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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

November 19, 2018 Most significant food safety change in 25 years?

Source: FeedStuffs

Most of us call it the Jack in the Box outbreak, the one that sickened 723 victims, most of them under 10 years of age. Four kids died and 178 persons were left with permanent kidney and/or brain damage.

November 19, 2018 99,000 pounds of beef recalled for E. coli by company related to big salmonella recall

Source: Miami Herald

An investigation of E. coli found in beef led to a small recall Friday of 532 pounds by Majestic Meat, then Saturday’s recall of 99,260 pounds of beef by Majestic’s supplier, Swift Beef.

November 16, 2018 Thanksgiving turkey this year might come with a side of food poisoning

Source: Quartz

One person is dead and at least 164 people have fallen ill in the US in connection with a salmonella outbreak in turkey products spanning 35 states.The outbreak was first detected last November. It is particularly ill-timed as...

November 14, 2018 Tommorow's population will be larger, heavier and eat more

Source: Phys.org

An average person in the future will require more food than today. Changes in eating habits, attitudes toward food waste, increases in height and body mass, and demographic transitions are some of the reasons.

November 9, 2018 'Eat Less Meat Or Pay The Environmental And Human Price', Says UN

Source: Plantbased News

Meat production is one of the most destructive ways we leave our footprint on the planet, according to a new article by the UN.

November 7, 2018 Duncan Hines Recalls 4 Types Of Cake Mix Amid Salmonella Outbreak Investigation

Source: Huff Post

The Food and Drug Administration announced on Monday that it was working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate a positive finding of salmonella discovered in a sample of the brand’s Classic White cake...

November 6, 2018 Food Safety: Get Back to Basics

Source: Convenience Store Decisions

in 1993, Jack in the Box had a huge E.coli crisis. They inadvertently served undercooked hamburgers; 700 individuals became ill, 171 were hospitalized and four died. This tragic outbreak put food safety on the map. Since then,...

October 26, 2018 5 Major Crops In The Crosshairs Of Climate Change

Source: NPR

Climate change is coming like a freight train, or a rising tide. And our food, so dependent on rain and suitable temperatures, sits right in its path. The plants that nourish us won't disappear entirely. But they may have to move...

October 26, 2018 Herbicide found in Cheerios reignites debate on food safety

Source: StarTribune

A national environmental research and advocacy group Wednesday issued a second report documenting traces of herbicides like Roundup in popular oat cereals such as Cheerios, saying that its presence in food creates an unnecessary...

October 26, 2018 Local businesses trying to stay afloat amid water crisis

Source: Austin Statesman

There was no fresh lettuce or tomatoes for burgers, no lemonade or tea, no ice and no salads — but Hoover Alexander’s restaurant on Manor Road still opened for lunch as scheduled a few hours after Austin issued its official boil...

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