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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
January 15, 2016 Chipotle will close Feb. 8 for company wide meeting on food safetySource: Oregon Live
Following successive food poisoning outbreaks last year, Chipotle is closing its stores for a few hours next month to talk about food safety.
January 15, 2016 Should big food follow Campbell Soup's GMO labeling lead'
Investment Underground - A December Mellman Group poll commissioned by Consumers Union and a coalition of consumer and environmental groups found that nine in 10 Americans support mandatory labeling of products with genetically...
January 15, 2016 The US just took a big step toward making your fish sustainable
techinsider.io - A World Resources Institute report predicted that aquaculture production will have to double globally by 2050 in order to feed the 9 billion people on the planet by then. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric...
January 14, 2016 USDA says pesticide levels in produce, other foods not a threatSource: Food Safety News
The report again confirms that pesticide residues are not a food safety concern for the United States. The PDP report on data from samples collected in 2014 found our food is safe, with pesticide residue levels low enough to...
January 13, 2016 EU food safety watchdog hits back at scientists in glyphosate spatSource: Reuters
The head of Europe's food safety watchdog has written to a group of nearly 100 senior scientists strongly rejecting their criticisms in an ongoing row about the safety of weed-killer ingredient glyphosate.
January 12, 2016 Chipotle sued for misleading investors over food safetySource: Reuters
Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG.N), under scrutiny for months over outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to its restaurants across several U.S. states, was sued on Friday for allegedly misleading investors about its food safety...
January 12, 2016 Can Chipotle Stop Its Food Safety Crisis from Boiling Over?Source: Knowledge @ Walton
Denver, Colorado-based Mexican fast-casual restaurant chain Chipotle has always set a food safety bar higher than industry standards. Its goal of serving food with fresh and raw ingredients that are locally sourced adds...
January 11, 2016 Teams to Take Bottled Water, Other Resources to Flint HomesSource: ABC News
? Share ? Tweet Email ? Email Michigan State Police and other state employees will go door-to-door in Flint handing out bottled water, water testing kits and other resources to families affected by the...
January 11, 2016 Lingering Food Safety Regulatory Issues For China In 2016Source: Forbes
As 2016 begins, and China continues implementing its revised Food Safety Law, two features of food safety regulation and their development are striking.
January 8, 2016 Campbell Soup says supports mandatory GMO labelingSource: Reuters
Campbell Soup Company said it supports the enactment of federal legislation for a single mandatory labeling standard for foods derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
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