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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
March 21, 2014 Young mothers prove powerful force in food safety debateSource: Producer.com
In our battle to mitigate misinformation about agriculture and food production, we need to pay attention to an important new demographic: the “mommy bloggers” and their readers. More than four million young, educated, chatty,...
March 20, 2014 Leaked IPCC report links climate change to global food scare
Science Recorder - The new IPCC report intends to highlight the social effects of climate change, with the draft suggesting a decline ... which can potentially increase malnourishment among the population, with children being...
March 19, 2014 Farm bill splits produce growers, food activists
San Francisco Gate - "We don't get into the pros and cons of other commodities," said Tom Nassif, president of îWestern Growersî, which represents California's fruit and vegetable growers. "We just try to deal with...
Source: Food Navigator,com
Food and drink firms must be more proactive at assessing the sustainability of their products and ingredients, rather than reacting to market interest, according to Leatherhead Food Research expert Emma Gubisch.
March 18, 2014 Consumer group launches campaign over Trader Joe's sales of meat raised on antibiotics
Tampa Bay Times - In a full-page ad that appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, the group urged consumers to contact Trader Joe's and ask the retailer not to sell "meat from animals raised on drugs.'' îConsumers Unionî said...
March 18, 2014 Food Ingredients: Trade Secrets vs. Public DisclosureSource: Food Safety News
Can a food manufacturer determine that an ingredient is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and maintain trade secrets information on that ingredient? The answer to this question may be more perplexing than Congress originally...
March 18, 2014 Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Failure to Respond to Petition Over Mercury Levels in Seafood Leads to Lawsuit by Consumer Advocacy Groups
NATIONAL LAW REVIEW - The consumer advocacy groups, the îCenter for Science in the Public Interestî and the Mercury Policy Project, sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday in the District of...
Source: Food Safety News
Dole Fresh Vegetables has expanded to the U.S. its voluntary recall of bagged salad after initially issuing a recall in Canada. The concern is that some of the products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
March 13, 2014 Which foods are worst for environment'
The Arizona Daily Star - in the tally of environmental impact. (A study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science reached a similar conclusion.) For pigs, there was some overlap in conventional...
March 10, 2014 Food Safety Testing Market (Pathogen, GMO, Toxin, Pesticide) Worth $14,030.2 Million By 2018 - New Report by MarketsandMarkets
KTEN - The leading players in the food safety testing market include SGS SA (Switzerland), Bureau Veritas (France), îIntertekî Group Plc. (U.K.), and DNV (Norway). These players have focused on introducing new product...
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