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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

December 5, 2014 Healthier nutrition in the United States can be achieved

unmultimedia.org - Improving the food habits of Americans can be done, according to the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services of the US Department of Agriculture. Kevin Concannon is in Rome, Italy this week,...

December 4, 2014 Most Would Accept Nanotechnology, Genetic Modification in Food for Nutrition, Safety

Source: Food Safety News

New research suggests that most consumers will accept nanotechnology or genetic modification technology in their food if it will enhance nutrition or improve safety.

December 4, 2014 Pope demands just distribution of world's bounty

WCBD News 2 - ROME (AP) - Pope Francis demanded a more just distribution of the world's bounty for the poor and hungry Thursday, telling a U.N. conference on nutrition that access to food is a basic human right that shouldn't be...

December 3, 2014 Washington Post Op-ed Missed a Few Key Points

Environmental Leader - But New York Times columnist Mark Bittman and îMichael Pollanî, a University of California journalism professor, missed an important point: We must bring a key stakeholder to the table â...

December 3, 2014 Hershey Explores Removing High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Source: Daily Finance

Will Papa, chief research and development officer at The Hershey Co. (HSH), told The Associated Press the company uses a mix of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup in its products but that it is "moving more toward sugar."

December 2, 2014 Do you eat for health or environmental sustainability? The Double Pyramid says you can do both.

Source: Treehugger

The “Double Food-Environmental Pyramid” was designed and launched by the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition in 2010. Researchers from Italy wanted to combine nutritional guidelines with environmental issues, such as greenhouse...

December 2, 2014 US Appeals WTO Panel Reports in US-COOL Disputes

thecattlesite.com - GLOBAL - The US is to appeal against the decision of the îWorld Trade Organizationî over the decision on country of origin labelling. The WTO ruled against the US in October backing Canada, Mexico...

November 29, 2014 It's the Lies About Beef that are the Slime

Expert Click - The founder of îSafe Tables Our Priorityî (STOP), Donley wrote in the March 17 edition of Food Safety News about her experience learning more about the modern American meat industry and her tour of a...

November 29, 2014 U.S. Appeals WTO Meat-Label Ruling

Wall Street Journal - The Obama administration Friday appealed a recent îWorld Trade Organizationî ruling that would have limited meat-origin labeling, angering Canadian officials who threatened retaliation for what...

November 28, 2014 The Food Industry's Least Appetizing Ads

The Atlantic - These are the people îMichael Pollanî warned you about, or at least their ancestors. Anyway, enjoy: You have to check out the ads to really see what I'm talking about. > 1862

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