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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

March 1, 2014 UPDATE: Will new food labels mean paying more for less'

news.morningstar.com - The FDA's proposed revamp of nutrition labels is intended to help ... Perhaps most important, the proposed food labels would require that the serving size on food reflect what the average person will...

February 28, 2014 Nutrition Facts Label: Proposed Changes Aim to Better Inform Food Choices

Source: FDA

A lot has changed in the American diet since the Nutrition Facts label was introduced in 1993 to provide important nutritional information on food packages. People are eating larger serving sizes. Rates of obesity, heart disease...

February 27, 2014 Mad Cow, Eye Cancer, Feces In Your Food' The Price of Cutting Back on Meat Inspectors

AlterNet - The meat from the cows, which was supplying the National School ... but that this was not unusual behavior for her.â Right. Cow number three, discovered in March, 2006, was also a downer who âhad at her...

February 27, 2014 Human tooth and chicken’s head found in food in Ireland

Source: The Irish Times

A chicken’s head found in frozen chicken wings, a human tooth in a Chinese takeaway and a dirty finger nail in baby food. They were just some of the complaints received by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s advice line last...

February 26, 2014 Slaughterhouse accused of selling meat from cows with cancer

Source: SF Gate

0 Larger | Smaller Printable Version Email This Font Rancho Feeding Corp., the Petaluma slaughterhouse that recently recalled 8.7 million pounds of...

February 24, 2014 Investors push food industry giants for urgent action on transparency

oxfamamerica.org - Today 31 major investment funds, representing nearly 1.5 trillion dollars of assets under management, called on food industry giants to improve their supply chain policies and transparency. In a statement...

February 24, 2014 Water crisis in California to drive up food prices

Source: News 10

SACRAMENTO - The California drought is hitting many people hard and its impact will be felt from farm to fork. Federal officials said many farmers caught in California's drought will receive no irrigation water this year from a...

February 22, 2014 Maine says it didn't find out about mercury contamination in lobster until 2013 study

The Republic - PORTLAND, Maine â State officials say they only recently became aware that mercury contamination in a small portion of Maine lobster had surpassed îCenter for Disease Controlî safety thresholds....

February 21, 2014 The Stream, February 20: FAO Says Food Security in Near East and North Africa Threatened by Water Scarcity

circleofblue.org - Approximately 100 metric tons of contaminated water escaped Japanâs damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the latest leak from the facility, CNN reported. The leak was stopped before it reached...

February 20, 2014 Hot Pockets Recalled For Possibly Containing 'Diseased And Unsound' Meat

The Business Insider - Hot Pockets are one of the latest casualties in a recall of nearly nine million pounds of meat from a Northern California slaughterhouse. Specifically, the Philly Steak & Cheese varieties have been...

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