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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

November 18, 2015 Tyson Foods Recalls Cooked Chicken Wings for Possible Adulteration

Source: Food Safety News

Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, AR, is recalling approximately 52,486 pounds of chicken wing product that may be adulterated because of having an “off-odor” scent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection...

November 18, 2015 US food regulator releases new guidelines for food processors to control allergens

Food Business Review - The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Serviceî?? (FSIS) has released new rules for food processors to control allergens. The new guidelines by FSIS aim to help poultry, meat...

November 17, 2015 US FDA Announces The Beginning of the Food Safety Modernization Act

Source: Pioneer News

“The FDA is working with partners across the government and industry to prevent foodborne outbreaks. The rules will help better protect consumers from foodborne illness and strengthen their confidence that modern preventive...

November 16, 2015 Global Sustainability Summit: Food & Sustainability

Source: TriplePundit

Earlier this year, I attended the Global Sustainability Summit in Denver, Colorado which focused on food waste and sustainability. These causes resonate closely with me both personally and professionally as COO of Lovin’...

November 16, 2015 Food Poisoning Cases Should Result in More Disclosure

Source: Food Safety News

When public health officials identify a supplier of food that is later found to have sickened 50 people, that supplier should be publicly identified. People in the community deserve to know who may have been responsible — not so...

November 13, 2015 Chipotle Hid A Fourth Outbreak from the Public


Chipotle has been having a rough go of it lately. The organic-grub slinging chain has seen an unfortunate number of salmonella and e. coli outbreaks in the last couple of months. And while until now the company has been openly...

November 12, 2015 What's 'Natural' Food? The Government Isn't Sure And Wants Your Input - Text/Audio

Source: NPR

The Food and Drug Administration is seeking your input to answer a question: How should the agency define "natural" on food labels?

November 12, 2015 General Mills Sued Over ‘Misleading’ Cheerios Protein Cereal

Source: Rapid News Network

A lawsuit in California claims General Mills, the makers of Cheerios Protein, is misleading the public by marketing the new product as a “high-protein alternative”. Power up, with new cheer yoeps protein.

November 12, 2015 Campbell Drops Soup Ingredients Perceived as Risky

News Wise - Leading food writers such as Michael Pollan have popularized the idea that less is more and the concept now appears to resonate with large segments of consumers. Also noteworthy is the type of ingredients cut by...

November 11, 2015 Food Safety Groups Oppose Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership

Source: Food Safety News

The full text of the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) was released last week, and after initial reviews of the proposed treaty, concerns raised by food safety advocates during the negotiations have not been mollified.

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