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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 19, 2018 Lactalis' contaminated baby food, a global scandal?Source: DW
French firm Lactalis is recalling 12 million baby food items globally following a major scandal. There are growing fears that more infants could get infected with salmonella, not only in France. Lisa Louis reports.
January 10, 2018 Climate change drives collapse in marine food websSource: Phys.org
A new study has found that levels of commercial fish stocks could be harmed as rising sea temperatures affect their source of food.
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January 5, 2018 Lettuce suspected in deadly US E. coli outbreakSource: CNN
An outbreak of E. coli made 17 people ill and killed one person across the United States between November 15 and December 8, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though the source of infection is still...
January 4, 2018 Food-safety expert warns latest bizarre Silicon Valley $60 'raw water' trend could quickly turn deadlySource: Business Insider
According to The Times, demand for unfiltered water is skyrocketing as tech-industry insiders develop a taste for water that hasn't been treated, to prevent the spread of bacteria or other contaminants.
January 2, 2018 Chocolate is on track to go extinct in 40 yearsSource: Evening Standard
Beyond the glittery glass-and-sandstone walls of the University of California’s new biosciences building, rows of tiny green cacao seedlings in refrigerated greenhouses await judgment day.
December 28, 2017 Inspector general: FDA doesn't recall tainted foods quickly enoughSource: UPI
The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services issued a report Tuesday, after examining 30 of 1,557 food recalls between 2012 and 2015 and found the FDA didn't always evaluate health hazards and issue...
Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill fell more than 3 percent on Wednesday after reports surfaced that the fast-casual chain's food safety woes are still not behind it.
December 8, 2017 Editorial: Water woes are a clear health crisisSource: Stuff
EDITORIAL: Clean drinking water is a basic expectation in a prosperous, first-world country like New Zealand. This makes it astonishing that as many as one in five of us could get sick from the simple act of drinking from the...
December 5, 2017 A Food Fight Has Broken Out Between The USDA And FDASource: Five Thirty Eight
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration are in a rare public dust-up concerning oversight of an obscure group that helps determine international food standards. T
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