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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
September 28, 2014 GMA, Chinese Food Industry Group to Partner on Food Safety
Food Safety Magazine - The îGrocery Manufacturers Associationî (GMA) and the Chinese National Food Industry Association (CNFIA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to intensify their joint food safety efforts in...
September 24, 2014 Peanut Corp. CEO's conviction a food safety 'game changer'Source: Fox News
Experts say the guilty verdict handed down against the former CEO of a peanut butter processing plant could make food safer across America, and it's a welcome result for one Minnesota man who has been waiting for justice.
September 23, 2014 FDA drafts new food safety rules revisions due to farmer concernsSource: Action 19 News
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued revised proposed food safety regulations for farmers and food businesses under the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). The FDA is inviting a new round of public...
September 19, 2014 16 U.S. food makers surpass calorie-counting pledgeSource: UPI
In an effort to help save Americans' expanding waistlines, 16 companies pledged to cut the number of calories in their food and drinks.
September 15, 2014 The 9 Unhealthiest Fast Food Meals in America
Franchise Herald - îCenter for Science in the Public Interestî (CSPI) published the results of their "Xtreme Eating Awards," a list of the unhealthiest meals found in fast food restaurants in America. According to...
September 12, 2014 Rotten Food ‘Wikipedia’ Fights China’s Fake MeatSource: Bloomberg
Outraged, Wu decided to take matters into his own hands. So, he put his master’s degree on hold to create what he describes as a “Wikipedia” that tracks food safety and questionable manufacturing in China.
September 11, 2014 FDA Backs Away from Statement Banning Use of Wood Boards for Cheese Making - Or, Does It'
CNS News - So, what happened' Last Friday, Monica Metz, the branch chief for the FDA's îCenter for Food Safety and Applied Nutritionî's Dairy and Egg Branch informed the New York Department of Agriculture &...
September 10, 2014 CDC Report Finds High Sodium Consumption Among U.S. KidsSource: Food Safety News
More than 90 percent of U.S. children aged 6-18 years eat more sodium than recommended, putting them at risk for developing high blood pressure and heart disease later in life, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report released...
September 10, 2014 Players in Peanut Butter Scandal Ineptly Pass the Buck
CBS News - Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's îCenter for Food Safety and Applied Nutritionî, seemed to be squirming during the Senate Ag Committee's hearing this morning. The subject, of course, was how...
A Taiwanese food-safety scare has spread to Hong Kong with the revelation that the city’s biggest bakery chain, as well as branches of 7-Eleven and Starbucks, may have been selling pastries made with so-called gutter oil.
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