The safety and quality of food
This chapter provides an overview of factors that influence the safety and quality of food in industrialised countries and of the legal framework that is designed to try to ensure food safety and quality. The 1990 Food Safety act also empowers government ministers to issue, with parliamentary approval, specific regulations to ensure food safety setting maximum permitted levels of contaminants. The Codex Alimentarius Commission is an international body that was set up by the United Nations in 1962 to try to establish international food standards. The Food Standards Agency has developed a system for labelling foods that is intended to help consumers make healthier food choices based upon the red, amber and green colours of traffic lights. Food poisoning can be more serious especially in some vulnerable groups like the very young, very old and those people whose immune system is suppressed by drugs, disease or malnutrition.