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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

January 21, 2021 Pandemic push for sustainability

Source: Euro Fruit

For organic suppliers like SunFresh Produce, sales have accelerated since the start of the crisis, as consumers seek out brands they can trust

January 21, 2021 This light show in a field isn’t just pretty – it’s helping grow crops with less need for pesticides

Source: World Economic Forum

A 20,000-square-metre artwork that sees coloured lights appear to dance over a field at night is said to encourage crop growth – and is highlighting the importance of innovation in creating sustainable agriculture.

January 19, 2021 Bill Gates, Sustainable Agriculture Champion, Is America's Biggest Farmland Owner

Source: Newsweek

Billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates owns 242,000 acres of farmland, making him America's biggest farmland owner. His investment in farming may be connected to his investments in climate change agricultural...

January 15, 2021 Little evidence coffee companies' sustainability efforts have impact: report

Source: Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - There is little evidence efforts by the world’s top coffee roasters and traders to prevent human rights and environmental abuses are having any impact, with most farmers operating at a loss and unable to...

January 15, 2021 On Country Crock And Origin Stories: How Mature Brands Integrate Sustainability Into Their Strategy

Source: Forbes

Our goal was to make the brand relevant to today's consumer. To make them think that this is something that they should be using because they feel really good about the product.

January 15, 2021 Former Michigan governor and 8 others face charges in the Flint water crisis that left 12 people dead

Source: CNN

Twelve people died and more than 80 were sickened during the Flint water crisis, and now authorities are holding Michigan officials responsible. In a news conference Thursday, prosecutors announced charges against nine officials...

January 14, 2021 Editorial: Let’s call it stewardship, Not Sustainability

Source: Hoards Dairyman

Many of us pride ourselves in owning and operating multigenerational businesses. It’s our goal to run a thriving enterprise to financially support our families in the near-term and to be outstanding caretakers over the long haul...

January 14, 2021 Bühler partners with German Institute of Food Technologies, exploring sustainable ranges

Source: Confectionery Production

Swiss-based Bühler industry technology and solutions group has agreed a key partnership with the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL) for work on product ranges including sustainable ranges with confectionery and snacks...

January 14, 2021 Humans Face a “Ghastly Future” Unless Extraordinary Action Is Taken Soon on Sustainability

Source: Sci Tech Daily

Without immediate and drastic intervention, humans face a “ghastly future” — including declining health, climate devastation, tens of millions of environmental migrants and more pandemics — in the next several decades, according...

January 12, 2021 Making palm oil more sustainable

Source: Bangkok Post

Palm oil has long been a major economic backbone of Southeast Asian economies, notably Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. But the undeniable environmental impact of extensive deforestation, haze and forest fires caused by oil palm...

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