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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
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A long list of benefits is associated with maintaining a nutritious, well-balanced diet, including added energy, weight control and a lower risk of diabetes. While many of us are aware we should eat more greens and less processed...
September 15, 2017 Poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths, global disease study reveals
Millions of people are eating the wrong sorts of food for good health. Eating a diet that is low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds and fish oils and high in salt raises the risk of an early death, according to the huge and...
September 15, 2017 EU report on weedkiller safety copied text from Monsanto studySource: The Guardian
U’s food safety watchdog recommended that glyphosate was safe but pages of report were identical to application from pesticide maker
September 7, 2017 ISIS tells its fanatics to poison food in Western supermarkets after testing the method on its prisoners in IraqSource: Daily Mail
Islamic State leaders are reportedly asking its followers to carry out terror attacks by poisoning food in Western supermarkets.
Virtually all the world's tap water is contaminated by microscopic plastic fibers, a new study claims, raising fresh concerns about the implications of rampant plastic pollution on human and planetary health.
September 1, 2017 5 lessons learned from Amazon's first week with Whole FoodsSource: Chicago Tribune
On Monday, Amazon closed on its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market — much earlier than many expected — and immediately slashed prices on staple items in a savvy bit of marketing that had been announced a few days...
August 24, 2017 McDonald's expands its move away from antibiotics in poultrySource: LA Times
McDonald’s said Wednesday that it is broadening its move away from serving chicken fed with certain antibiotics.
August 24, 2017 Dannon's yogurt pledge addresses sustainabilitySource: Wisconsin State Farmer
By promoting itself as a “public benefit corporation,” the international Danone company is advocating “sustainability” in agriculture as the basis for the ingredients in its lineup of yogurt products.
A group of leading retailers and food companies including Nestlé, Walmart and Unilever have signalled their commitment to “strengthen consumer confidence” in the foods they purchase by announcing a major blockchain collaboration...
Pork products sold by a leading British supermarket may have infected thousands of people with a form of hepatitis that can cause liver cirrhosis, according to health officials.
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