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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
he World Health Organization (WHO) wants to curb the dangerous rise of global antibiotic resistance, and is asking farmers all over the world to help, by changing the way they keep their herds and flocks healthy.
November 1, 2017 Pesticide residue on fruits and veggies tied to infertilitySource: Reuters
Women who eat more fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue may be less likely to get pregnant than women whose diets don’t include a lot of this type of produce, a U.S. study suggests.
October 30, 2017 Nestlé, Hershey and Mars 'breaking promises over palm oil use'Source: The Guardian
This year’s Halloween confectionery will contain palm oil grown on land that should lawfully be habitat to orangutans, rhinos and clouded leopards, despite commitment to clean up supply chains
October 27, 2017 These baby foods and formulas tested positive for arsenic, lead and BPA in new studySource: USA Today
An alarming study released Wednesday found many baby food products test positive for arsenic, including 80% of infant formulas. And, that's not the only dangerous contaminate found.
October 26, 2017 High cholesterol levels among U.S. adults declining: CDC reportSource: Reuters
NEW YORK - The prevalence of U.S. adults with high cholesterol declined significantly between 1999-2000 and 2015-2016, achieving a long-term public health goal, according to data released on Thursday by the Centers for Disease...
October 25, 2017 The massive food-safety recall that hit Walmart and Trader Joe’s is actually good newsSource: Quartz
The recall is proof that the modern food-safety system is working. In catching a problem before an illness is reported, lives may have been saved that might have otherwise been jeopardized.
Source: SF Gate
Vegetable items from Walmart, Safeway/Albertson's and Trader Joe's are now included in the exhaustive recall notice from Mann Packing in Salinas. More than 20 brands have been pulled in the United States and Canada after a...
October 19, 2017 Is the FDA Doing a Good Job Protecting Us from Food-Borne Illness?Source: Healthline
A new report criticizes the FDA for its food inspection protocol. However, the agency is just starting to implement new food safety procedures.
- U.S. weed specialists doubted on Friday that new federal restrictions on the use of a controversial weed killer, sold by Monsanto Co and BASF, will prevent recurrences next year of crop damage linked to the chemical.
October 13, 2017 America’s Obesity Epidemic Reaches Record High, New Report SaysSource: NBC News
A troubling new report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that almost 40 percent of American adults and nearly 20 percent of adolescents are obese — the highest rates ever recorded for the U.S.
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