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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
August 5, 2015 US says COOL impact overstated
Feedstuffs - The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) told the îWorld Trade Organizationî that Canada and Mexico have overstated their losses regarding the U.S. mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) laws by billions...
August 4, 2015 An unstoppable problem is making it increasingly difficult for the world to produce enough food
The Business Insider - The possibility of increased food shortages looms in a nearer future than we'd care to believe. Citing the UN's îIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeî (IPCC), the latest Grantham Mayo van...
July 31, 2015 Ag ministers repeat call for U.S. to end COOL
Leader Post - The îWorld Trade Organizationî (WTO) ruled in 2012 that COOL was discriminatory to Canadian hog and beef exports. A final ruling by the WTO in May 2015 reaffirmed that the U.S. COOL measure is...
MSN - director of the FDA's îCenter for Food Safety and Applied Nutritionî. Currently, the nutrition facts label lists percent daily values for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate and...
July 26, 2015 House Passes Anti-GMO Labeling Law
Medical Daily - is responsible for feeding the country," Butterfield said during the floor debate. The îGrocery Manufacturers Associationî, which represents more than 300 food companies, has been a key architect of...
July 23, 2015 Report: Food Recalls Have Nearly Doubled Since 2002Source: Food Safety News
The number of U.S. food products recalled — and the costs associated with those recalls — have nearly doubled since 2002, according to a report by reinsurance company Swiss Re.
July 22, 2015 Scientists bolster 'phage' weapons in food safety battleSource: Cornell Chronicle
In the war to keep food safe from bacteria, Cornell food scientists examine a class of weaponry called bacteriophages – an all-natural biological enemy for the nasty Listeria monocytogenes, which threatens meat, produce,...
July 22, 2015 With Baker, candy-soda tax proponents face higher hurdle
WWLP 22News - Greg Costa, director of government affairs for the îGrocery Manufacturers Associationî, said his members oppose the âselective taxation of food products,â arguing that a tax on candy and...
July 21, 2015 Arctic Nations Pledge to Prevent Unregulated FishingSource: ENS NewsWire
OSLO, Norway – The five states that surround the central Arctic Ocean on Thursday signed a declaration to prevent unregulated commercial fishing on the high seas of the 1.1 million-square-mile so-called “donut hole” in that icy...
Toledo Blade - The Canadian government says it doesnât want to levy the sanctions, but that it would have little choice if Washington keeps ignoring a series of rulings by the îWorld Trade Organizationî (WTO)....
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