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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 4, 2020 Our food system, is it sustainable?

Source: Forest News

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed flaws in our global food system, demonstrating how vulnerable it is to unexpected shocks. While there is an emphasis on the production of food staples, including wheat, maize and rice, to meet...

June 3, 2020 From the ground up: Sustainable agriculture starts with soil

Source: Omaha World Herald

In fact, “dirt” is really just the stuff that accidentally gets transported into the house on your shoes. Soil, on the other hand, is the ecosystem of nutrients and living organisms that exists beneath our feet.

June 3, 2020 Tyson Foods CEO: Sustainability Commitments 'Are Unwavering' Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Source: Vending Market News

Tyson Foods’ commitments to help build a more safe, environmentally sound and sustainable food system represent a key element of the company's broader vision to raise the world's expectations for how much good food can do. Its...

June 2, 2020 Corteva Agriscience Announces 2030 Sustainability Goals to Increase Agricultural Resiliency

Source: Yahoo Finance

WILMINGTON-- Corteva Agriscience announced today its 10-year commitments to advance sustainability throughout the global food system. The goals span a wide range of initiatives for farmers, the land, communities where employees...

June 1, 2020 In the Amazon, a farmer practices the future of sustainable cattle ranching

Source: Mongabay

A cattle farmer in Tefé, Brazil, has turned his ranch into a new standard for ranching in the forest — one that’s more profitable and more productive, while using less land.

May 28, 2020 Sustainable Bluefin Tuna? Not So Fast.

Source: Hakai Magazine

Buying fish with a clear conscience isn’t easy these days. The ocean is so depleted and the demand so high that only half of the world’s seafood comes from the wild.

May 28, 2020 Banana sector embracing sustainability

Source: Eurofruit

Banana producers are increasing their use of voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) in order to tackle the main sustainability challenges affecting the sector, according to a report from the International Institute for...

May 27, 2020 Innovation Is an Imperative – for Sustainable Food Systems

Source: IPS News Service

ROME, Italy - Hunger and food insecurity continue to rise. The official 2019 statistics refer to 821 million people suffering from hunger all over the world. According the recently launched Global Report on Food Crises,

May 26, 2020 Wine List: The top sustainable wines to buy right now

Source: Irish Examiner

There is just one universally heard buzz word in the wine world these days and that is ‘sustainability’. I think I first heard the Australians and Chileans talking about it (e.g. Santa Rita), but these days even the French are at...

May 22, 2020 Cargill Says that Half of Sustainable Cocoa Beans Now Traceable

Source: Environmental & Energy Leader

Cargill reported that 50% of the sustainable cocoa beans in its global direct supply chain are now traceable from farm to factory. The food, agriculture, nutrition, and risk management corporation says that it used several types...

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