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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 4, 2015 Nestle only moves to 'sustainable' cocoa in the U.S.

ArkLaTex - In June 2012, Nestle partnered with the î??Fair Labor Associationî?? to investigate the conditions at some of the West African cocoa fields the company works with. According to the report, "Several risks in...

September 4, 2015 Kraft expands recall of American cheese slices

Source: CBS News

The Kraft Heinz Company voluntarily recalled 36,000 cases of 3-lb. and 4-lb. packages in July because small pieces of plastic wrap can stick to the cheese and pose a choking hazard. The company says it received two complaints of...

September 2, 2015 Organic Food Recalls Up 700 Percent Since 2013

Science 2.0 - The Organic Trade Association, not the î??Organic Consumers Associationî?? which funds US Right To Know smear campaigns against scientists but rather than one that tries to block organic food from having...

September 2, 2015 FSMA: No Safety, No Modernization

Source: Food Safety News

In the midst of food prices that are already on the rise, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will vastly increase costs, but it’s not likely to change food safety nor will it modernize...

September 1, 2015 Global fresh produce supply chain must consider climate change in order to ensure food safety - along with revised Codes of Practice for fresh produce at the global î??Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsî?? (FAO)/World Health Organisation (WHO) Codex Alimentarius level. Project...

August 31, 2015 New food-labeling rules aim to make Americans less fat

Bangor Daily News - Food manufacturers have not been idle. The î??Grocery Manufacturers Associationî?? and Food Marketing Institute have been actively promoting voluntary front-of-label nutrient listings. The...

August 26, 2015 School lunch fruits and veggies often tossed in trash, study finds

Source: CBS News

New federal guidelines requiring healthier school lunches have made headlines in recent years, but that doesn't mean kids are eating them up.

August 26, 2015 Farm income seen falling 36% in 2015

Source: CNBC

U.S. farm income is forecast to decline 36 percent in 2015, worse than originally projected—and representing the lowest farm income since 2006, according to the government.

August 25, 2015 Safety of conventional ground beef takes a hit in study

Source: SF Gate

At the height of the summer grilling season, a study released Monday indicates a stunning amount of ground beef in American grocery stores is infested with antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”

August 24, 2015 Sustainability is important to cattle producers

Source: High Plains Ag Journal

Iowa Beef Center Director Dan Loy said sustainability has three components: social, environmental and economic. “We feel positive about the potential in Iowa for sustainability, but other areas of the country aren’t as...

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