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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

June 2, 2017 Pasta sales rise thanks to health, sustainability issues

Source: Food Business News

http://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/news_home/Consumer_Trends/2017/06/Pasta_sales_rise_thanks_to_hea.aspx?ID=%7BE4B1A66E-8374-4072-A998-1ECD7D6B690B%7D

May 30, 2017 Food safety: Possibe risk to reputations provides motivation BY ECOLAB

Source: Food Safety News

Over Ecolab’s many decades of support to the food service industry, we have seen considerable progress in the execution of sanitation and hygiene programs that protect public health. But each new food safety incident or norovirus...

May 26, 2017 Survey finds US honeybee losses improve from horrible to bad

Source: Washington Post

WASHINGTON — There’s a glimmer of hope for America’s ailing honeybees as winter losses were the lowest in more than a decade, according to a U.S. survey of beekeepers released Thursday.

May 23, 2017 Groups Sue FDA to Protect Food Safety

Source: EWG

WASHINGTON — Today, consumer, health, and food safety groups challenged a Food and Drug Administration rule that undermines the integrity of our food safety system. Chemical and food manufacturers often seek to add chemicals to...

May 23, 2017 Sustainable Coffee Challenge: Driving Commitments Across the Coffee Industry

Source: Food Tank

The Sustainable Coffee Challenge has recently announced the first four Collective Action Networks that will catalyze the effort to make coffee the first sustainable agricultural product in the world. The coalition, assembled by...

May 22, 2017 10 hospitalized with botulism tied to nacho cheese sauce

Source: CNN

Ten people have been hospitalized after they contracted botulism from eating nacho cheese sauce served at a gas station outside of Sacramento, California, according to state and local officials.

May 22, 2017 100 tons of Nathan’s and Curtis franks recalled nationwide

Source: Food Safety News

More than 100 tons of Nathan’s brand and Curtis brand beef hotdogs are being recalled by John Morrell & Co. because of complaints of contamination with extraneous bits of metal.

May 15, 2017 Climate change: Your coffee cup will be hit

Source: Herald

BAD news for coffee drinkers - climate change is threatening your morning dose of the beloved beverage. That balanced rich flavour and fine aftertaste for which the Zimbabwean coffee is globally renowned will become bitter, more...

May 15, 2017 Frozen Burrito Maker Relocates After Recall, Listeria Scare

Source: CBS DFW

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The New Mexico company that recalled more than 252,000 pounds of frozen burritos because of possible listeria contamination says it’s relocating.

May 8, 2017 Giant removes Aunt Jemima, other breakfast foods amid recall

Source: Lehigh Valley Live

Giant Food Stores is removing some Aunt Jemima and Hungryman products after Pinnacle Foods Inc. announced a recall due to potential Listeria contamination, the Carlisle-based grocery store chain announced.

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