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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

May 16, 2019 Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat and the growth of the meatless meat market

Source: CBS

Meatless meat can taste just like the real thing, and investors are salivating over what some predict could become a $35 billion alternative meat market.

May 15, 2019 Scientists discover why grocery store tomatoes don’t taste like anything

Source: BGR

Tomato flavor, however, has apparently been going downhill for a while now, and scientists think they know why.

May 14, 2019 Exclusive: Impossible Foods raises $300 million with investors eager for bite of meatless burgers

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - Impossible Foods, which makes a meatless plant-based burger and is backed by celebrities like Serena Williams and Katy Perry, said on Monday it has raised $300 million in the latest round of funding ahead of a...

May 14, 2019 Jury awards couple $2 billion in Monsanto Roundup cancer lawsuit trial

Source: CBS News

A jury in Oakland, California, has awarded a couple $2 billion in punitive damages after concluding that sustained exposure to Monsanto Co.'s popular Roundup weed killer led to their cancer diagnoses. The couple will receive an...

May 7, 2019 Walmart names global food safety VP

Source: Supermarket News

Land O’Lakes executive Sara Mortimore has joined Walmart as vice president of global food safety compliance.

May 5, 2019 Tyson recalls nearly 12M pounds of chicken

Source: CBS News on MSN.com

The company is expanding upon a prior recall of more than 69,000 pounds of chicken strips in March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a statement. The agency investigated the issue...

May 3, 2019 Chinese-led supply constraints to drive global seafood prices up by 25 percent

Source: SeafoodSource

anticipates the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In 2016, total fish production reached an all-time high of 171 million metric tons (MT), with wild-capture fisheries and aquaculture providing 53...

April 29, 2019 China’s unprecedented pig crisis to impact entire world, expert warns

Source: Independent(UK)

The commodities economist has been warning clients about the impact of African swine fever, which he says is not only under-reported but will spur a restructure of China’s entire farm industry and trigger an escalation in meat...

April 26, 2019 Everything You Need To Know About Cat Food Recalls

Source: CATOLOGICAL

Cat food recalls are serious occurrences which have an impact on both cat food manufacturers and cat owners. As a cat parents, failing to understand the issues around cat food recalls can have serious consequences, including the...

April 26, 2019 Chicken is often the culprit in U.S. food poisoning cases, according to CDC report

Source: NBC NEWS

As recent illnesses tied to raw turkey, ground beef, cut melon and romaine lettuce suggest, U.S. food poisoning cases don’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

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