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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
December 18, 2012 Nation’s Largest Raw Milk Dairy Sues FDA Over Interstate BanSource: Food Safety News
Organic Pastures, the nation’s largest raw milk dairy, has launched a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for allegedly turning its back on the dairy’s request for the agency to change its current law banning...
December 14, 2012 The Biggest Food Safety Disasters Of 2012Source: Huff Post
From widespread salmonella outbreaks involving peanuts and cantaloupe to the discovery of mad cow disease in a California dairy cow, it's been quite a year for food safety. There's promise that the Food Safety Modernization Act,...
December 13, 2012 New Food Safety Tests Could Hamper Outbreak DetectionSource: Huff Post
WASHINGTON — New tests that promise to speed up diagnosis of food poisoning pose an unexpected problem: They could make it more difficult to identify dangerous outbreaks like the one that sickened people who ate a variety of...
December 12, 2012 Canada Joins U.S. in Food-Safety ModernizationSource: Food Production Design
CANADA — Canada's food law regime is about to undergo a radical transformation thanks to the Safe Food for Canadians Act. It not only consolidates the authorities of several different statutes, the law provides better control...
December 11, 2012 Global Food Safety Testing IndustrySource: MarketWatch
This report analyzes the worldwide markets for Food Safety Testing in US$ Million by the following Product Segments: Pathogens Testing, Pesticide Testing, GMO Testing, and Other Testing. The End-Use markets also analyzed in the...
December 10, 2012 Operations resume for XL Foods, Capital PackersSource: CTV News
XL Foods is being allowed to resume exports to the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) informed Canada’s Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) of the decision on Friday.
December 4, 2012 FDA Seeks to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Delay of Food Safety RulesSource: Food Safety News
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is making a big effort to enact the delayed Food Safety Modernization Act, but the rules being developed are complex and need more time, the agency argued in a motion to dismiss a lawsuit...
December 3, 2012 Recall: Trader's Joe's Butter ChickenSource: UPI
OTTAWA-- U.S. and Canadian officials say 4,865 pounds of frozen butter chicken and rice bound for Trader Joe's stores were recalled for possible Listeria contamination.
December 3, 2012 FDA vegetarian meat recall: Veggie Patch – The Ultimate and FalafelSource: Examiner
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Nov. 30 – two products of meat substitutes were voluntarily recalled due to a risk of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Veggie Patch – The Ultimate Meatless Burger...
December 3, 2012 USA - Dirty machinery main cause of Listeria
Meattradenewsdaily (blog) - In comments to USDAâs îFood Safety and Inspection Serviceî (FSIS) about a newly released compliance guideline for Listeria monocytogenes control in post-lethality ready-to-eat meat...
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