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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

September 24, 2015 Guilty Verdict Puts Food Safety Responsibility Where It Belongs

Source: Food Safety

Guilty! The perpetrator of the 2008-09 Salmonella outbreak, Stewart Parnell of the Peanut Corporation of America, just received a 28-year sentence for knowingly distributing Salmonella-containing peanuts. The familiar refrain...

September 24, 2015 Push to label genetically modified foods gains momentum

Worcester Business Journal - Jean Halloran, the food policy initiatives director at î??Consumers Unionî??, referred to a poll conducted by her group that found 92 percent of consumers want food labels to indicate...

September 23, 2015 Government Favors And Subsidies To Organic Agriculture: Follow The Money

Source: Forbes

Scores of millions of dollars is spent each year by organic interests to influence legislators and government agencies, pass state and federal anti-genetic engineering labeling initiatives and fund the political campaigns of...

September 22, 2015 How America's Wealth Gap Shows Up On Our Dinner Plates

OPB - But they consumed fewer fruits and vegetables and whole grains and more added sugars, says Tatiana Andreyeva, the studyâ??s lead author and a researcher with the î??Rudd Center for Food Policy and...

September 22, 2015 Is geoengineering contributing to global crop failure'

Natural News - The United Nations' (UN) î??Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeî?? (IPCC) openly referred to geoengineering in a 2013 report, noting that stratospheric aerosols are used to produce artificial...

September 22, 2015 Germany must cut waste to set global example for sustainable development

Source: Reuters

Germany may have won an international reputation for being environmentally aware and a leader in clean energy, but the world's fourth largest economy faces challenges in establishing a sustainable way of life at home.

September 22, 2015 Former peanut company CEO sentenced to 28 years for salmonella outbreak

Source: Reuters

The former owner of a peanut company in Georgia was sentenced to 28 years in prison on Monday for his role in a salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and sickened hundreds, a rare instance of jail time in a food...

September 21, 2015 Who eats fast food most? Not exactly who you think

Source: The Bulletin

There’s a popular narrative about poor families and fast food: They eat more of it than anybody else. It’s dangled as evidence for the high rate of obesity among poorer Americans — and talked about even by some of the country’s...

September 21, 2015 McDonald’s investor wants it to cut antibiotics in all meats

Source: Reuters

A McDonald’s Corp shareholder group is renewing its call for the fast-food chain to stop buying any meat from animals raised with antibiotics vital to fighting human infections.

September 18, 2015 France bolsters ban on genetically modified crops

Source: Reuters

France is to use a new European opt-out scheme to ensure a ban on the cultivation of genetically modified crops in the country remains in place, it said on Thursday.

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