Re-examining long-held beliefs about food safety

January 16, 2007

Old habits die hard. In the case of food handling and food safety, this adage is true, as many long-held beliefs are no longer valid in the wake of new technologies and understanding of the microbiology of food safety, according to a new book from ASM Press.

Written by a microbiologist formerly with Canada's Health Protection Branch, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives offers an intriguing, anecdotal assessment of food- and waterborne illnesses "from farm to fork." Using real-world examples of foodborne outbreaks, the book examines how modern technology and traditional views about food safety and food handling can affect consumer safety and concludes that the responsibility for a safe food supply lies with a variety of people, including regulators, food producers, food handlers, and consumers.

"The need for a safe food supply is not debatable, but experts differ on the best ways to achieve and maintain that goal," says author Phyllis Entis.

Readers will become familiar with the history and causes behind many well-known outbreaks from cholera to E. coli O157:H7 to mad cow disease. Designed with the non-scientist in mind, this informative book is accessible and engaging, with minimal jargon, an extensive glossary and an appendix detailing the organisms responsible for most foodborne diseases.

Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives is one of a number of books on food microbiology published by ASM Press in a year punctuated by numerous high-profile foodborne disease outbreaks. January 2006 marked the launch of a new scientific book series Emerging Issues in Food Safety. The first title, Microbiology of Fresh Produce, presents the latest research and industry practices promoting microbiological safety of fruits and vegetables while the second title, Microbial Source Tracking, offers a state-of-the-art review of current technology and applications being utilized to identify sources of fecal contamination in waterways.
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In August 2006, ASM Press also published Food Allergy, a book that presents current knowledge and hypotheses about food allergy treatments, research directions, bioinformatic tools and industry and government regulation guidelines into one valuable reference source.

Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives has a list price of $49.95. Titles in the series Emerging Issues in Food Safety list for $99.95 and Food Allergy has a list price of $115.95. These publications can be purchased through ASM Press online at http://estore.asm.org or through other online retailers.

ASM Press is the book publishing arm of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the oldest and largest single life science membership organization in the world. The ASM's mission is to promote research in the microbiological sciences and to assist communication between scientists, policy makers, and the public to improve health and foster economic well-being.

American Society for Microbiology

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