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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

February 12, 2014 Consumer group presses Trader Joe's on meat antibiotics

Denver Post - A national consumer-advocacy group is asking grocer Trader Joe's to stop selling meat from animals raised on antibiotics. îConsumers Unionî took out full-page ads Monday in The Denver Post and the...

February 11, 2014 Food & Water Watch Exposes USDA Inspection Staffing Shortages

Common Dreams - WASHINGTON - February 10 - Today, Food & Water Watch sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to investigate the staffing deficiencies at the îFood Safety and Inspection Serviceî...

February 11, 2014 Rice Recall Highlights Illness from Overexposure to Niacin, or Vitamin B3

Source: Food Safety News

Judging by the news stories that have cropped up in the past 24 hours, Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice is having some problems with niacin, the organic compound also known as vitamin B3.

February 9, 2014 Nearly 9M pounds of meat recalled after diseased animals processed

United Press International - WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Rancho Feeding Corp. of Petaluma, Calif., is recalling nearly 9 million pounds of meat because it processed diseased and unsound animals, officials said. The company is...

February 7, 2014 Americans want more food safety oversight

Source: Pork Network

Results of a recent Harris Poll of 2,236 adults show that the majority of the U.S. adults in the survey are concerned about food recalls, and believe there should be more government oversight in regard to food safety. According...

February 7, 2014 FDA Issues Revised Safety Requirements For Infant Formula

Source: HNGN

The U.S. Food And Drugs Administration released a new set of rules to regulate standards in manufacturing of infant formula. The revised rule sets standards for manufacturers of infant formula in the United States, according to...

February 6, 2014 Will the World Really Be Meatless by 2050' - This is good news for the economy but not necessarily good for many other sectors of life ... The livestock sector occupies around 30 percent of the planetâs ice-free terrestrial surface and contributes...

February 6, 2014 Is Country-of-Origin Labeling a Food Safety Issue' - A survey conducted by the îConsumer Federation of Americaî that found 90 percent of Americans favored requiring a label with the country of origin on meat, and 87 percent favored requiring where...

February 2, 2014 USDA Inspection Leads to Meat Recall

WTWO NewsChannel 2 Terre Haute - Colorado company House of Smoke is recalling 144,000 pounds of meat and poultry products, including bratwursts and sausages. The USDA's îFood Safety and Inspection Serviceî says...

January 30, 2014 East China regions halt live poultry trade after new H7N9 cases, 19 deaths logged this year

The Republic - So far this year, the virus has killed 19 people in China out of 96 infections, Feng Zijian, the deputy director of the Chinese îCenter for Disease Controlî and Prevention said Monday, according to...

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