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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
January 16, 2013 Horsemeat found in hamburgers in Britain and IrelandSource: CNN
The discovery of horse DNA in hamburgers on sale at supermarkets in Ireland and Britain is testing the appetite of meat lovers there. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland said Tuesday that 10 out of 27 hamburger products it...
GENEVA--Negotiators from more than 130 countries are hoping to finalize by Jan. 18 the first international legal instrument on reducing the use of mercury and limiting emissions into the environment, but officials said difficult...
January 15, 2013 Coca-Cola to air U.S. commercials addressing obesitySource: Reuters
Coca-Cola Co will air a two-minute commercial on U.S. cable television on Monday that highlights its efforts in fighting obesity, as the soft drink industry faces increasing pressure from local governments and critics.
January 14, 2013 Food Safety Rules Tied To FSMA May Be Ignored By Industry
President Barack Obama came into office during one of the worst salmonella outbreaks in United States history, in which at least 700 people fell ill after eating tainted peanut butter. Days after his inauguration, he pledged to...
January 14, 2013 Missouri Issues Alert About Raw Milk and E. coli Outbreak
foodpoisoningbulletin.com - The Missouri îDepartmentî of Health and Senior ... care providers should be on the lookout for these îinfectionsî. All stool samples should be cultured for STEC 0157:H7 and...
foodsafetynews.com - At the time, the Tester amendment also splintered consumer groups. Food & Water Watch, for example, decided to support the exemption, while the îCenter for Science in the Public Interestî and...
January 10, 2013 Your Dinner Plate May Be a Sign of Our Changing Oceans
kcet.org - Our ocean is absorbing carbon dioxide at a rapid rate, and the window of opportunity to do something about it is getting smaller and smaller. Madeleine Brand follows how our changing ocean is affecting not only the...
January 9, 2013 Sweeping Food Safety Rules Raise More Concerns About FDA FundingSource: Food Safety News
As stakeholders review the landmark draft food safety rules the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released Friday – which may take a while, given that the two rules come to more than 1,000 pages with another couple hundred pages...
January 7, 2013 F.D.A. Offers Broad New Rules to Fight Food ContaminationSource: NY Times
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday proposed two sweeping rules aimed at preventing the contamination of produce and processed foods, which has sickened tens of thousands of Americans annually in recent years.
January 7, 2013 Cost of New Food Safety Rules Remain Years Away
WLTX.com - "The new law should transform the FDA from an agency that tracks down outbreaks after the fact, to an agency focused on preventing food contamination in the first place," said Caroline Smith DeWaal of the îCenter...
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