The Food Defect Action Levels - Canon

The Food Defect Action Levels
Levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods
that present no health hazards for humans
according to the FDA
The Food Defect Handbook
 Handbook is created by the FDA for food processors.
 Handbook reflects maximum levels of natural or unavoidable
defects in foods for human use that present no health hazard
according to the FDA.
 The FDA set these action levels because it is economically
impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw products that are
totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring,
unavoidable defects.
Food Examples
 The following slides contain examples of how much of a
specific contaminant can be found in foods we purchase.
 For comparison purposes remember that a gram weighs
about as much as one small paperclip.
 One pound equals about 450 grams.
 Average mold count is 60% or more.
 So almost 2/3 of berries could contain mold spores.
However, they may not appear moldy.
 Average of 4 or more insect larvae per 500 grams.
 Average of 60 or more aphids or mites per quarter pound.
 Average is 60 or more insect fragments per quarter pound.
 Insect larvae (corn ear worms, corn borers) 2 or more 3mm
(1 mm is about 1/16 of an inch)or longer larvae, cast skins,
larval or cast skin fragments of corn ear worms or corn
 Cannot exceed total of 12 mm (not quite an inch) in 24
 Average of 225 insect fragments or more per 225 grams.
 Average of 4.5 rodent hairs per quarter pound of pasta.
 Average of 1.3 percent or more by count of olives with
whole pits and/or pit fragments 2 mm or longer measured in
the longest dimension
 Average of 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams.
 Average of 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams.
 5 insect fragments per tablespoon of peanut butter is
acceptable by the FDA.
 Average of 5% or more plums by count with rot spots larger
than the area of a circle 12 mm in diameter.
 Average of 6% or more pieces by weight contain rot.
 Average of 5% or more seeds by weight are insect-infested or
 Average of 5 mg or more of rodent excrements per pound.
 Average of 20 or more fly eggs per 100 grams.
Concluding Thoughts
 Can these contaminants be avoided?
 Are we being too squeamish about microscopic amounts of
rodent hair, feces or insects in our food?
 How much more would food cost if we tried to enforce
100% purity in our foods?
 Do we need to just face the fact that our food comes from
nature and nature is not perfect?

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