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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

June 25, 2014 World Hunger Day marked as millions survive on less than £1 a day

voiceofrussia.com - âThere is a lot left to do, but progress is being made. The number of children dying each day has been reduced by three quarters since îthe Hunger Projectî began in 1977." Inspiring images...

June 25, 2014 First responders need to prepare for agroterrorism

AG Professional - Agroterrorism may be a term many farmers haven't heard of, but it's one they need to understand in order to combat it, according to an expert with Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and...

June 25, 2014 Stores affected by ground beef recall in 10 states, includes GFS in Indiana

Evansville Courier and Press - According to an announcement Thursday, the U.S. agriculture department's îFood Safety and Inspection Serviceî says it has reason to believe recalled beef was sent to retail outlets in...

June 24, 2014 China intensifies monitoring and supervision of food safety - video

Source: CCTV

China's Health and Family Planning Commission says China has intensified its monitoring and supervision of food safety. Pollutants in dairy products and flour have been reduced, and the curbs have been enacted on the overuse of...

June 20, 2014 WWC, FAO to bolster global water, food security

The Frontier Post - KARACHI (PPI): The World Water Council (WWC) and the îFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsî (FAO) have agreed to intensify their collaboration in a bid to strengthen global water...

June 20, 2014 1,000 Dog Deaths May Be Related to Treats from China

Talk Radio News Service - the U.S. is not importing any chicken that was slaughtered in China, because Chinaâs poultry slaughter system is not equivalent to that in the U.S.â explained Dr. Daniel Engeljohn, assistant...

June 20, 2014 Government to push food companies to lower salt

CBS News - Brian Kennedy of the îGrocery Manufacturers Associationî, which represents the country's biggest food companies, says the group is concerned about the FDA setting targets and any guidelines should be based...

June 20, 2014 Food Poisoning Cases Underreported, Says Food Safety Specialist

Source: Science World Report

In order to improve food safety it is necessary to identify symptoms for food poisoning as well as report the foodborne illnesses such as norovirus, salmonella and E.Coli to the doctor. The Centers for Disease Control and...

June 20, 2014 The importance of carbon footprinting for sustainability impact

Source: The Guardian

The simple truth is that food and drink sustainability can be a very complicated business to understand. There are a multitude of issues that need to be considered, from land use change to industrial energy efficiency – which can...

June 19, 2014 Walmart Raises Investment in Food Safety in China - Analyst Blog

Source: NASDAQ

Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ( WMT ) intends to increase its investment in food safety measures in China to 300 million yuan ($48.32 million) over three years through 2015, up from 100 million yuan in the same period,...

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