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1 December 2014

Food safety depends on quick reactions

Continuous controls and traceability in production chains allow quick, effective interventions. 

Food safety is a priority for Italian and European authorities responsible for controls. Our changing lifestyle, the quantity of imported and exported food products and the diversity of producers have led to the introduction of strict regulations to control, identify and eliminate unsafe foods, trace producers, identify the cause of problems, and remedy them.
The chain of rights and duties covers all stages of the process, from farming to transport, processing, packaging and storing. The process is subject to strict regulations, precise operating procedures and accurate monitoring systems to ensure that operations are carried out correctly. The consumer also plays a fundamental role, as ignorance or lack of attention can void even the surest procedures.
It is true that between farm and consumption there are many stages at which foods can potentially be contaminated with chemical substances such as pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, heavy metals or dioxins, or with microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses or parasites. Strict rules have therefore been established by both Italian and European authorities to regulate the processing of food, and systems of control and monitoring have been put in place to identify violations of the safety protocols and make it possible to intervene rapidly when necessary.
Individuals and bodies involved in the process are required to document and trace all activities in their production lines so that when errors occur, the stage at which they occurred can be identified and they can be rectified.
Of course, even the strictest legislation and most advanced systems of control can never guarantee zero risk, but it is nevertheless reassuring to know that the safety standards are very high – much higher than the threshold of danger to our health – and a centralised European alarm system is in place. These measures make it possible to limit risks and intervene as quickly as possible to withdraw unsafe products or block their distribution.

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