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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 18, 2019 ‘Avoid solving one problem by creating another’: Plant-based boom faces sustainability and nutrition challenges

Source: Food Navigator

Sales in plant-based foods show no sign of slowing in Europe. But booming demand raises complex issues, from the nutritional profile of formulations through to the sustainability of ingredient sourcing. “The industry needs to...

October 18, 2019 Pizza Brand Pivots to Delivery Sustainability

Source: Food on Demand

An atypical California-based pizza brand is diversifying itself beyond delivering pizzas into developing mobile delivery kitchens and new packaging to reduce the environmental impact of meal delivery.

October 15, 2019 Chocolate Makers Face Sustainability Dilemma Over Farmers’ Pay

Source: Yahoo Finance

Chocolate makers are facing an ultimatum -- either support a contentious plan to raise the pay of impoverished farmers, or risk a halt to programs that sustainability-conscious consumers increasingly demand.

October 11, 2019 Changing Your Diet Can Help Tamp Down Depression, Boost Mood

Source: NPR

There's fresh evidence that eating a healthy diet, one that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and limits highly processed foods, can help reduce symptoms of depression

October 11, 2019 Food Sustainability Tips For Businesses From A Company That Overhauled Its Practices

Source: Forbes

In a recent interview, the co-founder of PRANA snacks Marie-Josée Richer shared how her company made sustainability changes and what others can learn from the process.

October 10, 2019 The future of food is mobile, plant-based, and sustainable, experts say

Source: Geek Wire

Technology is transforming every sector of the economy, including the supply chain that gets food to our kitchen table. It’s an industry ripe for innovation as concerns about climate change grow.

October 10, 2019 Food Sustainability Tips For Businesses From A Company That Overhauled Its Practices

Source: Forbes

Consumers frequently encounter lists to help them live more eco-friendly and sustainable lives, but businesses often struggle to implement the same tips. It is easier for customers to change their shopping or eating habits than...

October 9, 2019 There’s a Huge, Angry Backlash Against Fake Meat

Source: Futurism

But not everybody is on board with veggie burgers that aren’t entirely “veggie,” as Vox reports, with critics arguing that fake meat is unhealthy and goes against the idea of consuming “whole,” GMO-free foods.

October 4, 2019 Space can solve our looming resource crisis – but the space industry itself must be sustainable

Source: The Conversation

ustralia’s space industry is set to grow into a multibillion-dollar sector that could provide tens of thousands of jobs and help replenish the dwindling stocks of precious resources on Earth. But to make sure they don’t flame out...

October 4, 2019 How can shoppers make sense of sustainable fish labels?

Source: The Guardian

Overfishing is the greatest single threat to marine life, and at least a third of the world’s key populations of fish species are currently overexploited while most of the remainder are reaching their limits. Meanwhile, climate...

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