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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

October 16, 2018 Glyphosate found in breast milk

Source: The Ecologist

Levels in urine were found to be over 10 times higher than those found in a similar survey done in the EU by Friends of the Earth Europe in 2013. [1] The initial testing that has been completed at Microbe Inotech Labs, St. Louis,...

October 16, 2018 5 ways to help fight hunger and malnutrition on World Food Day

Source: Today

Chronic hunger currently affects a staggering 821 million people around the world, according to statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Since its creation 1945, the FAO has been working...

October 15, 2018 FDA official: GMO foods 'as safe as' other foods

Source: The Hill

Michael Landa, director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the FDA, dismissed those claims Wednesday. “Based on our evaluations, we are confident that the [genetically engineered foods] in the U.S....

October 14, 2018 Why New York City’s water tastes so gross now

Source: New York Post

It’s eau de dirt. New York City’s famed tap water has taken on a strange odor and taste — described by some as wood or dirt — since the beginning of the month, and a repair project deep in ...

October 11, 2018 Food banks across the country increasingly focusing on food safety

Source: Food Safety News

We get our food from all sorts of places — grocery stores, restaurants, farms, relatives, our own gardens — and sometimes community food banks. In each and every case, food safety plays an important part in protecting us from...

October 8, 2018 FDA Bans Use of 7 Synthetic Food Additives After Environmental Groups Sue

Source: NPR

Now, the Food and Drug Administration has announced these compounds will no longer be allowed to be used as food additives. The FDA is giving manufacturers time to remove them from the food supply.

October 7, 2018 Popular sparkling water brand LaCroix sued over ‘all natural’ label

Source: NBC News

A class action lawsuit claims the drink contains synthetic components, saying some of the ingredients are also used in insecticides, despite being labeled as “all natural.” The company says the the allegations are...

October 4, 2018 1 in 3 Americans eat fast food daily – but one myth is debunked

Source: CBS News

"When we see news clips of a shark swimming near a beach, it scares us into not going near that beach," Weinandy said. But "what we should be scared of is double cheeseburgers, french fries and large amounts of sugary beverages."

September 27, 2018 McDonald’s: Most of our burgers now free from artificial preservatives, flavors, colors

Source: USA Today

The seven classic McDonald’s burgers sold in the U.S. are now free from artificial preservatives, flavors and colors, the company announced Wednesday.

September 26, 2018 Walmart, Sam's Club to put food products on blockchain

Source: Reuters

Walmart (WMT.N) and its unit Sam’s Club said on Monday leafy greens suppliers will be asked to implement real-time, farm-to-store tracking using blockchain technology by next September, as the retailer tackles food-safety...

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