VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/03/13 -- Despite increased government focus on food standardization (by Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency) and advancements in food pathogen detection technologies, the number of food recalls reported each week is on the rise. And while better detection can reduce the incidence of illness resulting from potentially hazardous pathogens, it is time to apply a solution to eliminate the problem altogether.
Current risk mitigation efforts by food producers, distributors and retailers are not curbing the frequency or severity of food borne illnesses. For example, on average, in the United States one out of every six Americans get sick (45 million cases), 128,000 persons are hospitalized and 3000 people die every year as a result of food borne illness. The picture in Canada is no better with an estimated 11 million cases of food borne illness resulting from consumption of Salmonella, Listeria, and E coli pathogen contaminated food. These tragic and unfortunate occurrences highlight the gap in the effectiveness of current detection methods. In addition, the management and financial underpinnings of the food chain become taxed and public trust in government regulators sours.
Although the frequency of reported outbreaks has increased, the recalls may have the reverse effect in terms of garnering public attention, creating consumer immunity to the problem. In the first few months of 2013, there have already been 82 food recalls in Canada, yet because of their increasing frequency, many have gone unnoticed by the general public.
Having the infrastructure in place to detect and inform the public of recalled food is essential, but preventing a recall should be a priority. Luckily, Canada is on the cusp of utilizing such a game changing technology.
Widely approved, adopted in 55 countries around the world, and endorsed by an impressive list of regulatory agencies such as the USFDA, US Department of Agriculture, Center of Disease control, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, food irradiation is now gaining traction as a way to diminish potentially hazardous and costly food recalls in Canada.
This Food irradiation technology is owned and operated by Vancouver-based Iotron Industries Canada Inc. Used primarily in Canada for medical device sterilization, electron beam processing effectively treats products using a high-energy electron beam accelerator. Using electricity as its sole power source, a beam of electrons is produced and then scanned on products, destroying microbial pathogens. This technology offers a viable, safe, cost effective and green solution to preventing countless infections as well as deaths.
According to Iotron President and CEO, Tino Pereira, "The number of food recalls across the country seems to be on the upswing. Now that we have the infrastructure in place for better detection, it is time we shift efforts towards the proactive prevention of food-borne illness. We see the process of irradiation as a complimentary step in risk mitigation in the overall food handling supply chain. This technology has been studied extensively, and is proven to be a safe, wholesome and an effective method of reducing pathogens, while complying with all nutritional, microbiological and toxicological standards."
Pereira adds, "We believe that when consumers are educated with factual information about food irradiation and are provided a choice to purchase irradiated food, a significant decrease in food borne illnesses will occur."
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