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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
July 20, 2012 Latest Report shows EU Controls ensure our food is safeSource: Focus News
Brussels. A European Commission report published today shows that thanks to the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) many food safety risks have been averted or mitigated and safety controls ensure our food is safe,...
July 19, 2012 Why You Should Avoid Airport Food And Bring Your OwnSource: Forbes
By now you have probably read about the Delta turkey sandwich needle incident and might be asking yourself why you ever ate airplane food in the first place. I cannot recall the last time I ate airplane food. As a...
July 19, 2012 U.S. drought wilts crops as officials pray for rainSource: Reuters
Oppressive heat and a worsening drought in the Midwest pushed grain prices near or past records on Wednesday as crops wilted, cities baked and concerns grew about food and fuel price inflation in the world's top food exporter.
Source: NY Times
WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that baby bottles and children’s drinking cups could no longer contain bisphenol A, or BPA, an estrogen-mimicking industrial chemical used in some plastic bottles and...
July 18, 2012 European Food Safety Authority gives chocolate stamp of approval for improving blood circulationSource: CBS News
CBS News) Some studies have claimed the numerous health benefits of chocolate. Now, cocoa and chocolate has got the seal of approval from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European regulatory agency that's similar to...
July 18, 2012 Why NYC's trans fat ban is good for the heartSource: CBS News
It seems that New York City's ban on trans fats - which requires restaurants to make sure their foods contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving - is making its residents healthier. A new study has shown that since the...
July 17, 2012 Produce safety testing program is spared budget axSource: Miami Herald
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Agriculture Department grudgingly extended the life of the nation's largest produce-safety testing program on Monday, just as the initiative was slated to be shut down.
July 16, 2012 Global Food and Beverage Survey 2012-2013: New Consumer Technology Solutions, Impact, Opportunities and BudgetsSource: SB Wire
“Global Food and Beverage Survey 2012-2013: Demand, Budgets, and Key Markets for Innovative Technology” is a new report by Canadean that analyzes future expectations about the significance of new technology in the global food and...
July 13, 2012 Produce-safety testing program on chopping blockSource: Washington Post
Congress is poised to scrap funding for the only program that consistently tests select vegetables and fruit for pathogens — an initiative that’s led to about 30 recalls since 2009. The Agriculture Department, which runs the...
July 12, 2012 Budget Cuts Will Kill Safety Program That Caught Salmonella, E. Coli, Listeria OutbreaksSource: ABC News
Food safety advocates are frantically trying to save a little-known produce inspection program that accounts for 80 percent of all government testing of produce and has prompted recalls of tainted fruits and vegetables around the...
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