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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

December 28, 2015 Chipotle's Sustainability Hypocrisy Could Eclipse Its Food Poisoning Fiasco

Source: Huff Post

The number of recent food poisoning cases linked to the fast-food restaurant soared this week to more than 500 with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcing 6 additional cases in four more states: Pennsylvania,...

December 28, 2015 2015 in Review: Animal Antibiotics

Source: Food Safety News

It’s difficult to summarize what happened on the animal antibiotics front this year. There were lots of pledges, lots of discussions and lots of reports, but not very many actions. Still, we still wanted to recap what happened in...

December 28, 2015 The GMO Issue: False Claims, Pseudo Analysis And A Politically Motivated Agenda

Source: Counter Currents

Counter Currents - the World Trade Organization, the World Food Program, the Millennium Challenge, The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and industrial giants like Yara Fertilizer,...

December 24, 2015 Chipotle's Sustainability Hypocrisy Could Eclipse Its Food Poisoning Fiasco

The Huffington Post - Chipotle's troubles have undermined its public claims that it uses safer and higher quality organic and local ingredients when available. Its chief financial officer John Hartung said during a recent call...

December 24, 2015 Country of Origin: Where is Your Beef From'

OpEdNews - The dispute started about five years ago when Canada and Mexico filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization. They argued that U.S. law required their meat to be labeled "product of Mexico" or "Canada" was a...

December 23, 2015 Americans aware of Chipotle outbreak eat there less often: poll

Source: Reuters

Nearly a quarter of Americans who have heard of recent E. coli outbreaks at Chipotle Mexican Grill said they are eating less often at its restaurants, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday, while social media sentiment...

December 23, 2015 Chicken also excluded from COOL repeal

The Western Producter - That release was issued after the World Trade Organization ruled earlier this month that Canada and Mexico could impose retaliatory tariffs on various U.S. commodities if COOL was not repealed or changed...

December 23, 2015 Although Some GMO Sympathizers Embrace Mandatory Labeling, It's A Disaster In Waiting

The Huffington Post - His Twitter handle is: @BruceMatthewCha Jon Entine, executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project, is a Senior Fellow at the World Food Center Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy, University of...

December 22, 2015 Major companies commit to using SmartLabel on products

High Plains Journal - Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. SmartLabel is a modern technology that will change how people shop and will help them get answers to questions they have on the products...

December 22, 2015 Wild bee populations dwindle in main U.S. crop regions: study

Source: Reuters

Wild bees, crucial pollinators for many crops, are on the decline in some of the main agricultural regions of the United States, according to scientists who produced the first national map of bee populations and identified...

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