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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
Source: The Guardian
South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen are on the brink of catastrophe, thanks to conflict, drought, and a shocking failure in our international response
Source: The Guardian
Report warns of catastrophic consequences and blames manufacturers for ‘systematic denial of harms’ and ‘unethical marketing tactics’
The merest mention of bird flu is enough to send shivers down the spine of a chicken farmer. But as the U.S. deals with its first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza on a farm in a year, the poultry industry hasn’t started...
A strain of bird flu has been detected in a chicken breeder flock on a Tennessee farm contracted to U.S. food giant Tyson Foods Inc, and the 73,500 birds will be culled to stop the virus from entering the food system, government...
March 3, 2017 Subway: Our Chicken Is Real ChickenSource: Fortune
Subway has fired back at news company Canadian Broadcasting Corp for publishing a DNA analysis that claims that Subway's chicken meat is only about half chicken.
February 21, 2017 Bill Gates Warns Of Epidemic That Will Kill Over 30 Million PeopleSource: Forbes
Whether it occurs by a quirk of nature or at the hand of a terrorist, epidemiologists say a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year. And they say there is a reasonable probability...
February 17, 2017 Hard to Detect, China Bird Flu Virus May Be More WidespreadSource: US News
BEIJING - Bird flu infection rates on Chinese poultry farms may be far higher than previously thought, because the strain of the deadly virus that has killed more than 100 people this winter is hard to detect in chickens and...
February 17, 2017 Climate Change Is Transforming the World's Food SupplySource: Live Science
"There will be impacts on the quantity, quality and location of the food we produce," said Dr. Sam Myers, a medical doctor and senior research scientist studying environmental health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public...
Source: Kansas AG
Farmers should know their own strengths and weaknesses as an operator and manager. “Then align with a team of specialists for crop insurance, commodity brokerage, inputs, and your lender,” he said.
February 16, 2017 Food Industry Finally Agrees To Make ‘Use By’ Labels Less ConfusingSource: Huff Post
Studies have shown that 90 percent of consumers are confused by date labeling, resulting in an excess of food waste. Considering the fact that the U.S. throws out $162 billion of food each year, this is a problem in serious need...
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