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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 3, 2013 Produce Traceability and Trace-back: From Seed to Shelf and BeyondSource: Food Safety Magazine
Although I was very young at the time, I can still vaguely recall occasional pre-dawn trips to the San Francisco Produce Terminal Market with my grandfather and father to buy produce for their mom-and-pop grocery store and a few...
September 3, 2013 Climate change 'driving spread of crop pests'Source: BBC News
Climate change is helping pests and diseases that attack crops to spread around the world, a study suggests. Researchers from the universities of Exeter and Oxford have found crop pests are moving at an average of two miles (3km)...
September 2, 2013 US Farm Bill Soon to be Finalised
thepigsite.com - One of those looming challenges is an ongoing trade dispute with Brazil. He said: âBrazil won a case with the îWorld Trade Organizationî which means that they can retaliate, if they so desire,...
September 2, 2013 Violent behavior linked to nutritional deficiencies
Washington Times - WASHINGTON, September 1, 2013â Deficiencies of vitamins A, D, K, B1, B3, B6, B12 and folate, and of minerals iodine, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, chromium and manganese can all contribute to mental...
August 30, 2013 People just don't fear climate change - yet
Star-Press - With respect to the science of climate change, many experts regard the îIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeî as the worldâs authoritative institution. A draft summary of its forthcoming report...
August 30, 2013 Organic Foods: The Safety QuestionSource: American Thinker
Are organic food products safer than non-organic food products? Given the requirements set forth in the National Organic Program legislation, and based on what conventional wisdom says about pesticides and antibiotics, the...
August 29, 2013 Fast-Food Walkout: Does Worker Well-Being Affect Food Safety?Source: Food Safety News
Thousands of fast-food workers in dozens of U.S. cities are reportedly set to stage a one-day national strike on Thursday to protest the industry’s low wages and predominant lack of basic benefits. Organizations representing...
August 27, 2013 Scientists want stricter poultry control
China Daily - The findings once again support that live poultry markets need to be managed rigorously, if not closed down, said Shu Yuelong, coauthor of the paper and director of the Chinese National Influenza ... for Disease...
Source: Food Safety News
Bill Marler and I speak to senior executives of food manufacturing companies and restaurant operators many times each year. We are almost always surprised (yes, even we can be naive sometimes) by how little they know about the...
August 27, 2013 Audit: Some Meat Inspectors Work 75-80 Hours Per Week
Weekly Standard - If overworked employees are more likely to commit errors, then the consumers who ended up with the meat inspected by one particular Department of Agriculture (USDA) food safety inspector may have cause for...
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