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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
November 6, 2013 Fear the Turtle: FDA's One Sided Food Safety RegulationsSource: Huff Post
The FDA is accepting public comments through November 15th on a draft set of regulations based on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Shining a spotlight on food safety is a great idea and something that consumer advocates...
November 5, 2013 San Francisco joins sugary drinks fray with tax proposal
Reuters - No other U.S. city has enacted such a tax, though a similar proposal is in the works in the southwestern Colorado town of Telluride, according to the îRudd Center for Food Policy and Obesityî. Two other...
November 1, 2013 Consumer Groups Urge Defense of Country of Origin Labeling
foodpoisoningbulletin.com - The îConsumer Federation of Americaî is urging Farm Bill conferees to defend the 2008 Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law for beef, poultry, pork, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables,...
November 1, 2013 FDA takes steps to strengthen spice safety
United Press International - WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- In response to recent outbreaks from Salmonella-contaminated spices, U.S. health officials completed a draft risk profile on pathogens and filth in spices. "The study's...
October 30, 2013 It’s Not All About the ScienceSource: Food Safety News
GMO health risks,” “The sweet lowdown: Exposing the unhealthy truth about sugar,” “Is high-fructose corn syrup bad for you?” and “Chemical cuisine. Learn about food additives” — these are the catchy titles of just...
October 28, 2013 Nationwide Food Recall Expands Over Possible Listeria ContaminationSource: NBC - LA
A food manufacturing company is voluntarily expanding a nationwide food recall of refrigerated ready-to-eat foods including potato salad, coleslaw and salsa for possible Listeria contamination. Reser’s Fine Foods of Beaverton,...
October 26, 2013 Arsenic in Rice Poses No Immediate Health Risk, FDA Says
Bloomberg - âThese are the next steps,â Suzanne C. Fitzpatrick, the senior adviser for toxicology at the FDAâs îCenter for Food Safety and Applied Nutritionî, said in a statement. âTo look at...
October 25, 2013 China Killed Your Dog. Are You Next?Source: Bloomberg
Has your dog exhibited unpleasant health effects -- such as, oh, death -- after eating jerky treats imported from China? If so, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration would really “like to hear from you or your veterinarian.”
October 24, 2013 Company Recalls 10 Tons Of Potentially Tainted Producdts
KWTX - WASHINGTON (October 23, 2013) WASHINGTON (October 23, 2013)--Oregon-based Reser's Fine Foods is recalling more than 10 tons of pre-packaged products that may be contaminated with Listeria. The items produced at a plant in...
October 24, 2013 Scientists’ Ties to Food Industry Raise Questions in EuropeSource: NY Times
LONDON — One scientist who advised Europe’s food safety regulators about animal feed additives sits on the board of a foundation backed by the dairy industry. Another who gave advice on food contaminants received research support...
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