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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.

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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

September 22, 2017 Death Wish Coffee recalled over possible deadly toxin

Source: WTVR

Death Wish Coffee Co. marketed the beans as the world’s strongest coffee, but the company is now recalling all of its 11-ounce Nitro Cold Brew, saying the manufacturing process might have caused the production of botulin.

September 22, 2017 California hits Gatorade in court for "anti-water" videogame

Source: SF Gate

SACRAMENTO— Gatorade has agreed not to make disparaging comments about water as part of a $300,000 settlement reached Thursday with California over allegations it misleadingly portrayed water's benefits in a cellphone game where...

September 20, 2017 Appeals court blocks San Francisco’s ordinance for soda health warnings

Source: Reuters

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday sided with the beverage industry, granting a preliminary injunction to block a San Francisco ordinance mandating health warnings for soda.

September 18, 2017 EU rules Italian ban on GMO crop unlawful

Source: Reuters

Europe’s top court ruled on Wednesday that Italy had been wrong to ban cultivation of an EU-approved genetically modified (GMO) maize as it had failed to show there was a serious risk to public health or the environment.

September 18, 2017 EATING BADLY IS A LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH WORLDWIDE, NEW STUDY SHOWS

Source: NewsWeek

A long list of benefits is associated with maintaining a nutritious, well-balanced diet, including added energy, weight control and a lower risk of diabetes. While many of us are aware we should eat more greens and less processed...

September 15, 2017 Poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths, global disease study reveals

Millions of people are eating the wrong sorts of food for good health. Eating a diet that is low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds and fish oils and high in salt raises the risk of an early death, according to the huge and...

September 15, 2017 EU report on weedkiller safety copied text from Monsanto study

Source: The Guardian

U’s food safety watchdog recommended that glyphosate was safe but pages of report were identical to application from pesticide maker

September 7, 2017 ISIS tells its fanatics to poison food in Western supermarkets after testing the method on its prisoners in Iraq

Source: Daily Mail

Islamic State leaders are reportedly asking its followers to carry out terror attacks by poisoning food in Western supermarkets.

September 6, 2017 Plastic Fibers Are Found in 83% of the World's Tap Water, a New Study Reveals

Source: Time

Virtually all the world's tap water is contaminated by microscopic plastic fibers, a new study claims, raising fresh concerns about the implications of rampant plastic pollution on human and planetary health.

September 1, 2017 5 lessons learned from Amazon's first week with Whole Foods

Source: Chicago Tribune

On Monday, Amazon closed on its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market — much earlier than many expected — and immediately slashed prices on staple items in a savvy bit of marketing that had been announced a few days...

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