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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 4, 2021 In Search of Sustainable Wine

Source: Wine Searcher

Sustainability initiatives for wineries can certainly include organic and biodynamic initiatives, but could also include, say, greener packaging or solar-powered production lines.

January 4, 2021 Sustainable online grocer introduces zero-waste delivery service

Source: Yahoo Sports

Sustainable online grocer Good Club is launching a zero-waste delivery service in a move to tackle the problem of plastic waste in food packaging.

January 4, 2021 Iowa’s farmers would benefit from Growing Climate Solutions Act

Source: DesMoines Register

It is critical that rural Iowans and farmers across the state have a seat at the table to discuss the emergence of carbon credit markets and how to grow sustainable agriculture practices.

December 18, 2020 Improving multi-sectoral ocean management to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

Source: Eureka Alert

They have shown that certain multi-sectoral mechanisms, such as marine protected areas, are the most effective in reconciling the ecological, economic and social dimensions of this SDG. These results were published in the journal...

December 17, 2020 Quality and Sustainability: Why Colombia could become the next exporting giant

Source: Euro News

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Colombia is set to become one of the world’s largest food exporters. If it succeeds, Europe will be seeing more Colombian produce on its supermarket shelves than ever...

December 17, 2020 Investing in the Future of Food: Food-tech investments target productivity, quality & sustainability

Source: Food Navigator

Pandemic-fueled consumer demand for food that is healthier, more sustainable, ethically produced and easier to access has fueled a “burst of investment” in food-tech in 2020 that Finistere Ventures predicts will have a lasting...

December 17, 2020 Turning used cooking oil into sustainable aviation fuel at DFW

Source: Airport World

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport’s environmental efforts include becoming a carbon neutral airport by 2030 and now turning used cooking oil from its F&B outlets into sustainable aviation fuel

December 16, 2020 Tips for Buying and Enjoying Sustainable Coffee

Source: Earth 911

Heading up coffee purchasing at Equator Coffees, a company focused on quality, sustainability, and social responsibility, I often field the question, “What coffee should I buy to ensure the farmers are getting a fair deal?” This...

December 15, 2020 European consumers increasingly seeking sustainable products, Cargill finds

Source: Candy Industry

European consumers look for products with sustainability credentials and are willing to pay more for brands that invest in environmental or social initiatives that align with their beliefs, new research from Cargill reveals.

December 15, 2020 Taking fish out of fish feed can make aquaculture a more sustainable food source

Source: The Conversation

Aquaculture, or fish farming, is the world’s fastest-growing food production sector. But the key ingredients in commercial fish feed – fishmeal and fish oil – come from an unsustainable source: small fish, such as anchovies and...

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