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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

March 25, 2013 How Safe Is Imported Food'

Medicine Net - "The food safety standards in China and other countries aren't as high as they are in the U.S.," says Chris Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute at the îConsumer Federation of Americaî. From...

March 25, 2013 Importance of Sustainability Growing for Food Industry

Source: The Fishnet.com

A new report, Driving Sustainability, from LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), which was launched at the International Food Event in London showed that while a vast majority of companies believe sustainability to be...

March 22, 2013 Ikea Meatballs To Return To Stores After Horsemeat Scare

The Huffington Post - STOCKHOLM, March 21 (Reuters) - Furniture retailer IKEA's trademark meatballs are returning to the menu after last month's horsemeat scare, with new supply chain controls "from farm to fork", the company's...

March 22, 2013 Sugar, not fat the main culprit behind the obesity epidemic

zmescience.com - I was quite thrilled when Michelle Obama launched her Letâs Move initiative in February 2010 with a speech to the îGrocery Manufacturers Associationî of America. âShe took it straight to...

March 22, 2013 Welcome to the new normal in food safety

Source: Troy Media

The challenge of tracking food products and ingredients upstream and downstream touches on the core of what is required to manage risks posed by the new normal in the business of food and agriculture.

March 21, 2013 Diet soda: An ongoing debate

examiner.com - For example, according to Michael Jacobson, executive director of the îCenter for Science in the Public Interestî, sucralose is on the safe list; aspartame is listed under caution. âRead the...

March 21, 2013 Does Your Favorite Food Contain One of These Toxic Ingredients'

eMaxHealth - King Arthur Flour website contains many recipe ideas for your favorite breads, cakes, and holiday offerings. According to îMichael Pollanîâs Food Rules â if an ingredient is too hard to say,...

March 20, 2013 Canada and France renew food safety partnership

Source: PR NewsWire

OTTAWA - Health Canada and France's Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) signed a new framework cooperation agreement on January 15, 2013. This agreement reinforces the long-standing relations...

March 20, 2013 Senate Continuing Resolution Offers Promise for Meat Inspectors

Farm Futures - Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Chris Coons, D-Del., introduced the amendment last week, attempting to limit a funding gap for the îFood Safety and Inspection Serviceî and allow meat inspectors to continue to...

March 19, 2013 Chinese Consumers Aware of Food Safety

Source: The Poultry Site

CHINA - A new study reveals that consumers in China are aware of food safety issues despite a lack of information and that they are prepared to pay more for safe food products. [more]

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