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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

April 1, 2020 Do You Really Have to Disinfect All Groceries Now? An Expert Explains

Source: Science Alert

There is no evidence currently that COVID-19 is transmitted by food. The biggest risk when it comes to COVID-19 and groceries is being around other people in the grocery store while you are shopping.

April 1, 2020 Coronavirus hits sustainable aquaculture

Source: China Dialogue

Tilapia are now mature enough to process in China, but Covid-19 has delayed orders from major importing nations

March 30, 2020 Next-generation GMO crops poised to make major contributions to sustainable farming and medicine

Source: Genetic Literary Project

Transgenic crops have been planted in different countries for over twenty years, starting from 1996. About 191.7 million hectares were planted in 2018 to transgenic crops with high market value, such as herbicide tolerant...

March 26, 2020 How to Make More Sustainable Food Choices


If you’re worried about climate change, one of the best ways to have an impact is to pay attention to what’s on your plate. Here are some simple things you can start doing today that really can make a difference.

March 24, 2020 A Cycle of Sustainability

Source: AG WEB

A focus on sustainability is not new for the Crave family of south-central Wisconsin. In fact, Mark Crave will tell you “what’s new in conservation was once old.” At Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics, a combination of new science...

March 20, 2020 Report claims UK supermarkets failing in fish sustainability responsibilities

Source: New Food Magazine

UK shoppers are unknowingly consuming 2.5x more fish than they think, according to a new report which ranked the top 10 UK supermarkets according to the sustainability of the farmed seafood that they sell.

March 20, 2020 Cargill partners with Imaflora to support sustainable cocoa farming in Brazil

Source: Food Beverage

Cargill has partnered with non-profit organisation Imaflora to implement two projects which aim to support the production of sustainable cocoa in Pará, Brazil.

March 19, 2020 Natural product packaging: Finding a balance between presentation and sustainability

Source: Nutritional Outlook

Presentation is everything when one considers how crowded the natural products marketplace is. Brands have to stand out both on the shelves, and on a screen as someone scrolls on their computer, tablet, or smart phone. Therefore,...

March 19, 2020 Higher welfare chicken more sustainable? RSPCA backs fresh research

Source: Food Navigator

A new study reveals that producing meat from slower-growing chickens – as opposed to fast-growing breeds – can ‘significantly’ reduce mortality and culling.

March 17, 2020 McDonald’s, citing coronavirus outbreak, closes its dining rooms, asks franchisees to do same

Source: Fox News

Fast food giant McDonald’s is the latest American business to take drastic action to curb the coronavirus epidemic, according to a report.

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