Stories Below come from our Media Partner 3BL Media - Click their logo or any of the stories for more information
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
August 19, 2010 Egg Recall Is Expanded After Salmonella OutbreakSource: NY Times
An Iowa company on Wednesday broadened a nationwide recall of its eggs to 380 million after some of its facilities were linked to an outbreak of salmonella that has sickened hundreds of people across the country
August 18, 2010 Two Takes on the Senate Food Safety BillSource: The Atlantic
Yesterday, I posted comments from the Consumers Federation of America about the latest version of S.510 (PDF). With luck, the Senate will vote to pass this bill in September and will reconcile its version with the House bill...
August 18, 2010 Over 200 Million Eggs Recalled, Shells Tainted With SalmonellaSource: Medical News Today
More than 200 million eggs are being recalled by Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa because their shells have a potential for Salmonella contamination. The eggs were distributed to wholesalers, distribution centers and other outlets...
August 18, 2010 Tracing Your Food From Farm to Fork, Part IISource: Food Safety News
For years, the term "food traceability" has permeated the media, and there has been a greater emphasis on consumers' right to know where their food comes from.
August 17, 2010 Tracing Your Food From Farm to Fork - Part ISource: Food Safety News
For years, the term "food traceability" has permeated the media, and there has been a greater emphasis on consumers' right to know where their food comes from. With the high profile of foodborne illness outbreaks that caused the...
August 16, 2010 Gulf seafood gets intense safety testingSource: AP
WASHINGTON — Seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is being put under the microscope like no other kind on the market, with fish, shrimp and other catches ground up to hunt for minute traces of oil — far more reassuring than that sniff...
August 16, 2010 'No evidence' China milk powder caused infant breastsSource: BBC
China's health ministry has said an inquiry has found no evidence milk powder produced by a Chinese company caused three infant girls to grow breasts, state media have reported.
August 13, 2010 Senate Strikes Bipartisan Agreement on Food SafetySource: Food Safety News
The pending Senate food safety bill inched forward yesterday as key lawmakers released a bipartisan, compromise agreement, a step which should make it easier to bring the bill to the floor for a vote after recess.
Synutra International Inc., a Chinese baby-formula maker, will open its plants for public inspection after the health ministry ordered a probe following reports that its milk powder led babies to develop breasts
August 11, 2010 Millions Spent Lobbying Food SafetySource: Food Safety News
The Senate recently updated its lobbying disclosure database with second quarter spending information. The documents available through the database reveal which organizations are spending what--and where their money is focused....
|HOME | ABOUT THE SITE | REGISTRATION INFORMATION | VOICES: FEATURED COMMENTATORS AND BLOGGERS | SPECIAL SECTIONS|