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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 8, 2020 Conscious indulgence: Highly sustainable macadamia nut market forecast for growth

Source: Food Ingredients First

Macadamia trees have inherently sustainable characteristics and may guide the adoption of sustainable on-farm practices. This is according to Australian macadamia growers who are using scientific research to optimize sustainable...

May 6, 2020 Three Ways to Support a Healthy Food System During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Source: EcoWatch

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe, it has exposed and exacerbated how the corporate, industrialized food system is harming people and our planet.

May 4, 2020 Focused on a more sustainable, equitable food system for all

Source: San Diego Union Tribune

The alliance is a network for more than 100 organizations that work together to collaborate on how to change the current food system into one that is healthy, sustainable and equitable by influencing policy, providing education,...

May 4, 2020 WRI & Cargill Partner On Tools & Best Practices To Advance Sustainable Agriculture

Source: Clean Technica

o help businesses achieve the sustainability efforts needed to feed a rapidly growing population, Cargill is contributing $2 million USD to the next phase of its partnership with World Resources Institute (WRI).

April 30, 2020 10 promising sustainable food startups to watch in 2020

Source: EU Startups

From online marketplaces to delivery apps and fake meat, here are the food startups working to benefit the health of the people and the planet.

April 29, 2020 Trump to order meat processing plants to stay open

Source: CNN

Washington - President Donald Trump is expected to sign a five-page executive order under the Defense Production Act to compel meat processing plants to remain open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

April 28, 2020 No alternative to sustainable agriculture: how community-supported farms show the way to food security in an uncertain world

Source: Open Democracy

The Covid-19 crisis is the biggest test in decades of our preparedness for a planetary disaster. As it turns out, it only took a few weeks to expose the vulnerability and deep-seated fragility of our economic and political...

April 28, 2020 Digital agriculture paves the road to agricultural sustainability

Source: The Cattle Site

US - In a study, an ecosystem scientist and an agricultural economist outline how to develop a more sustainable land management system through data collection and stakeholder buy-in.

April 27, 2020 Aquaponics Presents A New Way To Grow Sustainable Fish And Veggies

Source: Forbes

One of the newer innovations in food production is a closed-loop system called aquaponics, where fish and veggies are grown together using recirculated water.

April 24, 2020 Digital agriculture paves the road to agricultural sustainability

Source: Phys

In a study published in Nature Sustainability, an ecosystem scientist and an agricultural economist outline how to develop a more sustainable land management system through data collection and stakeholder buy-in.

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