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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

July 20, 2018 107 countries received frozen vegetables recalled for Listeria

Source: Food Safety News

The U.S. and Canada are among more than 100 countries potentially affected by a recall of frozen vegetables due to Listeria monocytogenes. An outbreak traced to the vegetables from Greenyard Frozen has sickened 47 people in five...

July 19, 2018 Deaths from liver disease are surging, and drinking is to blame

Source: NBC News

A study published Wednesday found a 65 percent increase in deaths from cirrhosis of the liver since 1999. The biggest increase is among millennials: the team found that deaths from cirrhosis are rising 10 percent a year among...

July 9, 2018 Chocolate is a luxury. The people who produce it live in extreme poverty.

Source: Washington Post

Today, World Chocolate Day, we celebrate this beloved treat that emerged from the jungles of Central America to dominate the confectionery world. For most people, chocolate is synonymous with indulgence, a rich treat to be...

July 9, 2018 More Than 200 People Infected by Parasite Linked to Del Monte Vegetables

Source: Fortune

Two hundred twelve people have been infected with an intestinal parasite in four upper Midwest states after reportedly eating pre-packed vegetable trays under the Del Monte Fresh Produce brand, according to the Centers for...

July 5, 2018 Study Provides Further Evidence that Coffee Can Be Part of Healthy Diet

Source: Sci-News

A large prospective cohort study of a half million people in the United Kingdom has found inverse associations for coffee drinking with mortality, including among participants drinking 1 up to 8 or more cups per day, in both slow...

July 2, 2018 ROMAINE LETTUCE IS SAFE TO EAT AGAIN: E. COLI OUTBREAK SOURCE DISCOVERED

Source: NewsWeek

The deadly E. coli outbreak that resulted in the deaths of five people and sent hundreds to the hospital is officially over, and now investigators think they might know what caused it.

June 29, 2018 Here's the real reason so many Americans get food poisoning

Source: NBC

Nearly everyone in one USDA test failed to wash their hands properly, or even at all

June 26, 2018 Digital records bring greater food safety, management benefits

Source: Food Safety News

The food industry’s tendency to operate in silos instead of a “single end-to-end view of the food delivery prevail” has created costly delays in handling food safety issues,

June 19, 2018 High risk of food shortages without pesticides, says chemical giant

Source: The Guardian

Head of Syngenta, world’s biggest pesticide maker, says rejecting farming tech could have serious consequences within 20 years

June 18, 2018 Del Monte Issues Recall of Veggie Trays Over Cyclosporiasis Concerns

Source: NBC Chicago

The FDA and the Illinois Department of Public Health have issued a public notice after Del Monte recalled veggie trays that were sold in Illinois and Indiana stores.

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