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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

January 20, 2020 4 hacks to boost food sustainability in the grocery aisle

Source: Invers

How does your grocery shopping affect the planet? Well, think of it like this — consuming just one egg emits between 260 and 330g of CO? to the atmosphere.

January 17, 2020 13 BREAKTHROUGH TECHNOLOGIES SUPPORT SUSTAINABLE, EFFICIENT LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY

Source: Successful Farming

As consumers continue to demand better animal welfare and improved sustainability across the livestock sector, new innovations are emerging that enable producers to monitor herd health in real time, prevent disease outbreaks, and...

January 16, 2020 Regenerative Agriculture: Not Just for Beef Anymore

Source: Sustainable Brands

Regenerative agriculture is a system of producing food that supports the improvement of soil health over time while removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In 2019, consumer awareness of regenerative ag grew exponentially

January 14, 2020 Trade war: China to make huge purchases of US goods as details of phase one deal revealed

Source: South China Morning Post

The trade deal to be signed this week will include pledges by China to buy US$200 billion of US goods over two years in four industries, a Trump administration official and two other sources briefed on the matter said.

January 13, 2020 Environmental sustainability taken ‘hostage by hype’ – ICMSA

Source: Farmers' Journal

Diet and environmental sustainability has effectively been taken hostage by the hype around campaigns aimed at switching consumers from red meat and dairy-based diets to synthetic substitutes, ICMSA president Pat McCormack has...

January 10, 2020 Taco Bell Is Developing Sustainable Packaging and Making Dining Easier For Vegetarians

Source: Green Matters

he fast food chain just announced a list of commitments for the near future, including goals to make packaging more sustainable and to "celebrate vegetarian."

January 10, 2020 What's on the agenda for Sustainable Food and Nutrition in 2020?

Source: NUTRA

As we move into a new decade, the environment and the food economy are at the top of the agenda for brands and consumers. We take a look at the key insights from the recent Latin American summit on sustainable food issues with...

January 10, 2020 Demand for sustainable packaging tests snack makers’ flexibility

Source: Baking Business

As consumer knowledge of environmental concerns grows, so has the demand for sustainable products, according to the Trends and Advances in Food Packaging and Processing report, produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and...

January 10, 2020 Wawa Reaches Coffee Sustainability Goal

Source: CStore Decisions

Wawa announced that it has reached its goal of offering 100% sustainably sourced coffee through its partnership with certified coffee growers.

January 9, 2020 Mars teams with NSIP for 100% sustainable cacao supply chain

Source: FoodBev.com

Mars has committed to a 100% sustainable supply chain and has partnered with US plant analytics company, in a move to sustainably meet the high demands for cacao.

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