Research – Parasites in food an Invisible Threat

FAO

Foodborne parasitic diseases are often neglected in various food safety control systems, even though they can create severe human health problems. Because the production and monetary losses associated with them are often not visible, and the infected animals often show no signs, they are very difficult to detect. Different types of parasitic diseases can be transmitted to humans from pork, fish, freshwater crustaceans, vegetables, eggs of tapeworms and protozoa. The risks associated with all of them can, however, be avoided through the application of good hygiene, farming and fishing practices, and with the promotion of the community awareness. For example, the promotion of a participatory approach and the development of training packages for food businesses operators would be beneficial in raising awareness within the community. Basic information regarding the how the parasites are transmitted and their effects, and any and all preventive measure that each person can take should be included in communication topics. Food safety authorities can play an important part by using the guidance provided by Codex Alimentarius regarding animal production, food processing, and meat inspection. Furthermore, the development of networks of authorities committed to addressing the problem, would help prevent and control the spread of parasitic diseases.

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