What is biological hazards in food?

Definition

Biological hazards in food occur when microorganisms, viruses, toxins, or other foreign agents are present in food in such quantities as to pose a risk of illness. Such pathogens can cause spoilage or food poisoning, or they can cause allergic reactions. Risk assessments are performed to determine whether preventive or mitigative measures are needed to manage the risks posed by the pathogens. Food regulatory authorities have different levels of oversight depending on the risk posed by the pathogens that may be present in a food product. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for regulating regulated substances such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides, so it has less oversight when it comes to microbial or chemical contaminants in foods.