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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
December 8, 2017 Editorial: Water woes are a clear health crisisSource: Stuff
EDITORIAL: Clean drinking water is a basic expectation in a prosperous, first-world country like New Zealand. This makes it astonishing that as many as one in five of us could get sick from the simple act of drinking from the...
December 5, 2017 A Food Fight Has Broken Out Between The USDA And FDASource: Five Thirty Eight
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration are in a rare public dust-up concerning oversight of an obscure group that helps determine international food standards. T
November 30, 2017 'Scary' prediction for U.S. kids: 57% could be obese by age 35Source: USA Today
A whopping 57% of the nation’s children and teens will be obese by age 35 if current trends continue, according to a sobering new study out Wednesday.
November 28, 2017 Germany swings EU vote in favor of weed-killer glyphosateSource: Reuters
BRUSSELS - Germany defeated its key EU ally France in a very tight vote on Monday to clear the use of weed-killer glyphosate for the next five years after a heated debate over whether it causes cancer.
November 22, 2017 A vegan US: good for earth, problematic for peopleSource: The Business Times
[WASHINGTON] What would a vegan America look like? An herbivore population would enjoy a drop in greenhouse-gas emissions, but also face deficiencies in calcium, vitamins A and B12 and fatty acids.
Source: The Daily Beast
Glantz and Kearns have uncovered evidence over the past few years that shows the sugar industry was heavily involved in muffling research that indicated its product was dangerous to health.
November 20, 2017 Trader Joe's Recalls Packaged Salads Over Concern They May Contain Glass or Plastic FragmentsSource: People.com
On Saturday, Trader Joe’s recalled three of its packaged salads after a supplier reported the products may contain pieces of glass or hard plastic.
November 14, 2017 Food safety risks, costs, waste likely to increase in ‘clean’ eraSource: Food Safety News
Two veteran food science and human nutrition experts at Iowa State University are worried about food safety eroding and food waste piling up because of millennials’ demands “clean food.”
November 14, 2017 Chipotle Says There's No Link to ‘Supergirl’ Actor's IllnessSource: Bloomberg
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. said there’s no connection between the company and an illness suffered by “Supergirl” actor Jeremy Jordan, who blamed the burrito chain for making him severely sick.
Philadelphia has drawn national attention for its sweetened-drinks tax and how it is cutting into sales of the beverages. But a new study finds that all across the nation, people have been drinking less soda and sugary beverages...
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