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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

November 29, 2014 It's the Lies About Beef that are the Slime

Expert Click - The founder of îSafe Tables Our Priorityî (STOP), Donley wrote in the March 17 edition of Food Safety News about her experience learning more about the modern American meat industry and her tour of a...

November 29, 2014 U.S. Appeals WTO Meat-Label Ruling

Wall Street Journal - The Obama administration Friday appealed a recent îWorld Trade Organizationî ruling that would have limited meat-origin labeling, angering Canadian officials who threatened retaliation for what...

November 28, 2014 The Food Industry's Least Appetizing Ads

The Atlantic - These are the people îMichael Pollanî warned you about, or at least their ancestors. Anyway, enjoy: You have to check out the ads to really see what I'm talking about. > 1862

November 27, 2014 Americans waste a ridiculous amount of food on Thanksgiving

Salon - Regarding that second one, îMichael Pollanî came out with a brand new food rule urging us to take back control of our plates: Supersized portions have become the bane of both our health and the health of the...

November 25, 2014 Obamacare law means Americans will see calorie-counts on menus and menu boards everywhere next year, but studies show dramatic move might make us eat MORE

Source: Daily Mail (UK)

Restaurant companies with 20 or more U.S. locations will have to post calorie counts for everything they sell beginning next year because of a little-noticed line buried deep inside the Obamacare law that some studies suggest...

November 25, 2014 Droughts Affect 30% Of The Country; What It Means For Our Food Supply

Medical Daily - These mouth-watering vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes â from whole roasted cauliflowers with chimichurri and almonds to pumpkin pie â are cruelty-free alternatives that will overshadow the turkey. > 1862

November 24, 2014 Minnesota company recalls ground beef

Source: Miami Herald

VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Ranchers Legacy Meat Co. of Vadnais Heights is recalling 1,200 pounds of ground beef because of possible E. coli contamination. Read more here:...

November 24, 2014 General Mills to Drop "100% Natural" Claims on Nature Valley Granola Bars with Artificial Ingredient

Center for Science in The Public Interest - The agreement, which is effective immediately and applies to labeling and marketing for 30 Nature Valley products, settles a 2012 lawsuit brought on behalf of consumers by the nonprofit...

November 20, 2014 Country of origin label for meat cuts endangered

Yahoo News - The îWorld Trade Organizationî agreed more than once with Canada and Mexico that the labels give the U.S. livestock industry an advantage. In a ruling Oct. 20, the WTO said the labeling requirement forced...

November 19, 2014 Why Organic Isn't 'Sustainable'

Source: Forbes

“Sustainable” has become a buzzword. It is applied not only to agriculture and energy production but to sectors as far afield as the building and textile industries. Some universities offer courses or even degrees in...

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