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Ratings are provided by a simple four-level graphic. (Photo Credit: Food Sentry)

Food Sentry Introduces the Food Risk Rating System

  (UNITED STATES, 8/9/2013)

Food Sentry has deployed its Food Risk Rating System on its site at www.foodsentry.org. The Food Risk Rating System— designed to help consumers make informed choices about the foods they buy—features an algorithm that calculates the relative risk of a food product by examining more than a dozen individual characteristics directly affecting the safety of the product.

This is an important and timely consumer resource considering recent global food safety issues.

Typically, the only information available about foreign foods is the country of origin.

Further, in addition to the enormous amount of food produced in the United States, a rapidly increasing amount of the food on american tables comes from foreign producers. In 2012, the U.S. imported more than 68 million tons of food worth more than $1.2 trillion.

Some of America’s most popular foods are also increasingly foreign-sourced, with seafood and shellfish, fruits and vegetables topping the list. About 90 percent of seafood and two-thirds of our fruits and vegetables come from outside the United States.

This is cause for great concern especially because some of U.S. primary foreign sources for food – China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico – have ineffective and/or poorly enforced food safety regimes in place.

The path of any individual food may originate in any of more than 150 countries that supply food to the U.S., pass through any of 300,000 foreign food processing and preparation facilities, and enter the U.S. through any of 350 ports-of-entry. This year alone, more than 24 million shipments of food will enter the United States. That number increases by about 10 percent per year.

According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 91 percent of the seafood that Americans consume is imported and a lot of that is shellfish (Photo Credit: Walmart)

Add to this the fact that the FDA inspects less than only 2 percent of all of that food before allowing entry.

For a worried consumer there are few places to turn to find out about foreign-sources food products. Food Sentry’s has addressed this threat with the Food Risk Rating System.

A rapidly increasing amount of the food on american tables comes from overseas. (Photo: Daniel Case CC BY-SA 3.0)

There are tens of thousands of food products available in a typical grocery store.

The Food Risk Rating System concentrates on eight categories of foods: Meat, Seafood, Fruit, Vegetables, Herbs/Spices, Dairy, Nuts/Seeds and Grains.

Typically, the only information routinely available to a consumer about foreign foods is the country of origin.

Food Sentry therefore designed their rating system so that if the consumer knows the name of the product and the country of origin they can view a relative ranking of all countries providing that food to U.S. consumers (rankings are not based solely on country of origin, it is simply a common element that every consumer can easily link to a product).

Ratings are provided by a simple four-level graphic, with four shields indicating a preferred product and three or less Food Sentry shields indicating a product for which there may be better choices.

The United States and Global Food Safety Violations (Graph: Food Sentry)

Many elements go into Food Sentry’s scoring algorithm. Analysts have exhaustively researched information on the frequency of problems with a given food from various countries, evaluated the kinds of problems they see with the foods (microbiological, pesticides, contaminants, etc.), studied the regulatory infrastructure, performance standards and enforcement efficacy of various countries, and much more.

Ratings are updated as often as new information becomes available and are therefore dynamic, so they may change frequently.

There are tens of thousands of food products available in a typical grocery store.(Photo Credit: lyzadanger CC BY-SA 2.0)

About Food Sentry

Food Sentry was created by an elite team of food analysts who have served on the front lines of protecting the US consumers from pathogen-compromised food sources.

After four years of attempting to train the FDA on how to improve in the execution of their food safety responsibilities, they decided to go straight to the consumer instead.
Food Sentry analysts scan the globe seeking out problem food that arrives to the U.S.

Source: Food Sentry, LLC.

Margaret E.L. Stacey
Editor Companies and Products

[email protected]
www.fis.com


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