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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
Source: CBS DFW
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The New Mexico company that recalled more than 252,000 pounds of frozen burritos because of possible listeria contamination says it’s relocating.
Source: Lehigh Valley Live
Giant Food Stores is removing some Aunt Jemima and Hungryman products after Pinnacle Foods Inc. announced a recall due to potential Listeria contamination, the Carlisle-based grocery store chain announced.
Source: Food Safety News
Because the Dole Food Company is going public, financial documents it has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission are available showing how much recalls and shutdowns have cost the company’s Dole Fresh Vegetables unit...
Source: Popular Science
A new report from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) looked at 2015 drinking water data from across the United States and found that of the nation’s 52,000 community drinking water systems, a third reported violations...
The FDA's list of food recalls for April sound less like contaminated food items and more like a menu from Hotel Transylvania: pentobarbital-laced dog chow, ground-up golf balls in the frozen hash browns and bat body parts in the...
April 24, 2017 Golf Balls In Hash Browns Prompt Food RecallSource: Huffington Post
McCain Foods USA is enacting a voluntary recall of two varieties of its hash browns because the potatoes may contain pieces of golf balls.
April 21, 2017 Diet sodas may be tied to stroke, dementia riskSource: CNN
Gulping down an artificially sweetened beverage not only may be associated with health risks for your body, but also possibly your brain, a new study suggests.
April 18, 2017 More flour brands added to Robin Hood national flour recallSource: CBC
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has added more brands of flour and flour products to the national recall it issued April 4 over fears of E. coli contamination.
April 13, 2017 Hospitalizations drop where laws restrict trans fatsSource: Reuters
People were less likely to go to the hospital with heart attacks or strokes after several counties in New York State restricted the use of trans fats, according to a new study.
Source: The Guardian
First WI report on food waste finds confusion persists over ‘best before’ and ‘sell by’ dates, with supermarkets potentially contributing to the problem
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