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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.

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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

March 20, 2015 "Very high levels of arsenic" in top-selling wines

WTSP - He tested more than 1,300 bottles of wine. Almost a quarter of them had levels higher than the îEPAî's maximum allowable amount of arsenic in drinking îwaterî: 10 parts per billion. No one can say...

March 19, 2015 Kraft recalls 242K cases of Mac & Cheese for metal pieces.

Source: CS Monitor

Kraft's beloved, blue-boxed pantry staple has a lot of synthetic ingredients, sure. But shards of steel shouldn't be among them. The food processing giant is recalling 242,000 of its Macaroni & Cheese dinners that may contain...

March 18, 2015 Could this plan finally stop food contamination?

Source: Fortune

There’s a big debate over creating a government agency to make the food supply safe. Around 48 million Americans get sick each year from contaminated food. Of those, 128,000 are hospitalized and at least 3,000 people die.

March 18, 2015 Study Suggests Diet Soda May Lead To Belly Fat. Critics Aren't So Sure.

Source: Forbes

Artificial sweeteners – and their most popular protégé, diet soda – haven’t exactly been the nutritional godsends they were supposed to be. In the last 30 years, their consumption has risen considerably, but so have obesity and...

March 17, 2015 How China Is Ramping Up Its Creation Of Much-Needed Food Safety Regulations

Source: Huff Post

Food safety has never been the strong point for huge countries like the U.S. and China. However, though it has been a slow process, the Chinese have undergone bureaucracy changes when it comes to regulating the food industry.

March 16, 2015 Most fast-food places do well with food safety

Source: Philly.com

Most fast-food franchises do well on inspections. Several have records that any restaurateur would envy

March 16, 2015 'Sugary drinks have no place in children's diets'

Telegraph Herald - The study from the îRudd Center for Food Policy and Obesityî at the University of Connecticut found that 96 percent of parents surveyed gave their children sugary drinks in the past month. Eighty...

March 16, 2015 Climate change could damage quality and raise cost of produce, study finds

Source: The Guardian

Future generations may have to make do with more expensive and poorer quality produce, including meat and dairy, because of the impact of climate change, according to new research.

March 12, 2015 Don't Be Fooled: Fast Food Still Isn't Healthy

Boston - according to Yale's îRudd Center for Food Policy and Obesityî. But let's be clear about a couple of things. First of all, these changes are business decisions, not public health ones. This is about marketing:...

March 11, 2015 Why Everyone Should Care About Food Safety

Food Safety News - According to the World Health Organization, contaminated food can cause more than 200 diseases and foodborne illnesses ... and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, foodborne illness...

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