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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 23, 2017 U.S. bans fresh Brazil beef imports over safety concernsSource: Reuters
The United States halted imports of fresh Brazilian beef on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, after a high percentage of shipments failed to pass safety checks.
Source: Washington Times
At least 14 U.S. food companies this month have issued voluntary recalls for products vulnerable to listeria, a bacterial infection that poses dangers to pregnant women, infants, the elderly and anyone with a weakened immune...
Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. tumbled Tuesday to suffer the biggest one-day selloff so far this year, as a sales and margin warning prompted some Wall Street analysts to cut their price targets.
June 20, 2017 Coconut oil isn't healthy. It's never been healthy.Source: USA Today
"Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD [cardiovascular disease], and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil," the American Heart Association said in the Dietary...
June 20, 2017 Whole Foods CEO hints at another brand under AmazonSource: Business Insider
After Amazon.com Inc completes its takeover of high-end grocer Whole Foods Market Inc , it might launch another brand with different standards, the grocery chain's chief executive said in remarks reported in a securities filing...
The Environmental Defense Fund, in an analysis of 11 years of federal data, found detectable levels of lead in 20 percent of 2,164 baby food samples. The toxic metal was most commonly found in fruit juices such as grape and...
"Is climate change really affecting the wine in my glass?" That was the question that any consumer in the audience yesterday would have had answered, as a panel dedicated to climate change in the wine
June 16, 2017 Nestlé exploring sale of U.S. confectionery unitSource: MarketWatch
Nestlé SA put its U.S. confectionery business up for sale, looking to shed its Butterfinger and Crunch candy bars as it grapples with how to cater to U.S. consumers' increasing demand for healthy snacks.
His team discovered those who ate fried potatoes two to three times a week had twice the chance of an early death compared to those who did not eat fried potatoes, CNN reported.
June 12, 2017 2M pounds of Tyson chicken recalledSource: THV 11
he recall comes after the company received notification on June 6 from an ingredient supplier that the bread crumbs the company received and used in the recalled products potentially contained undeclared milk.
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