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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

March 12, 2020 3 SUSTAINABILITY HACKS FOR THE BACK OF THE HOUSE

Source: Restaurant Business Online

Sustainability is a hot topic among consumers and restaurant operators alike. From minimizing waste to streamlining back-of-house production processes, operators are working hard to increase their sustainability efforts—in part...

March 12, 2020 2020 Retail Seafood Review: Sustainability Remains Key Concern

Source: Progressive Grocer

According to Chicago-based Nielsen’s 2019 “Protein Proliferation” report, 19% of consumers surveyed said that they intended to increase their consumption of meat and seafood — more than any other protein group. Meanwhile, fish...

March 11, 2020 Footprint is proving that sustainability can scale

Source: Fast Company

Swope created Footprint in 2013 with Yoke Chung, a close friend and now the company’s chief technology officer, in order to tackle food packaging’s environmental and human-health problems.

March 10, 2020 What's next for sustainable single-use packaging?

Source: New Hope

In lieu of being able to update our community at Natural Products Expo West’s Climate Day this year, we thought it would be helpful to share developments on our packaging journey to a wider, albeit virtual, audience here.

March 10, 2020 Empowering Women Through Sustainable Cocoa Farming

Source: CSR Wire

In honor of International Women's Day this week, we want to highlight one of the female farmers we work with to grow cocoa for our products.

March 9, 2020 Gulf of Alaska cod losing sustainability certification label

Source: KTUU

KODIAK, Alaska - Shoppers will no longer see a blue-sticker label on Gulf of Alaska cod after its sustainability certification is suspended starting in April. The label designates which fish are sustainably caught. Alaska's...

March 6, 2020 How to Make Sense of Sustainable Wine Certifications

Source: Vinepair

Discerning consumers are increasingly aware of what they put into their bodies, and concerned about the ethical and sustainable ramifications of products they choose to buy. In the food and drinks space, this is now a mainstream...

March 2, 2020 Yara And IBM Launch Collaboration To Advance Sustainable Food Production

Source: E-3 Magazine

echnology and digital innovation have the potential to make a significant contribution towards a step-change in the sustainability, transparency, and resource efficiency of food supply.

March 2, 2020 Chemical Weed Killer Is Compatible With Sustainability Certification In California’s Wine Industry

Source: Forbes

After a recent post concerning sustainability, email arrived from people in and out of the wine business on the apparently thorny subject of glyphosate, the weed killer. Being neither expert on glyphosate nor on sustainability, a...

March 2, 2020 USRSB Recognizes Tyson Foods For Sustainability Programs

Source: Drovers

hree Tyson Foods, Inc. sustainability programs achieved recognition for alignment to the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework. The recognition applies to processing facilities under the Tyson Fresh Meats sustainability...

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