Each year millions of people suffer food poisoning. For many people it will result in illness and discomfort. For some, however, it will have lifelong consequences. Food poisoning can also result in death, particularly for the very young or elderly. The economic cost of food poisoning includes sick leave and medical expenses. Businesses have been closed down as a direct result of poor practices, or the resulting damage to their reputation.
In most cases, food poisoning could have been avoided. It often takes a number of events to occur for food poisoning to occur. For example, leaving meat at room temperature will increase the bacteria in it, but if it is thoroughly cooked the bacteria is reduced again. Leaving the meat out AND undercooking it will significantly increase the chance of food poisoning.
Ideally people will automatically do things that will ensure that food is safe to eat. Unfortunately there are a number of factors that mean this is not always the case. When the person preparing the food is not the person eating the food then they will not be impacted by their actions. There are also practices that you can do on a small scale but not when producing food in bulk.
Food safety is an attempt to ensure that there are procedures and rules in place to ensure food is safe to consume, and unsafe food is disposed of.