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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

February 26, 2016 Like Knowing If GMOs Are In Your Food' Congress Is Trying To Make That Harder

The Huffington Post - Among the signers were industry heavyweights including ConAgra, DuPont, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kellogg, PepsiCo and Walmart, plus coalition members including the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the...

February 26, 2016 Decline of Species That Pollinate Poses a Threat to Global Food Supply, Report Warns

Source: NY Times

The first global assessment of the threats to creatures that pollinate the world’s plants was released by a group affiliated with the United Nations on Friday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The summary will be posted online Monday.

February 25, 2016 Cardiologist now heads Food and Drug Administration

Source: Food Safety News

The Duke University professor has little experience in the food safety arena, but extensive experience as a cardiologist and researcher. Funding for some of that research came from big drug makers, including Eli Lily and Merck,...

February 25, 2016 Support GMO Labeling, It Is Very Important

Source: Live Trading News

Live Trading News - If we act together, we can make a difference and put an end to the absurdity. Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these corporate giants. So...

February 24, 2016 South Africa to ease some GM crop rules to avert food crisis

Source: Reuters

South Africa will relax some of its tough rules on genetically modified crops so it can ramp up maize imports from the United States and Mexico to avert a potential food crisis amid a severe drought, officials said.

February 24, 2016 If You Doubt The Organic Industry Leads The Anti-GMO Movement, This Settles It

Source: Forbes

This week, Dr. Joseph Mercola, famous alternative medicine advocate and vaccination opponent who sells homeopathic and organic supplements at Mercola.com, proclaimed the “#1 most visited natural health website,” has launched the...

February 19, 2016 Hidden donors poured $11M into food fight over labels

The Seattle Times - In a filing ahead of a key Friday court hearing, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson accused the Grocery Manufacturers Association of an egregious plot to evade campaign-disclosure laws that ranks...

February 19, 2016 ISIS Is Threatening to Poison Indonesia’s Food and Water Supply

Source: Munchies Vice

ISIS hasn’t been dominating the headlines this month quite as much as they were late last year, but they’re still dreaming up unthinkable ways to torture and kill. Police in Indonesia are now on high alert after the country...

February 19, 2016 Is Salt Bad For You' Scientists Are Too Polarized To Figure It Out

ABC 2 News - "Salt is probably the single most harmful chemical in our food supply," Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest told CBS in 2010. The critics say health recommendations for cutting salt...

February 19, 2016 Global Crisis And Modern Solutions At The Water-Energy Nexus

Water Online - Early this year, GE Water & Process Technologies, a multinational chemical and equipment provider, and the World Resources Institute (WRI), an independent research organization studying sustainability, jointly...

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