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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

October 21, 2014 Perils of drinking sugary soda: weight gain, cavities, shortened lifespan and

Source: Dallas Morning News

This report comes via the Washington Post, which in turn saw it in the American Journal of Public Health. But enough giving credit where it’s due. The important news is this: More soda = shorter telomeres = shortened life span.

October 21, 2014 WTO Finds U.S. Meat Labeling Violates Rules

news.morningstar.com - OTTAWA--The îWorld Trade Organizationî found against the U.S. Monday in an ongoing dispute over meat-labeling rules that Canada and Mexico say discriminates against livestock exports from their...

October 20, 2014 FDA seeks to mesh public and private food safety accountability

Source: The Packer

ANAHEIM, Calif.- The last word on food safety regulations for the produce industry won’t be written next year, even though the Food and Drug and Administration has committed to publish final versions of the produce safety and...

October 20, 2014 Why Canada may be heading into a food security crisis

The Star - And itâs a problem when its production and transportation result in huge carbon emissions. Journalist and author îMichael Pollanî (The Omnivoreâs Dilemma) claims it takes 26 ounces of oil to...

October 16, 2014 North Carolina Firm Recalls Nearly 150 Food Products for Potential Listeria Contamination

Source: Food Safeth News

SunBurst Foods of Goldsboro, NC, is recalling numerous food products sold under several brands because of the potential of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The recall includes the food services firm’s SunBurst, Fresh...

October 6, 2014 San Francisco and Berkeley consider a 'sin tax' on sugary drinks

The Christian Science Monitor - Because no city or state has been able to get and keep a soft-drink tax, no one knows for certain whether it would actually lead to a drop in obesity or conditions such as diabetes, said initiative...

October 6, 2014 Soda makers pledge to reduce calorie consumption

Lincoln Journal Star - That came after the threat of legal action by the îCenter for Science in the Public Interestî, said Jeff Cronin, a spokesman for the nutrition advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. Michael...

October 2, 2014 Soda makers pledge to cut consumption of calories

Longview News-Journal - The announcement was made at the îClinton Global Initiativeî in New York City and comes as the countryâs three biggest soda makers face pressure over the role of sugary drinks in fueling...

October 2, 2014 Outbreaks of Antibiotic-Resistant Salmonella Require Urgent USDA Action, Says CSPI

Center for Science in The Public Interest - The Center for Science in the Public Interest is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare four antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella as adulterants under federal law....

October 1, 2014 This Trade Association is One Step Ahead of the Government in Food Transparency

In The Capital - But this week the îGrocery Manufacturers Associationî, one of the largest food industry trade groups, announced that it would be launching a database of food additives, since most chemicals added to...

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