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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

May 16, 2018 WHO calls for elimination of trans fat in foods by 2023

Source: CNN

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a Washington-based trade association representing more than 250 food, beverage and consumer product companies, issued a statement Friday in response to the WHO's efforts. "Food and beverage...

May 14, 2018 Economics of Food Safety

Source: Convenience Store Decision

America’s food industry has a $55.5 billion safety problem annually, as recently reported by Fortune Magazine. This includes foodborne illnesses at convenience stores and restaurants, food recalls and other food safety issues.

May 11, 2018 EU declines to renew glyphosate licence

Source: EUobserver

Ilsi is financed, among others, by Monsanto and other glyphosate producers, including industry group Croplife International. Another Ilsi member, Antonio Moretto, is the JMPR vice-chair. Boobis claimed his role at Ilsi is...

May 11, 2018 Scientists say new study shows pig health hurt by GMO feed

Source: Chicago Tribune

CropLife International, a global federation representing the plant science industry, said more than 150 scientific studies have been done on animals fed biotech crops and to date, there is no scientific evidence of any...

May 9, 2018 Romaine lettuce: why it's hard to keep it safe from E. coli and other bacteria

Source: USA Today

America tries to eat its vegetables, so the recent romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak has put everyone from Caesar salad fans to those who barely tolerate a splash of greens in a taco on high alert.

May 7, 2018 These 5 healthy habits could help you live a decade longer, study suggests

Source: WTKR TV

Want to prolong your life expectancy by more than a decade? A new study suggests that you can do just that by following these five healthy habits: never smoke, maintain a healthy body-mass index, keep up moderate to vigorous...

May 7, 2018 Mercury rising: Are the fish we eat toxic'

Source: Science Daily

By comparing this data, which was published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), postdoctoral fellow Raphaël Lavoie was able to estimate these populations' per capita intake of methylmercury...

May 4, 2018 Addressing consumer confusion about healthy eating could help better-for-you brands succeed

Source: Food

recently asked attendees and the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Science Forum in Washington, DC. “It is confusion,” she answered. “Consumers are very confused. In fact, when they were asked about how...

May 4, 2018 Over 35,000 pounds of ground beef shipped to Indiana, Virginia recalled

Source: WTHI-TV

About 35,464 pounds of raw ground beef products are being recalled because they may be contaminated with pieces of hard plastic, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)....

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