Food safety is a crucial issue that affects the health and well-being of millions of people around the world. Poor food safety can lead to serious illnesses and public outbreaks. A recent example of poor food safety is the recall of Kirkland Signature Master Carve Half Ham sold at Costco stores  in Northern California due to potential Listeria contamination. Listeria is a type of bacteria that can cause severe and sometimes life-threatening infections, especially for pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people with weakened immune systems .
So, what is the best way to prevent poor food safety?
There is no single answer to this question, as food safety involves many factors and stakeholders along the food supply chain, from farm to fork. However, some general principles and practices can help reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses and ensure the quality and safety of food products. Here are some of them:
1. Follow good agricultural practices (GAPs)
GAPs are guidelines that help farmers and producers grow, harvest, handle, and store food products in a safe and hygienic manner. GAPs cover aspects such as soil quality, water management, pest control, animal health, worker hygiene, and waste disposal. Check out the CanadaGAP® food safety manuals for fresh fruits and vegetables here .
2. Implement hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP)
HACCP is a systematic approach that identifies, evaluates, and controls the potential hazards  that can affect food safety at each stage of the food production process. HACCP involves establishing critical control points (CCPs) where preventive or corrective measures can be applied to prevent or eliminate hazards or reduce them to acceptable levels.
3. Adopt good manufacturing practices (GMPs)
GMPs are standards that ensure the consistency and quality of food products during processing, packaging, labeling, storage, and distribution. GMPs cover aspects such as equipment maintenance, sanitation, personnel training, record keeping, and traceability .
4. Comply with food safety regulations
The regulations are based on scientific evidence and risk assessment and are enforced by government agencies or third-party organizations. Food businesses should comply with the relevant regulations and standards for their products and markets.
5. Educate consumers and raise awareness
Consumers play an important role in food safety as they are the final users of food products. That means the consumers should be informed and educated about the proper handling, preparation, storage, and consumption of food products to be aware of potential risks and symptoms of foodborne illnesses and how to prevent them.
These are some of the best ways to prevent poor food safety. However, they are not exhaustive or foolproof. Food safety is a dynamic and complex issue that requires constant collaboration, innovation, and improvement from all stakeholders involved.
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 Listeria (Listeriosis) | Listeria | CDC. (n.d.). https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/index.html
 News Desk. (2023, October 5). Ham sold at Costco recalled over Listeria contamination | Food Safety News. Food Safety News. https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2023/10/ham-sold-at-costco-recalled-over-listeria-contamination/
 Apmsolutions. (n.d.). Downloads. CanadaGAP. https://www.canadagap.ca/manuals/downloads/
 Government of Canada, Canadian Grain Commission. (2022, October 4). Grain safety and identity preservation. https://grainscanada.gc.ca/en/industry/grain-safety/pdf/how-to-ccp-final-en.pdf
 Health Canada. (2022a, July 6). Good Manufacturing Practices Guidance Document. Canada.ca. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/natural-non-prescription/legislation-guidelines/guidance-documents/good-manufacturing-practices.html