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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

July 23, 2019 Understanding the drivers of a shift to sustainable diets

Source: Phys.org

One of the 21st century's greatest challenges is to develop diets that are both sustainable for the planet and good for our bodies.

July 19, 2019 The Rise of Coffee Shaming

Source: The Atlantic

Millennials make up less than a quarter of the overall U.S. population, but in 2016, they drank an estimated 44 percent of the nation’s coffee.

July 11, 2019 A small glass of juice or soda a day is linked to increased risk of cancer, study finds

Source: CNN

A new study has linked drinking just a small glass of a sugary drink per day -- 100 ml, about a third of a typical can of soda -- to an 18% increase in overall cancer risk and a 22% increase in risk for breast cancer.

July 10, 2019 San Diego’s heartbreaking experience is a warning for fairs to come in 2019

Source: Food Safety News

The operators of the fair are “heartbroken” by the June 24 death of 2-year-old Jedidiah King Cabezuela and are continuing to count other E. coli victims. Two were added to the toll by county health officials after the San Diego...

July 10, 2019 New Coke Didn’t Fail. It Was Murdered.

Source: Mother Jones

For more than three decades, New Coke has been held up as the bad idea by which all other bad ideas are measured. Do a quick Google search for “the worst idea since New Coke” and you’ll find an encyclopedia of face-palms....

July 10, 2019 Environment pollution: Water firms' protection efforts 'unacceptable' (UK)

Source: BBC

Environment Agency chairwoman Emma Howard Boyd said: "There's no getting away from the fact that performance in 2018 was simply unacceptable." She said the agency would "toughen" its regulation and inspections, with a focus on...

July 9, 2019 Most dietary supplements do not protect against heart attack and stroke

Source: NBC

Most dietary supplements do nothing to protect against heart attacks, stroke or deaths from heart disease, and some may even cause harm, according to a newpaper published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

June 25, 2019 McDonald's started using fresh meat. Here's what happened to sales

Last year, the burger chain switched to fresh beef quarter-pound burgers from frozen at most of its stores in the contiguous United States. That change has led to a 30% spike in sales of quarter pounders on average over the past...

June 14, 2019 What you need to know about glyphosate, the cancer-linked chemical found in Cheerios

Source: CBS News

New tests reveal popular cereals and snack foods could have potentially harmful levels of the same chemical found in weed killer.

June 12, 2019 Kraft introduces 'Salad Frosting' to help trick your kids into eating more vegetables

Source: CNN

Instead of simply asking kids to eat salad dressing -- or pretending the age-old condiment bears the hallmarks of a dessert staple -- Kraft Heinz has introduced "Salad Frosting," with the sweet tooth-invoking word right there on...

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