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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

June 11, 2021 Perspectives from the Food Waste Trenches

Source: Sustainable Brands

Food waste is catalyzing everyone in the food, waste and recycling industries to create new solutions and best practices to convert a negative into value for the environment and for business.

June 10, 2021 Tyson Foods announces aggressive sustainability targets

Source: National Hog Farmer

The latest, from Tyson Foods, the global protein company, sets a goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its global operations and supply chain by 2050. Tyson is the first U.S.-based protein company to have an...

June 10, 2021 ADM throws its weight behind the Genesis Consortium to support sustainability start-ups

Source: The Pig Site

ADM joins the Genesis Consortium to promote next-generation start-ups that drive advancements in sustainability, nutrition, health and wellness.

June 9, 2021 Saudi startup Red Sea Farms secures $10 million investment for sustainable agriculture

Source: KAWA News

Red Sea Farms, a Saudi Arabian start-up that has developed a solution to use salt water for irrigation in agriculture, is proud to have received one of the largest investments in the sector: $10 million in venture capital! This...

June 9, 2021 Aleph Farms’ 3D-Bioprinted, Cultivated Steak: A Sustainable Future for Meat Production?

Source: Sustainable Brands

Innovators such as Aleph Farms could change the meat industry for good: Your steak can now be grown in a lab — offering the same texture and taste of a conventional steak, without the environmental and ethical consequences.

June 9, 2021 Sustainable farming helps Salinas Valley ag industry fight drought

Source: KSBW News

So agriculture in the Salinas Valley and particularly the wine industry, we do a very good job of monitoring water use. So in virtually every one of our vineyard blocks, which we have hundreds of, we have technology built-in so...

June 9, 2021 Charting a Sustainable Course for the Blue Economy

Source: The Nation

industrial fishing fleets—heavily subsidized by China, Japan, the European Union, and other nations—are killing fish faster than they can reproduce and threatening whales, dolphins, and other critical species in the process....

June 9, 2021 "Mega-drought" takes dramatic toll on Colorado River system that provides water to 40 million people

Source: CBS News

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor Map shows large areas of the Southwest are "exceptionally dry," the worst category.

June 8, 2021 Technical, financial assistance eyed as key needs for sustainability push

Source: Agri-pulse

Stakeholders from Capitol Hill to the Corn Belt are backing a push to incorporate sustainable practices into production agriculture, but farmers will need additional know-how and monetary support to make that happen, panelists...

June 4, 2021 Kellogg partners with over 440,000 farmers in sustainability program

Source: Baking Business

The Kellogg Co. has collaborated with over 440,000 farmers in 29 countries through the Kellogg’s Origins program, a global initiative to promote climate, social and financial resiliency. The program includes partnerships to help...

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