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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
September 21, 2015 McDonald’s investor wants it to cut antibiotics in all meatsSource: Reuters
A McDonald’s Corp shareholder group is renewing its call for the fast-food chain to stop buying any meat from animals raised with antibiotics vital to fighting human infections.
September 18, 2015 France bolsters ban on genetically modified cropsSource: Reuters
France is to use a new European opt-out scheme to ensure a ban on the cultivation of genetically modified crops in the country remains in place, it said on Thursday.
September 16, 2015 U.S. fast-food meat still mostly raised on antibiotics: consumer groupsSource: Reuters
Most large U.S. fast-food chains still serve meat from farm animals that have been routinely fed antibiotics, consumer groups said in a new report, which concluded that many companies have not yet laid out plans to curb the...
September 16, 2015 Foreign ag subsidies impact U.S. farmers' bottom lines, wheat groups say
Farm Futures - Turkey and Brazil have increased subsidies for domestic wheat production to levels higher than their World Trade Organization agreements. Higher subsidies directly impact the price U.S. farmers receive for their...
September 15, 2015 FDA Moves On Food Safety A Mere Two Years Behind Schedule
MSN - The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents many of the companies most affected by the new rules, praised the FDA for the "deliberative and inclusive approach it took in developing these regulations." The fact...
September 14, 2015 The 5 Most Dangerous Foodborne PathogensSource: Food Safety News
It can be tricky business to say that one foodborne pathogen is more dangerous than another. Are the criteria the number of illnesses, number of deaths, or percentage of victims who die? Do the severity of an illness or chronic...
September 11, 2015 FDA sets new food safety rules in wake of deadly outbreaks like Blue Bell’sSource: Dallas News
WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday finalized long-awaited rules that will require U.S. food manufacturers to make detailed plans to identify and prevent contamination risks in their production facilities.
September 10, 2015 McDonald's promises cage-free eggs in 10 YearsSource: CNN
Another day, another change at McDonald's. The company announced it would switch to cage-free eggs within the next 10 years.
September 9, 2015 Virginia Tech researchers aid international effort to address gaps in food availability
Augusta Free Press - Crop calories will need to increase about 69 percent to reach levels needed by 2050, according to the î??World Resources Instituteî??. â??The grand challenges in 21st century nutrition...
The Asahi Shimbun - Japanâ??s dispute with South Korea over its import restrictions on Japanese seafood imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is now going to the î??World Trade Organizationî??....
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