Food safety

Hepatitis E (HEV) in pork

Adele’s thoughts

This issue is not new but the recent media attention has returned it to the spotlight, with supermarket X, later found to be Tesco splashed across the headlines. This issue shows how the release of research findings can be amplified and sometimes misinterpreted by the media. The Public Health England (PHE) study did not test meat from supermarkets and find traces of HEV. Instead, it studied the shopping habits of 60 people infected with HEV, and found that many had consumed pork products from Tesco.  A ‘statistical association’ was found rather than a direct causation.  Linked or not, this is reinforcing the need for thorough cooking of pork products – not the first time we’ve heard this! (Source)


Food fraud

Fipronil in eggs

Adele’s thoughts

This issue again clearly illustrates how one incident, in a widely used food from a common source, can have a massive impact. Initially not thought to affect the UK, yet after some UK cases were identified, the FSA’s initial report of 21,000 affected eggs was revised to 700,000 affected eggs which had gone into a wide range of processed products leading to several recalls. This represents only 0.007 per cent of the eggs we consume in the UK every year; however, shocking headlines can trigger reactions which may not be wholly based on risk.  The fipronil incident has any parallels with Sudan 1 back in 2005, both in the way the number of affected products grew and the perceived versus actual risk to health.  (Source)

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