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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

March 16, 2018 Western Growers boosts produce safety research with $1M gift

Source: Food Safety News

Research for the sake of research is not why the Center for Produce Safety launched the Campaign for Produce Safety initiative and it’s not why the regional trade association Western Growers donated $1 million to it....

March 16, 2018 Does your bottled water contain plastic?

Source: CBS News

More than 90 percent of some of the most popular bottled water brands contain tiny particles of plastic. That's according to research conducted at the State University of New York by Orb Media, a nonprofit journalism group, which...


Source: NewsWeek

Thanks to diets heavy in processed foods, America is the most obese country in the world, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Roughly one-third of adults in the United States are...

March 7, 2018 Fresh beef is coming to a McDonald's near you

Source: CNBC

The burger giant said Tuesday that it has already brought fresh beef Quarter Pounder patties to about 3,500 domestic restaurants so far and it plans to reach some 14,000 U.S. locations by early May. Locations in Hawaii and Alaska...

March 7, 2018 Why Coca-Cola Is Finally Getting Into the Booze Business

Source: Fortune

The Coca-Cola Company sells a lot of different beverage types, from water and milk to iced tea and many, many permutations of flavored sugar-water. However, alcohol has never been on that list—until now.

March 5, 2018 California Court Blocks State Agriculture Department From Spraying Pesticides


The court order, which came late last week, was in response to a lawsuit brought by 11 environmental and public health groups — including the Environmental Working Group, Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network...

February 23, 2018 We’re entitled to eat safe meat. Why has that become such a lottery? (UK)

Source: The Guardian

As meat products are withdrawn from sale, and cash-strapped councils struggle to enforce standards, the regulatory system is breaking down.

February 22, 2018 Nestlé and Others Cashing in On U.S. Water Infrastructure Crisis

Source: Food and Water Watch

Washington, D.C. – After a decline during the Great Recession, bottled water sales are back and bigger than ever—even eclipsing soda sales for the first time in 2016. But people buying bottled water might not be aware that it’s...

February 21, 2018 Study: Drinking Alcohol More Important Than Exercise to Living Past 90

Source: US News

Analyzing more than 1,600 nonagenarians, the study results showed that people who drank two glasses of beer or wine a day improved their odds of living longer than those who abstained by about 18 percent.

February 16, 2018 McDonald's Move To Make Happy Meals Healthier Is The Right Thing To Do

Source: Forbes

An announcement by McDonald’s today that it is implementing new nutritional standards for its Happy Meals could not come at a better time, both for the chain and for Americans' health and wellness.

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