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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

February 19, 2020 Fresh Del Monte Produce appoints first Chief Sustainability Officer

Source: Fresh Plaza

Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. has appointed Hans Sauter as the Company’s first Chief Sustainability Officer. Under Sauter’s leadership, Fresh Del Monte Produce will continue its efforts to focus heavily on sustainability...

February 6, 2020 Michelin Is Now Noting Which Restaurants Are ‘Sustainable’

Source: Eater

...the sustainability clover, which highlights chefs and restaurants “who have taken responsibility by preserving resources and embracing biodiversity, reducing food waste and reducing the consumption of non-renewable energy.”...

February 6, 2020 Gulf of Alaska cod to lose sustainability certification by March, MSC confirms

Source: Seafood Source

Pacific cod from the Gulf of Alaska is expected to lose its Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainability certification in the coming months due to a decline in the stock, according to the organization

January 31, 2020 Changing Tides — How Breweries are Combating Water Shortages and Working Towards Sustainability

Source: Good Beer Hunting

Water is both beer's primary ingredient (on average, 90-95% of what’s in your glass) and its largest waste byproduct. And in the future, it may also become the beer industry’s greatest liability.

January 30, 2020 Sainsbury’s net zero pledge: EU retailers ramping up the pressure for sustainable food system transition

Source: Food Navigator

Sainsbury’s is investing to make its operations carbon neutral by 2040. The news comes as further evidence that sustainability is an important issue for the food industry’s European retail customers and consumers, contributing to...

January 29, 2020 Taco Bell Puts Sustainable Packaging to the Test: Q&A with Missy Schaaphok

Source: Environmental Leader

Taco Bell just set a target of making all consumer-facing packaging recyclable, compostable, or reusable worldwide by 2025. The transition won’t be a small one. In the United States alone, the company has more than 7,000...

January 29, 2020 What is Sustainability in the Beef Value Chain? - audio

Source: Southeast Ag Net

The term “sustainable” may mean different things regarding different aspects of the beef value chain, so how can there be some common understanding reached? Rod Bain has the story.

January 29, 2020 California Giant collaborates on sustainability

Source: The Packer

California Giant partnered with Measure to Improve in January 2019 to advance its agenda to become a True Zero Waste Certified company, according to a news release.

January 29, 2020 Del Monte pineapple tags highlight sustainability projects

Source: The Packer

Del Monte Fresh Produce North America Inc., Coral Gables, is introducing pineapple tags to highlight sustainability efforts.

January 28, 2020 EcoFish’s Henry Lovejoy saw the promise in sustainable seafood decades ago

Source: Seafood Source

Sustainability has become one of the major issues moving forward for the global seafood industry, and that is very exciting. When EcoFish started in 1999, no one knew what “sustainable seafood” was, as it was not yet defined. The...

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