A food safety hazard refers to any agent with the potential to cause adverse health consequences for consumers. Food safety hazards occur when food is exposed to hazardous agents which result in contamination of that food. Food hazards may be biological, chemical, physical, allergenic, nutritional and/or biotechnology-related.
Hazards may be introduced into the food supply any time during harvesting, formulation and processing, packaging and labelling, transportation, storage, preparation, and serving. 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).