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Focus on Food Safety
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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

April 11, 2013 Horsemeat scandal: Dutch uncover large-scale meat fraud - video

Source: BBC News

Some 50,000 tonnes of meat supplied by two Dutch trading companies and sold as beef across Europe since January 2011 may have contained horsemeat. The meat is being recalled where possible, the Dutch authorities say.

April 11, 2013 Taco Bell promises better nutrition — by 2020

Source: USA Today

The nation's largest Mexican fast-food chain on Wednesday announced new nutritional plans to have 20% of its combo meals (a main item, a side dish and a beverage) meet one-third of the federal government's recommended dietary...

April 10, 2013 FDA picking on us, tree-fruit farmers say

seattletimes.com - Farmers, activists and industry representatives including the ;Grocery Manufacturers Association; and the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas have lined up to make their voices heard during a nationwide...

April 10, 2013 10 million pounds of frozen pizza, snacks recalled in rare E. coli outbreak

Stockhouse - Eight people have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for îDiseaseî Control and Prevention ... the CDCâs network of laboratories that track îbacteriaî involved in...

April 10, 2013 Ridding Schools of Fast Food, Junk Food, and Soda Pushers

Source: Food Safety News

With the passage of the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010, in addition to improving school meals, Congress required the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update nearly nonexistent nutrition standards on so-called competitive...

April 9, 2013 Recalled Frozen Food May Have Been Served In Schools

The Huffington Post - WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of thousands of pounds of frozen food recalled amid an E. coli scare may have been served in schools, according to the company that manufactured the items. Buffalo, N.Y.-based Rich...

April 9, 2013 Chinese Told to Change Eating Habits as H7N9 Fatalities Rise

Source: Bloomberg

China asked its citizens to avoid contact with live poultry as it tries to stem a H7N9 bird flu outbreak whose death toll rose to seven today, with a further 17 people infected in three eastern provinces and Shanghai.

April 9, 2013 Lead in Kids’ Foods Draws Lawsuit Over Warning Labels

Source: Bloomberg

Dole Food Co. (DOLE) and Nestle SA (NESN)’s Gerber unit are among food makers facing a trial in California today over accusations they violated a state law requiring them to warn consumers of unsafe levels of lead in baby food,...

April 8, 2013 Baby-food makers going to court Monday over lead content in products

Source: CTV News

SAN FRANCISCO -- The largest baby food makers in the U.S. face a lawsuit by an environmental group aimed at forcing them to alert consumers that some products contains low amounts of lead. The case scheduled for trial Monday will...

April 8, 2013 CDC: 27 Confirmed Cases in Farm Rich E. coli Outbreak

Source: Food Safety News

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that 27 E. coli cases have now been confirmed in connection with an E. coli O121 outbreak that has been traced to Farm Rich brand frozen foods. According to the...

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