There are three major hazards that may be introduced into the food supply any time during harvesting, processing, transporting, preparing, storing and serving food. These hazards may be ‘biological’ (microbiological), ‘chemical’ or ‘physical’. A food safety hazard refers to any agent with the potential to cause adverse health consequences for consumers and this occurs when food is exposed to hazardous agents which result in contamination of that food.
The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) manages quarantine controls at the Fijian border whereby food items are inspected to ensure they meet import requirements and are free of food hazards.
Biological hazards include infestation of food by bacteria, fungi, viruses and other agents like prions. These can also be called parasites. When introduced into food, these pose food safety concern for consumers. Biological hazards can be introduced to food from the environment (e.g. soil bacteria, agricultural run-off) or from inadequate sanitation practices and cross contamination during transportation, handling, processing and storage (e.g., poor food hygiene practices). The type and magnitude of microbial growth is determined in part by the nature of the food, package conditions and food storage environment.