Popular Ethnic Foods in the United States: A Historical and Safety Perspective
In recent years, a dramatic increase in the demand for ethnic foods in the United States has been observed. Interestingly, with their rise in popularity, more foodborne illness outbreaks associated with ethnic foods have also been reported. Despite a more than 200-y history of ethnic foods in the United States, there is a paucity of information about them. Furthermore, there is also a lack of research on food safety issues involving ethnic foods. Therefore, this paper provides a comprehensive overview of ethnic foods, including the history, types, popularity, characteristics, ingredients, and consumer attitudes toward them. Importantly, this review provides an analysis of the statistics of foodborne illness outbreaks associated with ethnic foods based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The breakdown of etiology of ethnic foods identified the number of total outbreaks, the causative microorganisms, the food vectors, and the locations where foodborne disease outbreaks have occurred. Also covered is a review of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system implementation, food safety training, and inspection score systems related to ethnic foods and how these can serve as effective tools for the prevention of foodborne illness outbreaks. This study contributes to the body of food safety literature by providing helpful information about ethnic foods in the United States.