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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

May 19, 2014 Kraft recalls cottage cheese citing illness risk

Source: CNN Money

Kraft is recalling 1.2 million cases of cottage cheese that could spoil prematurely and cause illness. The recall, announced Saturday, includes the Knudsen, Breakstone, Simply Kraft and Daily Chef brands

May 16, 2014 Gluten Intolerance May Be Completely Fake: Study

The Huffington Post - They're complemented by recent statements from food writer îMichael Pollanî, who told HuffPost Live this week that gluten-free diets are more of a fad than a necessary lifestyle change for people...

May 15, 2014 Why Climate Change May Affect the Foods We Eat

Triple Pundit - There are other reasons to be concerned about climate change The latest report by the U.N. îIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeî (IPCC) lists numerous reasons to be concerned about climate...

May 15, 2014 Packaging’s role in EU food safety worries revealed

Source: Food Quality

Spanish, Italian and Croatian consumers worry most about food safety, according to a survey from Friends of Glass

May 13, 2014 Why All of Us Should Be ‘Fed Up’

Source: Food Safety News

What does it mean when the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents the world’s packaged food and drink industry, puts out a defensive press release about a documentary before it is released? I’d say it means they are...

April 30, 2014 Obesity: Should Coca-Cola Play Role in Research'

Guardian LV - A report published by the Yale îRudd Center for Food Policy and Obesityî states that Americans are consuming an average of 22.2 teaspoons of sugar per day, which accounts for 355 calories. This is not...

April 30, 2014 Food poisoning fells more than 100 at Maryland food safety summit

Source: Yahoo

A U.S. food safety summit in Maryland earlier this month has become a cautionary tale after more than 100 attendees came down with suspected food poisoning. Most of those affected complained of diarrhea, the Maryland Department...

April 29, 2014 Meat Slaughter Industry Survey

National Hog Farmer - The United States Department of Agriculture îFood Safety and Inspection Serviceî (FSIS) is planning a new survey of the meat slaughter industry to collect information about food safety practices...

April 28, 2014 USDA Awards $24 Million in Food Safety Research Grants

Source: Food Safety News

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced it will award $24 million to research projects for improving food safety. The grants were awarded to 35 projects at 26...

April 28, 2014 Summit calls for safeguarding ocean health, food security

The Frontier Post - A joint initiative of the Government of the Netherlands, the îFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsî (FAO) and the World Bank, the Global Oceans Action Summit for Blue Growth and...

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