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Stricter Monitoring Of Certain Key Countries Could Help Lessen Food Poisoning Outbreaks

June 1, 2012: 12:00 AM EST
The increasing complexity of the global food traffic network makes it extremely difficult to determine the source of food poisoning outbreaks, a multinational study has found. The problem arises when foods contain ingredients from numerous sources. A recent study found, for example, that an ordinary “Chicken Kiev” dish served in a Dublin (Ireland) restaurant contained ingredients from 53 countries. Using information gleaned from agro-food import-export databases, the authors found that the food-transport network has highly vulnerable hotspots. A number of countries – especially those that take in many ingredients, process these into products, and act as distribution hubs – are critical. Stricter monitoring of these countries could benefit the network globally.
Mária Ercsey-Ravasz et al., "Complexity of the International Agro-Food Trade Network and Its Impact on Food Safety", PLoS ONE, June 01, 2012, © Ercsey-Ravasz et al.
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