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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
Source: Scotland Food and Drink
Ahead of the UN’s Rio +20 conference on sustainable development this summer, FDF’s event will analyse the big challenges and opportunities in greening our global food systems and the role UK food and drink manufacturers can play...
America's obesity epidemic is so deeply rooted that it will take dramatic and systemic measures - from overhauling farm policies and zoning laws to, possibly, introducing a soda tax - to fix it, the influential Institute of...
May 8, 2012 Animal Health, Food Safety Link StudiedSource: Farm Futures
A team of experts took on the challenge to look at the issue of how animal health impacts food safety. Official release of the report on the topic will be made today in Washington, D.C. Alan Mathew, head of Purdue University's...
Source: ABS-CBN News
SHANGHAI - China is investigating claims vegetable sellers are spraying cabbage with harmful formaldehyde to keep it fresh, an official said Tuesday, in yet another food safety scare to hit the country
Source: McClatchy News
WASHINGTON — The ranks of obese Americans are expected to swell even further in the coming years, rising from 36 percent of the adult population today to 42 percent by 2030, experts said Monday
May 7, 2012 UN monitor probing Canada's food supply issuesSource: CTV
The United Nations food monitor is in Canada this week to learn about what is right -- and what is very wrong -- with Canada's food distribution system.
Food prices may stabilize at high levels and keep government import bills near a record, increasing the risk of social unrest in the world’s least developed countries, the United Nations said.
May 7, 2012 Illnesses linked to contaminated pet foodSource: Philly.com
At least 14 people in nine states, including Pennsylvania, have been sickened from dog food that came from a South Carolina plant that issued four food recalls in the past five months. The Centers for Disease Control and...
May 7, 2012 Diamond Further Expands Dog Food RecallSource: Dog Channel.com
Diamond recalled three brands of dry dog food: Diamond Naturals Lamb and Rice Formula for Adult Dogs, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula and Diamond Puppy Formula. The company ceased production at the...
On a sunny morning early last September, Susanna Gaxiola fed her husband a healthy breakfast of fresh cantaloupe in their Albuquerque, New Mexico, home. Her husband, Rene, a Pentecostal pastor and minister, had been fighting a...
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