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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 19, 2014 GAO: Federal Food-Safety Oversight Needs Better CoordinationSource: Food Safety News
The federal government could be doing more to achieve the goals of the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and other food-safety efforts, according to a 46-page report published Thursday by the U.S. Government...
December 19, 2014 Climate change could cut 18 percent of world food production by 2050Source: PBS
Farmers are already suffering from droughts worsened by global climate change. A study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that by 2050, global climate change could cut world food production by 18...
December 19, 2014 FDA Issues 2014 Assessment of BPA
Benzinga - FDA's îCenter for Food Safety and Applied Nutritionî (CFSAN) released its 2014 hazard assessment of BPA via the Agency's website following completion of a formal internal Agency review of the most current...
December 19, 2014 U.S. Urged to Heed Warnings of Retaliation if M-COOL is Not Changed
Farm Scape - In October the îWorld Trade Organizationî compliance panel determined changes to U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling in May 2013 failed to bring the law into compliance with U.S. international...
December 15, 2014 USDA announces new performance standards for Salmonella, Campylobacter
High Plains Journal - USDA's îFood Safety and Inspection Serviceî also released a compliance guide to help the poultry industry address Salmonella and Campylobacter and a compliance guide on known practices for...
December 14, 2014 General Mills Settles Lawsuit Over '100% Natural' Claim
NASDAQ - (RTTNews.com) - îCenter for Science in the Public Interestî or CSPI said that a settlement agreement prevents General Mills ( GIS) from claiming that its Nature Valley granola bars, crispy squares, and trail...
December 11, 2014 USDA Approves China To Process Chicken For U.S. Consumption, Food Safety Experts WorriedSource: Inquisitr
In the past, the People’s Republic of China has been in the news for certain business methods utilized mostly to cut corners on costs. With different rules and regulations (or lack of), certain things China sees as acceptable are...
December 10, 2014 Soda Cans Increase Risk of Heart Disease, Study ShowsSource: Wall Street OTC
A new study published in Hypertension journal from American Heart Association shows that canned food and drink might be linked to high blood pressure and even an increased risk of coronary disease. These risks are generated by...
December 9, 2014 US suspends some Canadian poultry imports due to bird fluSource: Reuters
The United States has suspended imports of live and raw poultry from the Canadian province of British Columbia due to an outbreak of bird flu virus, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief veterinary officer told Reuters on...
December 9, 2014 FDA Takes Steps to Strengthen Program to Assess the Safety of Chemicals in Foods, Other Products
Food Consumer - The review focused on the scientific capacity and management of the programâs multiple elements across the îCenter for Food Safety and Applied Nutritionî (CFSAN) and the Center for Veterinary...
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