One way to do this is through food regulations, and these rules ensure that consumers receive safe food products.
There are several ways in which food regulations can benefit the packaging industry. For instance, these regulations can help reduce food waste and increase consumer awareness through labeling. They can also help improve the quality of packaged foods.
Maintain Proper Food Storage
Why are food regulations important? Here is another perfect answer. What happens when you store food at room temperature? The answer is simple: bacteria multiply rapidly. This means that foods stored at room temperature are prone to spoilage.
Food safety regulations require that food be kept below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) to prevent bacterial growth. To preserve food longer, you should refrigerate or freeze it.
However, some foods are better suited to being stored at room temperature. For example, you can leave bread dough to rise at room temperature.
Benefits Industry Standards
With the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA has the authority to regulate the production, processing, packaging, labeling, transportation, storage, display, and distribution of foods.
This means that food manufacturers can no longer sell their products without meeting certain requirements. As a result of these changes, the food industry has had to adapt.
They must comply with strict rules and regulations to stay in business. These new laws have also created new business opportunities within the food industry.
Food Industry Terminologies
Adulteration is the use of inferior materials or incorrect amounts of ingredients to increase profits. Adulterated foods pose serious health risks to consumers. This is why food regulations are important.
Traceability is the ability to follow the history of a product from its origin to its destination. It helps to identify where a product came from, who produced it, and how they processed it. Traceability is especially useful for identifying potential contamination issues.
Recalls happen when a company finds something wrong with their products or a problem with the production line. Sometimes, recalls happening when a company learns someone ate a contaminated product.
Food fraud happens when people try to trick others into buying fake food. They might put chemicals in the food instead of real food. Or they might add extra sugar to make the food seem healthier.
Additives are substances added to food to improve its taste, appearance, or nutritional value. Additives are often used in processed foods. But, sometimes, additives can cause problems. For example, MSG causes headaches and high blood pressure.
Inspection is a way for the government to check if companies follow food safety laws. Companies may not want to follow these rules because it takes time and money. A company that does not follow food safety laws could face fines or even closure.
This refers to the characteristics of food that make it safe and nutritious. The FDA and USDA set quality standards to ensure that foods meet certain requirements.
These requirements vary depending on the type of food regulated. For example, the USDA inspects and certifies meat and poultry products, while state agencies inspect the produce.
Labeling refers to the way that food is described on the packaging. Labels provide information about the package, including nutritional facts, ingredients, and warnings. Regulations require labels to list the product’s name, country of origin, and special instructions.
Advertising is paid promotion intended to persuade people to buy particular brands or types of food. Advertising includes television, print, radio, billboards, and direct mailings. Companies spend billions of dollars each year on advertising.
Transportation refers to moving food from where it was grown or raised to where people will consume it. It can take place over long distances (e.g., shipping) or short distances (e.g., driving). Food goes across international borders, between states, or even within cities.
Storage refers to keeping food at a specific temperature and humidity level until it is ready to eat. Storage conditions depend on the type of food. For example, refrigerated foods should remain cold; frozen foods should remain frozen.
Distribution refers to getting food from where it is produced to where people are. Distribution can occur at local, regional, national, or global levels.
Next, someone near you asks, ‘why are food regulations important?’ I hope you can now give them more than enough answers. Food regulations are essential to our general well-being, so be aware of your rights and demand better food safety standards. Thanks for reading!