New social, economic and political demands for conservation of energy, water and consumable products coupled with changes in lifestyle including more meals eaten away from home will require new approaches to food handling. These modifications may increase or uncover new hazards and potential opportunities for food borne illness. Microbial hazards will remain a major problem but will be only one of the many concerns of the consumer about food. Increases in awareness of newly identified pathogens, carcinogens, mutagens and the like will demand greater efforts but will also increase cost of foods. Acute sensitivity to escalating costs will in turn bring about more objective evaluations of benefit/risk ratios on all programs. Education of producers, handlers, processors and consumers will be required so that they may monitor and serve as protectors of the food system thus minimizing regulatory costs and placing responsibility at the point of action. This process will be successful only with appropriate educational and research support to evaluate and implement modified programs.

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Author notes

1Paper No. 10547, Scientific Journal Series, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, St. Paul, MN 55108