Chemical contamination is one of the four primary categories of food safety hazards. Chemicals end up in food because a manufacturer added them intentionally for a technological purpose (e.g., food additives), or through environmental pollution. Chemicals in food are a worldwide health concern and a leading cause of trade obstacles.
Food and beverage products can contain mixtures of thousands of individual chemicals. Some chemical hazards include naturally occurring compounds, such as mycotoxins, intentionally added chemicals, including the preservative sodium nitrate, and unintentionally added chemicals, like pesticides.
Understanding the risks associated with the various chemical hazards can mitigate the risk of foodborne illness. Each has its unique traits but can be addressed with a secure food safety management system.
Similar to stopping biological hazards, proper cleaning procedures and sanitation requirements remain the best preventions. Training employees to follow strict guidelines is essential in preventing chemical hazards. Additionally, limiting the use of chemicals to those generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and ensuring chemicals are stored in designated areas away from food products.
Watch this recorded webinar featuring regulatory expert Martin Slayne to learn about issues with these chemicals and how to assess, manage, and communicate the associated risks effectively. Slayne has broad experience working across sectors and geographies, leading in scientific, regulatory, and food safety roles. Martin joined The Hershey Co. in 2014 to head up the company’s Global Scientific & Regulatory Affairs group.