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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

November 2, 2015 Chipotle’s Mass Restaurant Closings And America’s Broken Food Safety System

Source: Think Progress

Dozens of Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon are temporarily closing due to an outbreak of E. coli. Health officials have linked 19 cases in Washington and three in Oregon to Chipotles in those states. Eight people...

October 30, 2015 Science, History, and Real-World Use Support Safety of Reusable Packaging

Source: Food Safety News

Reusable containers for the transport packaging of food have been used around the world for generations. Billions of reusable packaging products are used each year in North America alone to safely transport fresh and nutritious...

October 29, 2015 Companies have to work together to cut out food safety scares, says Mars

Source: The Guardian

Listeria, E coli, adulterants and fungal toxins are all too common in food supplies around the world, sickening and even killing untold numbers of people every year.

October 26, 2015 Hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats cause cancer, World Health Organization declares

Source: Washington Post

A research division of the World Health Organization announced on Monday that bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer, and that red meat probably does, too.

October 26, 2015 Non-GMO Foods: U.S. and Global Market Perspective, 2015 Report - Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of the "Non-GMO Foods: U.S. and Global Market Perspective, 2nd Edition" report to their offering....

October 22, 2015 Subway To Stop Use Of Antibiotics In Its Meat Supply By 2025

Tech Times - In a recent study released by consumer and environmental organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth, the î??Consumers Unionî??, Keep Antibiotics Working, the Food...

October 22, 2015 Americans Want Better Food Policy, Survey

Kansas City infoZine - Pocantico Hills, NY - infoZine - The research was released by â??Plate of the Unionâ??, a new campaign by the î??Union of Concerned Scientistsî??, Food Policy Action, and the HEAL...

October 22, 2015 If science is good for climate change, why not for GMOs?

Source: Green Biz

We have an important battle going in our society: the conflict between science and emotion — facts vs. fabrications and nuance vs. simplicity. When I started working in the field of sustainability, I thought science was...

October 21, 2015 New Research Shows Americans Want Better Food Policy

Union of Concerned Scientists - The research was released by â??Plate of the Unionâ??, a new campaign by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Food Policy Action, and the HEAL Food Alliance. This diverse group of food...

October 20, 2015 Survey: Half Of Food Workers Go To Work Sick Because They Have To

Source: NPR

Fifty-one percent of food workers — who do everything from grow and process food to cook and serve it — said they "always" or "frequently" go to work when they're sick, according to the results of a survey released Monday. An...

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