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Focus on Food Safety
Updated January 2011 -
The year 2010 saw incidents of food-borne illness from common foods such as eggs, spinach, tomatoes, ground beef, peanut butter, candy, pet food, and cookie dough The nearly weekly investigations and recalls of various foods items from the USA and abroad created ever- mounting pressure on the US Congress to take action and revise the nation’s food safety laws.
In December 2010, the first major overhaul of the food-safety system since the1930s was adopted by the Congress and then signed into law by President Barack Obama in early January 2011. The law calls for increasing government inspections at food-processing facilities and, for the first time, gives the Food and Drug Administration the power to order the recall of unsafe foods.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that each year 1 out of 6 Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from food borne diseases. 12/2010
With increased regulation opposed by many family-owned and organic farmers, the legislation still needs to be funded and with the change in the control of the US House of Representatives funding might be a huge problem. The law does set standards and now shifts the focus to other countries that export food stuffs into the United States. A January poll of consumers in China indicated that more than 70% did not have confidence in the safety of their [nation’s] food supply. China is a large supplier of food to North America. It remains to be seen if food exporting countries will raise the bar on food safety in the future as a result of the US’s action.
Food Safety will continue to be a focus of interest of corporations, Congress and the public and AC subscribers will be able to read about it all here under the Hot Topic of Food Safety.
Food…trust – and provider accountability -- the three terms clearly go together. We consume food hundreds, even thousands of miles from its origination. Trust is everything! Anything we put in our bodies every day should be “trustworthy,” in terms of where it came from -- and everyone involved in the food supply chain should be accountable for their actions (or inaction in certain cases). From grower / farmer / planter / rancher to food processor to retailer or food service or restaurant…and then to each of us – there is a clear chain of accountability. Trust is the important foundation all along the human food chain – preserving trust should be an imperative for every player. And yet, accidents do happen. Each year in the United States tainted foods cause an estimated 75 million illnesses resulting in more than 300,000 hospitalizations and as many as 5,000 deaths or more. (World-wide food hazards kill more than 1.8 million people each year, mostly affecting children.)
The impact on the U.S. economy in medical costs alone top $6.5 billion with maybe two or three times that number in financial losses to business, industry and government. More and more of the food items that we in the U.S.A. consume come to our shores from foreign and third world production and processing sources, where there can be a lack of adequate sanitation or proper food handling procedures and oversight.
Even here in America, numerous food processing issues arise each year, typically involving incidents of food-borne illnesses originating from such biological hazards as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, and these and more continue to be significant public health threats. Those at greatest risk are children, senior citizens, pregnant women and their unborn children, and those with impacted immune systems.
There is heightened interest in food safety issues on the part of consumers and their advocates; government officials at the federal, state and local levels; the healthcare community; media; and food, retailing and restaurant industries. The nation has made great progress in identifying harmful food production technologies, ramping up safety procedures, and adopting rules and regulations and to promote safer methods of handling and preparing foods.
Food Safety is all about Accountability – and trust. The AC Hot Topic – Food Safety section is designed to present timely and useful news and information, a range of commentary, and reports on research on food safety topics. The objective: To improve and expand the public dialogue and contribute to the goal of safer food sources, processing and monitoring for all citizens. As always, we are interested in your comments on this important topic.
Latest on Focus on Food Safety
June 24, 2016 Senators Reach Deal On National GMO Labeling BillSource: NPR
Just a week before a Vermont law kicks in requiring labels on food containing genetically modified ingredients, U.S. Senate agriculture leaders announced a deal Thursday that takes the power out of states' hands — and sets a...
The Huffington Post - Ronnie Cummins, the outspoken founder of the Organic Consumers Association, believes the Monsanto Doctrine is an appropriate legal characterization of what he calls "genetically modified democracy." Cummins...
Source: NBC News
Americans now spend more money dining out than on groceries — and we generally like what we get for our money when we eat out, according to the new American Customer Satisfaction Index restaurant report released on Tuesday.
June 21, 2016 New crop varieties 'can't keep up with global warming'Source: BBC
Crops yields around the world could fall within a decade unless action is taken to speed up the introduction of new varieties.
Source: ABC Channel 12
The National Frozen Foods Corporation is voluntarily recalling a variety of popular frozen vegetables after fear of Listeria contamination arises
June 20, 2016 Gold'n Plump's parent suspects in-house tampering behind need to recall 27 tons of chickenSource: Star Tribune
In-house tampering is being blamed for GNP Co. of central Minnesota recalling more than 27 tons of chicken over the weekend after contaminants were detected in some of the product that was distributed primarily to food service...
Source: Fox News
LONDON – The World Health Organization's research arm has downgraded its classification of coffee as a possible carcinogen, declaring there isn't enough proof to show a link to cancer.
Source: USA Today
A Whole Foods kitchen that prepared food for 74 stores in the Northeast had water dripping from ceiling pipes on mushroom quesadillas, egg salad and couscous among other food safety violations, according to a harshly-worded...
Source: Boston Globe
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Whole Foods Markets to resolve serious violations at its food preparation facility in Everett where inspectors found condensation from ceiling pipes dripping on food as well as...
AllAfrica - FAO and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) are reaching out to agricultural professionals to raise awareness about the importance of child labour issues
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