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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, 2012 FDA releases findings of investigation into Diamond pet food recall


A pet food recall that has had consumers buzzing in recent weeks because of its breadth prompted the Food and Drug Administration to conduct an investigation of the plant that all of the food was produced.

May 17, 2012 Climate change brews up trouble for coffee

Source: Business Daily Africa

As the world grapples with climate change, Kenya coffee and tea farmers are being forced to wake up to the reality of these new conditions as scientists paint grim prospects for the cash crops.

May 17, 2012 California Cantaloupe Handlers Approve State's First Mandatory Food Safety Program

Source: MarketWatch

California cantaloupe handlers have voted overwhelmingly in support of the State's first mandatory food safety program to be implemented by a commodity board. The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced yesterday...

May 17, 2012 Chemicals in environment affect

Source: Times of India

For the study, researchers from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen Universities tested sheep that had been exposed to chemicals such as cosmetics, detergents and pollutants.

May 16, 2012 Company resolving recall fallout

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

North Las Vegas-based Basic Food Flavors has moved to close an embarrassing episode with settlement of $34.4 million in claims arising from a 2010 recall of salmonella-tainted products

May 16, 2012 Does sugar make you stupid? Study suggests it sabotages learning and memory

Source: Daily Mail

Scientists have discovered that binging on the sweet treats for as little as six weeks may make you stupid. A team from UCLA found consuming a diet consistently high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and...

May 16, 2012 Marcos Breton: Is society making us obese?

Source: Sacramento Bee

Over the weekend, on a family day trip to a Bay Area amusement park, it was stunning to see so many people in one place who've lost control of their weight.

May 15, 2012 Oscar Mayer First to Offer Complete Line of Meats That Have No Artificial Preservatives, Flavors or Colors

Source: PR Newswire

MADISON, Wis.-- Oscar Mayer today announced a new line of meats called Selects that have no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors.  Delivering on what consumers want – ...

May 15, 2012 Why Chicken Is Getting Safer to Eat, More Dangerous to Produce

Source: Daily Finance

Newly-drafted USDA regulations aimed at protecting public health may make poultry safer to eat, but there's a trade-off that puts worker health and safety on the line.

May 15, 2012 Coca-Cola tries again with mid-calorie sodas

Source: AP

NEW YORK (AP) — The Coca-Cola Co. is giving mid-calorie sodas another try, this time with Sprite and Fanta. The Atlanta-based company says it will test a "Sprite Select" and "Fanta Select" this summer that will have about half...

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