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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

April 4, 2013 Kraft defends dyes in Mac & Cheese

Philadelphia Daily News - Citing concerns about links to hyperactivity in children, the îCenter for Science in the Public Interestî asked the FDA to ban these and seven others dyes in 2008. Kraft's case: Yellows 5 and...

April 3, 2013 Kraft meets with bloggers protesting chemical additives in mac'n'cheese


A petition containing 270,000 signatures has been delivered to the headquarters of food giant Kraft, demanding the firm remove two chemical food colourings from its mac'n'cheese product.

April 2, 2013 270,000 sign petition to ban dye from Kraft Mac & Cheese in US

Tribune Company - Thousands of American parents are demanding that Kraft Foods stop using controversial chemical dyes in their popular Mac & Cheese pasta. More than 270,000 people signed a petition on The dyes...

April 2, 2013 USA - 7 ton prime beef recall

Meat Trade News Daily - Buffalo Lake, Minn.-based Triple J Family Farms is recalling approximately 15,270 pounds of bone-in ribeye products because the vertebral column may not have been completely removed, USDAâs...

April 2, 2013 Most Kids' Meals at Restaurant Chains Are Unhealthy: What You Can Do

The Huffington Post - A new study out last week by the îCenter for Science in the Public Interestî (CSPI), an advocacy group in Washington, D.C., found that most meals from national chain restaurants marketed to...

April 2, 2013 Meat inspectors may be missing deadly contamination, audit warns

Kansas City Star - According to the audit, the USDAâs meat inspection division â the îFood Safety and Inspection Serviceî â responded to the findings by saying it had limited resources. It also...

April 1, 2013 8 Sugary Drink Myths, Busted - "I've done a lot to demonize it," îMichael Pollanî famously told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "And people took away the message that there was something intrinsically wrong with it. A lot of research says...

April 1, 2013 New York Firm Recalls Frozen Mini Quesadilla, Pizza, Cheese Steak and Other Snack Products Due To Possible E. Coli O121 Contamination

Source: USDA.Gov

WASHINGTON – Rich Products Corporation, a Buffalo, NY firm, is recalling approximately 196,222 pounds of frozen chicken quesadilla and various other heat treated, not fully cooked frozen mini meals and snack items because they...

March 27, 2013 China Finds Dead Ducks in Sichuan in Latest Environment Scare

Source: Bloomberg

More than 1,000 dead ducks were found in a river in the southern Chinese province of Sichuan, sparking an investigation into the nation’s latest environmental scare. The birds were fished from the Nanhe river in Pengshan county...

March 26, 2013 FOOD SAFETY SCAN: Changes to food safety rules, no meat-inspector furloughs, botulism antitoxin approved

Centre For Infectious Disease Research and Policy - to it's îFood Safety and Inspection Serviceî, according to a Mar 22 FSN story. This followed Senate passage of the resolution the day before by a vote of 73 to 26;...

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