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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

September 24, 2019 Dairy industry unites in Sustainable Dairy Partnership for global change

Source: Food Beverage Media

Influential figures in the dairy industry have offered their support to the newly-formed Sustainable Dairy Partnership (SDP) as part of its efforts to drive change towards a more sustainable dairy industry. The announcement took...

September 19, 2019 More than half of adults report noticing operators using more sustainable practices

Source: Catering Insight

Over half of adults who ordered restaurant take-out or delivery in the past 30 days report that the restaurant they ordered from had earth-friendly practices, according to new research from The NPD Group.

September 18, 2019 Sonoma winegrowers reach 99% sustainability designation

Source: Capital Press

Not only have the more than 1,800 members reached 99% certified sustainable vineyards, but they will build on their sustainability leadership by becoming the first wine region to participate in California's pilot Climate First...

September 18, 2019 Clean labels and the sustainability agenda: Does the drive for natural food hurt nature?

Source: Food Navigator

Consumer interest in clean label or natural ingredients continues to rise. However, given our finite natural resources, is this inhibiting the development of products that could be better for the environment?

September 10, 2019 The World Wastes Tons of Food. A Grocery ‘Happy Hour’ Is One Answer.

Source: New York Times

About one-third of the food produced and packaged for human consumption is lost or wasted, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. That equals 1.3 billion tons a year, worth nearly $680 billion....

September 5, 2019 Sugar-free diet sodas linked to higher risk of death

Source: Yahoo

While several studies have already shown the health risks of drinking sugary beverages (from weight gain to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease), a new study of nearly 452,000 people found that even sugar-free diet sodas...

August 22, 2019 Is the 2020 Olympics an Opportunity for Japan to Tackle Seafood Sustainability?

Source: EcoWatch

Following the Olympics' focus on sustainable food in Rio and London, Japan is under pressure to provide eco-friendly seafood to the huge numbers of visitors expected in Tokyo for the 2020 games.

August 19, 2019 How Portugal Became the Epicenter of Sustainability for the Wine Industry

Source: Fortune

While climate change is affecting every industry across the globe, the agricultural sector—wine in particular—is reeling from it. Wine growers constantly face new adversaries in the vineyard—such as hailstorms, heat waves, and...

August 13, 2019 Neo-Intellectual Zombie-ism And Why A Sustainable Diet Is Not Always What You Think

Source: Forbes

It is a well-known fact that the impact of unsustainable and unhealthy dietary practices will exacerbate pressure on the planet and its people— especially with projected population growth to about 10 billion by 2050 and given the...

August 13, 2019 Kroger Reduced Food Waste Footprint in Supermarkets by 9% Last Year, Marking Another Measurable Action to Create a More Sustainable Future

Source: Yahoo

The Kroger Co. (KR) today announced the company's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste efforts reduced its supermarket food waste footprint – the overall food waste it produced – by 9% in 2018, creating measurable improvements in its retail...

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