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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

November 25, 2015 General Mills sets goal to buy only cage-free eggs by 2025

Source: Chicago Sun Times

General Mills has set a deadline for its conversion to all cage-free eggs by 2025. The Minnesota-based company, whose brands include Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Progresso soups and Yoplait yogurt, initially announced its plans to...

November 25, 2015 CDC says at least 19 E. coli infections linked to Costco chicken salad

Source: Reuters

At least 19 people in seven states may have been infected by E. coli after eating rotisserie chicken salad sold at Costco Wholesale Corp's (COST.O) stores, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

November 24, 2015 Food Wastage Means Water Wastage at the Same Time

Food World News - Ruth Mathews, executive director of the Water Footprint Network, an organization founded in 2008 to advance sustainable water use, said that it is important to be aware how things are and where these things are...

November 23, 2015 How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world

Source: South China Morning Post

Food and water – we cannot do without them, but too often these resources are squandered and lost. The global population currently stands at about 7.3 billion, which the UN predicts will grow to about 11.2 billion by 2100 and...

November 20, 2015 Why the FDA doesn't want you to say "GMO"

Source: LA Times

It's not that the agency wants people to pretend that the nation's food supply is unadulterated by modern science. It's that regulators want the public to understand exactly what it means to say that a product is "genetically...

November 20, 2015 Report Highlights Concerns on Antibiotic-Resistant 'Superbugs' in Farm Animals

ABC News - Animals raised with no antibiotics are less likely to contain drug-resistant "superbug" bacteria than those routinely ... deputy director of the CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, said...

November 19, 2015 Meat industry could take California to court over cancer warning labels

Hamilton Spectator - "It would be an uphill battle for the industry to contest this on the science," said Laura MacCleery, regulatory affairs attorney for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Meat producers might have...

November 19, 2015 McDonald's operator sued after diners exposed to hepatitis A

Source: Reuters

A customer sued the operator of a McDonald's restaurant in Waterloo, New York, on Wednesday after diners were exposed to food and drinks prepared by a worker with hepatitis A, the virus that causes contagious liver...

November 18, 2015 Issue of sustainability addressed in 24th Range Beef Cow Symposium at The Ranch Larimer County Fairground in Loveland, Colorado

Source: The Tribune

Hundreds of producers gathered Tuesday at the The Ranch Larimer County Fairground for the Range Beef Cow Symposium to learn about sustainability’s place in the beef industry.

November 18, 2015 Tyson Foods Recalls Cooked Chicken Wings for Possible Adulteration

Source: Food Safety News

Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, AR, is recalling approximately 52,486 pounds of chicken wing product that may be adulterated because of having an “off-odor” scent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection...

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