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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

March 28, 2019 Monsanto Loses Roundup Cancer Trial to the Tune of $80 Million

Source: Gizmodo

A federal jury in California has awarded $80 million to a man who said Monsanto herbicide Roundup was a “substantial factor” in him developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, CNN reported on Wednesday. It’s a major blow to the chemical...

March 27, 2019 Bees: Many British pollinating insects in decline, study shows

Source: BBC

A third of British wild bees and hoverflies are in decline, according to a new study. If current trends continue, some species will be lost from Britain altogether, the scientists say.

March 27, 2019 Non-organic kale one of the ‘dirtiest’ vegetables with high pesticide residue contamination, report says

Source: Mass Live

According to the Environmental Working Group, conventionally grown kale has the third-most pesticide residue of produce found at the grocery store. On Wednesday, the health advocacy group released its annual "Dirty Dozen" list of...

March 27, 2019 To Curb Kids' Sugary Drink Habits, Pediatricians Now Call For Soda Taxes

Source: NPR

Now, the nation's leading group of kids' doctors, the American Academy of Pediatrics, together with the American Heart Association, has endorsed a range of strategies designed to curb children's consumption — including taxes on...

March 25, 2019 Cereals, Beers and Other Food Contain Weed Killer Chemical – What Does It Do to Your Body?

Source: The Epoch Times

Growing research show that glyphosate, one of the most widely used weed killers in the world, can cause cancer. This week a federal jury in San Francisco ruled that agrochemical company Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weed killer...

March 20, 2019 Kale joins list of ‘dirty dozen’ fruits and vegetables most likely to contain pesticides

Source: MarketWatch

Kale ranked as a third-worst fruit or vegetable behind strawberries and spinach when it comes to pesticide contamination, according to the Environmental Working Group’s annual “Dirty Dozen” report. Over 92% of kale samples were...

March 20, 2019 Can sustainable agriculture survive under capitalism?

Source: The Week

Wealthy, educated, and cultured — and with a deep ideological commitment to sustainability — these formerly urban dwellers have migrated to rural areas, where they've been able to use savings and inheritances to purchase small...

March 19, 2019 Sugary drinks linked to increased risk of death, study suggests

Source: USA Today

A study published Monday in the American Heart Association journal Circulation found an association between people who consume sugary drinks and an increased risk of death. The observational study found adults who consumed more...

March 19, 2019 Tyson Foods and cloud-based tech: The next frontier for reaching sustainability goals

Source: EDF.org

Tyson Foods – the largest meat producer in the United States and exporter of food to more than 100 nations – is stepping up in a new area: cloud-based insights that can benefit the environment, farm finances and Tyson's...

March 18, 2019 1 million pounds of pork seized at US border amid deadly Chinese outbreak

Source: Fox News

U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized around 1 million pounds of pork at the Newark Port or Entry on Friday, in what authorities are calling the largest agricultural bust in U.S. history.

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