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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 30, 2012 Food activism may come at a cost

Source: Herald Net

Social media has allowed Americans more say in how their food is made, but will there be unintended consequences?

March 29, 2012 Mothers Trump Regulators as Campbell Dumps Chemical

Source: Bloomberg

Bloomberg - Mar 29 12:35am - Campbell (CPB) soups and Chef Boyardee pasta are banned from Lori Popkewitz Alper's pantry in Bedford, Massachusetts, because the mother of three says her family may be harmed by the chemical that...

March 29, 2012 Food Safety Is Top Priority for London 2012 Games

Source: Food Safety News

Transportation, terrorism and tickets have been among the top concerns for planners of London 2012, the summer Olympic Games that begin in just 120 days. But now they are turning their attention to a new problem---what to do...

March 28, 2012 Tyson says 'pink slime' worry may cut beef supply

Source: AP

Tyson Foods Inc. executives say the negative publicity over the filler known as "pink slime" has hurt demand and will reduce beef supply in the long term. A number of consumers, schools and grocers announced in recent weeks that...

March 28, 2012 Social media turn up heat on food industry

Source: Chicago Tribune

Americans enjoy the cheapest food supply in the world, spending the smallest share of their income on groceries of any country. But as activist groups continue to pull back the curtain on the techniques that make this cheap food...

March 27, 2012 Mexico, U.S. food safety laws compatible

Source: The Packer

TUBAC, Ariz. — Once it officially comes out, the Food Safety Modernization Act won’t affect just U.S. produce companies. Octavio Carranza, director general of agro alimentary food safety, aquiculture and fisheries of SENASICA,...

March 27, 2012 'Pink slime' maker suspends 3 of 4 operations

Source: The Leaf Chronicle

LUBBOCK, TEXAS — The maker of “pink slime” suspended operations Monday at three of four plants where the beef ingredient is made, saying officials would work to address public concern that has cost the company business. Craig...

March 26, 2012 Hard to Know What to Believe When it Comes to Chemical Risks in Food

Source: Gant Daily

UNIVERSITY PARK – With so many reports in the news media about the dangers associated with certain food ingredients and packaging materials, the public is now understandably suspicious and distrustful of what they eat, according...

March 26, 2012 Report: Giant and Safeway to Remove 'Pink Slime' Beef from Stores

Source: Patch.com

Joining other grocery chains, Safeway and Giant, two of Maryland's biggest grocers, announced this week that they will no longer sell "pink slime" beef, The Baltimore Sun reports. Finely textured beef, or "pink slime," is made...

March 24, 2012 Is Red Meat Or FAKE Meat Killing Us'

Source: Zero Hedge

Harvard Medical School found that 1 in 10 premature deaths is caused by eating red meat : Small quantities of processed meat such as bacon, sausages or salami can increase the likelihood of dying by a fifth, researchers from...

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