Sample Health Care Research Paper on Food Safety and Poisoning in the UAE

Abstract

The paper seeks to scrutinize the issue of food safety and food poisoning and find out the approaches that can be employed to understand it appropriately. After a thorough explanation of the basic areas around food security, the paper delves into a study of other authors that have tackled the same issues from various angles. The purpose of this is to ensure that as many perspectives are employed to understand food safety best. From this research and scrutiny of the literature, it becomes evident that some actions and decisions need to be taken and more research should be performed. Suggestions are made as to the best approach to research that is necessary and the requirements to have an appropriate policy and participation of all the stakeholders in the industry. The main issue that comes up in the quest to have an appropriate food safety policy is the fact that in many cases, food can be poisoned at the source, which makes the impact very high in the community, because of reach, or because of reaching even the most successful members of the community (Jonathan, 2012 ). In the United Arab Emirates, food poisoning is as serious an issue as in any country or region. The authorities grapple with food security on daily basis and they end up at the same conclusion as many of the authorities in other regions.The research used Abu Dhabi University as a case study on the level of food poisonind in United Arab Emirates.  There was divided opinion on to the level that students were sastified about the safety of food in Abu Dhabi University.A big number agreed that the food was safe,although there were many who had no idea how safe it was.

Food Safety/ Poisoning in the UAE

Introduction

Food safety is a universal issue that applies to all regions, though in different measures and areas of operation. However,Ercsey-Ravasz, Toroczkai, Lakner & Baranyi , (2012) rightly observe that in some areas, it is more intense and fundamental to the survival and existence of the people in the community, while in other areas, it is more of an isolated event that should also not be ignored. This idea is shared by Long (2000). Food safety is also the major point or focus for many organizations and national bodies or institutions that are tasked with ensuring the safety of the public. The main issue that comes up in the quest to have an appropriate food safety policy is the fact that in many cases, food can be poisoned at the source, which makes the impact very high in the community, because of reach, or because of reaching even the most successful membersof the community (Jonathan, 2012). In some cases, food can be poisoned or contaminated from the origin of the food source, which refers to the farms that the ingredient for meals is grown before being taken for processing. In other cases, Gregory, Ingram, and Brklacich (2005) find that food can be contaminated in the processing plants and or transporting ways that have been employed. In these areas, if the food is expected to serve wide expanses of regions and people, it will become very hard to control and thus, it will have a huge impact in the region. This results in issues such as mass food poisoning as proposed and suggested by Baljic, et al. (2012). It is also of significance to mention that the poisoning of food does not only refer to the poisoning of food by substances that are lethal and labeled as “poisons,” but any substances that should not be on the food that will have an adverse effect on the health of the individual who consumes the food. Therefore, to understand the issue of food safety and food poisoning, the entire food processing journey has to be scrutinized from the growing of the food ingredients to the moment the final consumer consumes them. In line with this, the contaminants that contribute to food poisoning should also be understood for there to be sufficient mitigation approaches.

The understanding of the food poisoning issue and the corresponding food safety concern is also important in both its breadth and depth. This indicates that there should be an elaborate understanding of the causes of food poisoning so that they are managed early enough and if possible, prevented (Yosim, Bailey, & Fry, 2015). The levels of elements such as Arsenic in food and water, for instance, has been cited as one of the main contributors to the food poisoning in some areas as an intrinsic factor as vividly explained by Munera-picazo, Cano-lamadrid, Castaño, and Carbonell (2015). However, regardless of the fact that it is possible to know the possible or probable contaminants of food, Borchers, Teuber, Keen, and Gershwin (2010) argue that it is not possible to completely decontaminate food. The main point of focus should be to ensure that the instances of food management and safety that are readily available should cover all available areas and minimize the risk and possibility of food contamination. 

In the United Arab Emirates, food poisoning is as serious an issue as in any country or region. The authorities grapple with food security on daily basis and they end up at the same conclusion as many of the authorities in other regions. Regardless of this, there are other differences that are evident in the management of the food security and poisoning in the United Arab Emirates, and maybe more than other regions. This is because the United Arab Emirates have a high influx of hotels and resorts than many other regions. This means that there is a higher probability of instances of food poisoning then there are in other regions. This analysis will, therefore, focus on these areas and also hypothesize that there are mixed reactions and perspectives around food poisoning in this region brought about by the fact that there are more people in the United Arab Emirates from diverse backgrounds, and thus, a higher level of scrutiny in the practices around food security.

Research Questions

  1. What are the reasons of food poisoning?
  2. What are the consequences of food poisoning?
  3. How is food poisoning handlein United Arab Emirates?

Literature Review

Food safety is lauded as one of the essential aspects of any community as pointed out by Tajkarimi, Ibrahim, and Fraser (2013).  This approach has seen initiatives and projects launched to curb any aspects of food poisoning and food contamination that may creep up in any part of the food management chain. According to Omari and Frempong (2016) and from their experience in Ghana, food safety is the single most important aspect of the management of the public resources that can cripple the entire community. These sentiments are echoed by Grunert (2005) who further argues that the importance of food safety in any community has resulted in the development of perspectives, ideals, and beliefs that need to be linked between the consumers and the authorities in place. This discrepancy of ideas should indicate that what the consumers demand in food safety is not the same as what the model or structure that is in place advocates for. He finally also brings in the issue of economics, arguing that the application aspect of food safety is dependent on the financial abilities and constraints that are available (Grunert, 2005). Röhr, Lüddecke, Drusch, Müller, and Alvensleben (2005) in support of the importance of food safety to the public health officers and the community, conducted research that sought to understand how important communities perceived food safety to be. In his findings, it emerges that over the past decade, communities have increased their awareness and focus on the issues around food safety and they are even willing to pay for measures to be taken to enhance and assure their food safety.

With a focus on Saudi Arabia, Al-Mazrou (2004) suggests that the only course of action should be the analysis of the areas that hold sufficient potential for prevention of potential food poisoning aspects. The study of the most common food contaminants is also necessary to ensure that the reduction and prevention of food poisoning are successful. The analysis done by Sharpe and Livesey (2006) of areas and aspects of food poisoning leads to the scrutiny of elements and aspect within the food growing and processing industry that pose a danger to the food poisoning endeavor. The Victorian Department of Health (2013) and (Dugdale, 2012) identify storage as the main area that has an impact on the food safety since it holds power to change good, safe food to potential health hazards. In the scrutiny of the processes of food processing that pose a threat and contribute to food poisoning, Said, et al., (2012) argue that there are more aspects left unmonitored such as the role or impact of gender and the availability of the information and knowledge of how to manage and handle these problems (Baljić et al., 2012). Further, the origin of the food poisoning issues that are usually cause by bacteria and viruses should be understood to manage the spread and even starting of cases of food poisoning. The management and assessment of the safety of food are well described and brought out in the analysis of the actions that are usually taken in the community (Amon, et al., 2005). This analysis is well understood in the background of the aspects of food safety that are entrenched in the interactions and actions of the community. This is further elaborated, namely, in its culture (Griffith, Livesey, & Clayton, 2010). However, this is not a new approach, since there are other authors who have sought to understand the extent of the safety of food in the kitchen.These authors make thgeir analysis  under the assumption that all other aspects of safety have been observed from the farming, production, and transportation of the food (Byrd-Bredbenner et al., 2013). The food safety and food poisoning debate should be done to include all areas of food handling, which in turn will need a scrutiny of all the processes of the food handling and management, as reports from both Jevšnik, Hlebec, and Raspor (2008)and Monahan, (1984)purport.

 Globally consumers are highly concerned about the safety of the food they consumers .There is reaction in the chain of supply for the manufacturers to ensure tyhe safety of their products to the consumers(Livessey,Clayton,2010). The manufacturers also make sure that the consumer community get to understand their efforts.These efforts are either done at individual companys level or at complete supply chain network (Van Dorp, 2004; Beulens et al., 2005). This issue of food safety is calling for all stakeholders to come together to handle the problem collectively. The supply chain is a global chain which captures all countries in the world not just UAE. There are several tools introduced to ensure food safety against infectios hazards and contamination which causes diseases to human beings.One of these tools is Hazard Analysis and Critical Control points (HCCP) (Sperber (2005). Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points system was started as a voluntary system which was science based and ensures that there is proper handling of food during processing. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points technology is now widely accepted and has helped greatly especially in the fish industry. This technology is now applied globally in United States  and European Union,which are the leading exporters of food in the world. United states is still strungling to ensure safe food to the consumers due the enormous challenges arising from farming technologies,processing methods,packaging and supply process.

Careless handling of food has led to many illnesses to both huiman beings and animals.According to Kelly Johnston; National Food Processors Association (NFPA), the best way to fight foodborne diseases is by educating people. The community needs knowledge on the methods of handling food during farming,processing and packaging to prevent the challenge of food poisoning.United States Drung Administration program decided to designate the month of September for educating the population on food safety(Livessey,Clayton,2010). This gives the population knowledge on handling food to prevent the challenge of foodborne illnesses. Careless handling of food exposes it to the risk of  staphylococcal bactetrial infection. Staphylococcal food poisoning is frequently in foods that require a lot of handling during processing. Staphylococcal food poisoning is the main cause of foodborne illness in several parts of the word. In United States ,after the outbreak of food poisoning  studies have shown that staphylococcal poisoninfg is the leading in foodborne illnesses. In 2000,There was an outbreak of  staphylococcal poisoning in Kansai district which affected more than thirteen thousands,four hundred and twenty people. Tests were done on those infected and it established that the infection was from a dairy product. These products had experience a power shortage during the process of their manufacture which caused staphylococcal poisoning. Illiness from food poisoning is real challenge in the world. However, people are relactant to associate illnesses with food that we consume. Disease Controls centers in United states have associated foodborne pathogens with more than seventeen million illnesses in the country. Food poisoning is a real challenge in the world and is the high time for everybody to take responsibility. In the United Staes around three thousands are reported to die every year due to illnesses caused by food poisoning.

Methodology

The research was descriptive-exploratory, and was also cross-dimensional, such that it was cutting  across both qualitative and quantitative approaches to find out the main issues around food safety in the world and the UAE specifically. In the region, was be important to understand and bring out the experiences that the participants in the food industry have had on the matters to do with food safety and food poisoning. Further, it was also important to understand that previously done research and data was also used to paint a picture of what is already known about food safety and what is only assumed. Therefore, as advised by Yin (2009), there was sufficient use of both primary and secondary data that was  collected through administering interviews and questionnaires that are aimed at collecting data and information from various sectors of the food industry. Several tools were used in the reaserch for food poisoning in UAE. These method include questionarres and interviews on the peole in health and food production sectors,experimental design and participant selection.

Experimental Design

The people in the health sector sampled several patients in the wards for testing to establish the cause of their illnesses. The study showed that most of the patients in their wards were suffering from foodborne such as diarrhea. This tool involved the people in the hearth sector based on their experience analysing the patients in different hospitals to establish the extend of food poisoning in the country.The research was also done using questionnaires and interview in Abu Dhabi University on the students as a case study.

Selection of participant

The participant of the study were people in the health sector,stakeholders in agriculture, food production and health sector. The agriculture sector analysed their activities during growing of food crops, harvesting and storage. The factories were analyses activities involved during the production of food in their firms.

Questionnaires and interviews

In the study of food poisoning to establish the extend of the foodborne illnesses,the reaseach prepared questionnaires to interview all the stakeholders in the food industry(http://www.eatright.org/resources/homefoodsafety).The answers to the question would help to gaunge the extend of the foodborne illnesses. Abu Dhabi University was used as case study for the research which ivolved questinnares and interviews on students in the University

Questions asked

  1. What is food poisoning?
  2. What are the types of food poisoning?
  3. What is the relationship between temperature and food poisoning?
  4. What are the standards that UAE followed to reduce food poisoning and improve food safety?
  5. Do you think the current law and regulation are up to the standard or does it need any improvement?

Results

From the research, it is evident that there are many areas in the food industry that are not only obscured from the members of the public, but they are continuing to evolve every single day. This indicates that the issue of food security is not only far-reaching, but it is covered in many areas.These areas touch on food and its preparation before it reaches the consumption stage as pointed out by one of the stakeholders, food branding company, Jubilant FoodWorks (Bhushan, 2014). Therefore, to come up with the best and most appropriate food safety approach, which will not only serve all the members of the public, but  also cover all the process and potential risks that the members’ face, it is fundamental to include and bring in all the stakeholders (Idriss & El-Habbab, 2014). The stakeholders start from manufacturers of products used in farming, the farmers, the harvesters, transportation approaches, storage, food processors, retailers, cooks as expressed by (Crennan, 2001), and even the consumers. These stakeholders are essential to make sure that food is safe to Every member of the community. The contribution of all these stakeholders is fundamental.

Causes of food poisoning

During the research it was found out that there are at least four agents of food UnitedArab Emirates and the world in general. These include parasites, bacteria and fungi, allergens, and mold, toxins and contaminants. Parasites are small organism which live on tissues of another organism. They depend entirely on the host organism for their survival. In United Arab Emirates there are three parasites which are known to cause food poisoning. These are tapeworms,roundworms and protozoa. Bacteria  and viruses are the leading agents of food poisoning in the United Arab Emirates. Their effects in food poisoning is adverse depending on the type of bacteria or virus.Bacteria and virus cause serious diseases to human beings and animals after consuming food already poisoned. The best methods adopted to control food poisoning is that which will manager bacteria and virus contamination of food. Food allergeny is a condition of the body to react abnormally towards certain foods. Food allergy varies with individuals and the type of the food. Food allergy is regarded as a type of poisoning because of its adverse effects to the immune system of the individual affected. Food is mostly poisoned by bacteria and viruses although sometimes it can be associated with chemical or natural toxins.( http://www.eatright.org/resources/homefoodsafety)

Effects of food poisoning

The research has shown that most of the food poisoning has long term effects although there are some short term such as diarrhea. Some of the long term effects are kidney failure,chronic arthritis,brain and nerve damage and death. Kidney failure is caused by infection of the digestive system by the poisoned food. When the digestive system is inffected it produces toxic substances which damage red blood cells causing kidney failure. Chronic arthritis causes a lot of pain when urinating, irritation of eyes and pain in the joints.Food poisoning causes listeria infection. Listeria infection causes the membranes around the brain to inflame. If it infects an infant, it may lead to long term effects such as blindness, deafness and mental retardation.food poisoning has been reported to cause around three thousands deaths each year in United States.

The questionnares  and interviews contacted proved that temperature range has an effect in food poisoning. Microorganisms are known to perform within range of temperatures, thus during food processing temperature it is advised  to maintain temperature at unfavourable conditions.

Management of food poisoning by UAE United Artab Emirates should concentrate on educating the employees in all sector of food production.Starting from farms, harvesting ,transport, storage and production in factories.There are also section for educating consumers in supermarkets. United Arab Emirates has enacted laws to ensure food is safe for human consumption. There are also strategies to coordinate all sectors in food production  and law enforcement departments to ensure that these laws are enforced to curb this challenge.

The reaserch was based on questionares and interviews to get information on the extend of food poisoning and the adverse effects associated with it.Around fifty respondents were supplied in Abu Dhabi University for intervies.

Age

Table one

Answer choicesResponses
17-2596%
26-344%
35 and above0%
Total100%

Majority of those involved In the interviews and questionnaires were teenagers aged between seventeen and twenty five.This amounted to around ninty six percent of the respondents.At the age of twenty six to thirty four years,the responded were few just four percent.Over thirty four years old there was no respondent

Nationality

Answer choicesResponses
Arabs98.00%
Non-Arabs2.00%
total100%

Table two

During the research, most of the respondents were Arabs. Out of fifty people interviewed,forty nine were Arabs only one person was a non Arab.

Gender

Answer ChoicesResponses
Male13.73%
Female87.27
total100%

Table three

The research concentrated more on the female respondent compared to male.Out of the fifty one  people only seven were male with forty four being female.The questionnaires and interviews were done more on female student than male students in Abu Dhabi University.

The respondents during the research were interviwed to fill the questionnaires.There were several question that they were to fill in the questionnaires.These questions were:

1.          To what level you are satisfied about food safety in Abu Dhabi University?

Those interviewed gave their responses as filled in the table below.

Answer choicesresponses 
Strongly agree10%5
Agree34%17
Neutral34%17
Disagree14% 
Strongly disagree8%4
total 50

2.Good supervision on the restaurant workers will decrease food poisoning?

Answer choicesresponses 
Strongly agree40%20
Agree36%18
Neutral22%11
Disagree2%1
Strongly disagree0%0

3.The number of students who gets poisoning is in increase?

Answer choicesresponses 
Strongly agree6%3
Agree34%17
Neutral48%24
Disagree8%4
Strongly disagree4%2
total 50

4.      The number of students who gets poisoning is in decrease?

Answer choicesresponses 
Strongly agree63
Agree189
Neutral5628
Disagree168
Strongly disagree42
total 50

5.      To what level you think that food poisoning can be fatal?

Answer choicesresponses 
Strongly agree2814
Agree4824
Neutral189
Disagree21
Strongly disagree42
total 50

6. In your opinion, In what season food poisoning increase?

7. What is your suggestion to reduce food poisoning and improve food safety in the university?

The respondent gave their responses as discussed below.

Discussions

The first and most important aspects to take into consideration in the management of handling of food safety and food poisoning is the creation of the necessary awareness that will be needed to educate all the stakeholders of their contributions to the process (Watson & Meah, 2012). Further, all the institutions that are mandated to manage and ensure that the food safety is adhered to should be empowered to make decisions in all the areas, and not some of the areas, as the situation is currently (Jacksens et al., 2010). They should also be used and use aggressive competition to benchmark and monitor progress. Government bodies and agencies are only tasked with certain areas of operations such as food processing or hotels such as advised via US Fed News Service (2010).

      According to table one, the questionarre results in Abu Dhabi University,it shows that most of the respontents were teenegers between the age seventeen and twenty five years.This indicates that the interviews were done basically to students in the university.There was only afew workers interviewed,only four percent.There were fifty respondents in total,forty eitht of which were aged between seventeen and twenty five and only four aged between twenty five and thirty four,no respondent above thirty five.

 According to table two,most of those interviewed in Abu Dhabi University were Arabs,only afew were non Arabs.This is a clear indication that majority of the population in United Arab emirates are natives,only a few immigrants.In a sample of fifty people only two percent are non Arabs.

 According to table three ,most of the respondents on the research were female.There were only a few male students interviewed in Abu Dhabi University.The results of the table shows that In United Arab Emirates female deal more on kitchen matters compared to male.That is the reason the research concentrated more on interviewing female on food poisoning in Abu Dhabi University.The respondents answered the questions in the questionares as discussed below( http://www.eatright.org/resources/homefoodsafety)

There was divided opinion on to the level that students were sastified about the safety of food in Abu Dhabi University.A big number agreed that the food was safe,although there were many who had no idea how safe it was.To reduce food poisoning in Abu Dhabi University,the University should improve the sanitation in the kitchen and the food stores.There should also be health checks on all the works in the food prepation centres.The university must educate all stakeholders in food handling departments in the University.

Recommendations

  1. Laws curbing food poisoning should be enforced.
  2. Food production and handling factories should be inspected regulary to ensure condussive environment.
  3. Power supply  in dairy factories should always be maintained at optimum levels.
  4. Expectant mothers should check their diet to prevent infection to infants.
  5. All the institutions that are mandated to manage and ensure that the food safety is adhered to should be empowered to make decisions

 

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