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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
May 17, 2010 School cafeteria catching up to McDonalds in safetySource: North Country Public Radio
It's really unbelievable that the hamburger you eat at most any fast food chain is safer than the burger a child eats in the school cafeteria. Especially when you consider that young children are especially vulnerable to the...
May 14, 2010 Hong Kong Offer 5 Keys To Food SafetySource: Food Safety News
Just nine of 4,400 food samples tested during March by Hong Kong's Center for Food Safety failed to pass. In its monthly "Food Safety Report," the Center for Food Safety reported on five food samples that did not pass its routine...
May 13, 2010 How Did E. coli O145 Contaminate Lettuce? Part IISource: Food Safety News
As state and federal public health officials continue to investigate the E. coli O145 outbreak tied to bagged Freshway Foods romaine lettuce, which has sickened 19 in 3 states, many questions remain. The supply chain from the...
May 12, 2010 How Did E. coli O145 Contaminate Lettuce?Source: Food Safety News
As state and federal public health officials continue to investigate the E. coli O145 outbreak tied to bagged Freshway Foods romaine lettuce, which has sickened 19 in 3 states, many questions remain.
May 12, 2010 Study: Food Allergy Guidelines NeededSource: WebMD
May 11, 2010 -- Food allergies are common, especially among children, but it is not clear just how common they are because there is no generally accepted definition for them, a review of past studies finds. Researchers say the...
May 11, 2010 USDA sets new standards for inspecting poultrySource: CNN
The federal government is trying to cut down on the number of food borne illnesses in poultry. This afternoon Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new standards for inspecting young chickens (broilers) and turkeys.
May 7, 2010 Marler Clark, food safety advocates and lawyers, provide consumer informational site on E. coli O145 complication - hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)Source: Food Poison
Freshway Foods and the Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday. An a press release, Freshway Foods said the E. coli O145 - tainted Romaine Lettuce was sold to wholesalers, food service outlets, in-store salad bars and...
Source: MercuryNews.com - CA
ERIE — When the neighborhood kids visit the Lafferty family's bustling farmhouse, they're offered water, juice or milk. "They always say, 'Milk, milk, milk,' " says Nickie Lafferty. The Laffertys' milk — hand-labeled and stored...
Source: Food Poison Jopurnal
Circumstances have long been ripe for calling all shiga-toxin producing strains of Escherichia coli (E. coli) “adulterants” in our food supply. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, which is the entity that has the...
Seafood restaurants like Houston’s top-ranked Reef are bracing for price increases to cope with the Gulf Coast oil spill that threatens 25 percent of the U.S. fresh fish haul.
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