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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

July 19, 2017 Chipotle Shuts Down Virginia Restaurant Over Reports of Norovirus

Source: NBC News

Chipotle confirmed on Tuesday that it received multiple reports of customers getting sick after eating at a location in Sterling, Virginia, and that it closed the restaurant on Monday to conduct "a complete sanitization."

July 18, 2017 Artificial Sweeteners Don't Help People Lose Weight, Review Finds

Source: NPR

After looking at two types of scientific research, the authors conclude that there is no solid evidence that sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose help people manage their weight. And observational data suggest that the people...

July 17, 2017 China approves two more GMO crops for import, DuPont disappointed

Source: Reuters

BEIJING - China has approved two more genetically modified (GMO) crops for import, the Ministry of Agriculture said, the second such move in the past month to expand access to biotech seeds as part of Beijing's 100-day trade...

July 17, 2017 Europol says 66 arrested in horsemeat scandal investigation

Source: Independent (UK)

Europol said on Sunday 66 people had been arrested for trading horsemeat unfit for human consumption and it had seized bank accounts, properties and luxury cars following an investigation into a food scandal that shocked European...

July 14, 2017 What's In Your Mac And Cheese Besides Macaroni And Cheese

Source: Forbes

Oh, Mac and Cheese, what's happened to you? You were the most comfortable of comfort foods. So reliable. So innocent. So simple with not too many ingredients. Just macaroni and cheese...and phthalates.

July 11, 2017 The Honey Trap: Analytical Technology Makes Food Fraud Easier to Catch

Source: Food Safety Tech

Because of its high nutritional value and distinctive flavor, natural honey is a premium product with a price tag significantly higher than that of other sweeteners. As a result, honey is often the target of adulteration using...

July 5, 2017 The future of food the food biz: Preventing food safety crises

Source: Food Safety News

Food safety concerns are at an all-time high and the global food industry is facing a raft of new regulations, including more frequent inspections and possibly higher compliance costs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and...

June 30, 2017 Pesticides Are Harming Bees — But Not Everywhere, Major New Study Shows

Source: NPR

n the global debate over neonicotinoid pesticides, the company that makes most of them has relied on one primary argument to defend its product: The evidence that these chemicals, commonly called "neonics," are harmful to bees...

June 30, 2017 Failed environmental law puts Californians and their businesses at risk

Source: Orange County Register

Will your veggies give you cancer? Probably not, according to a Reuters investigative report which uncovered severe intellectual dishonesty in a decision to classify the popular weed killer glyphosate as a “probable human...

June 26, 2017 Yes, Coconut Oil Is Still Healthy. It’s Always Been Healthy.

Source: Huff Post

All things considered, there is absolutely no evidence that coconut oil leads to an increase in harmful LDL. In addition, studies prove that MCT oils can significantly reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride levels!13

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