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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

June 10, 2019 What is the world drinking? Study reveals global intake of major beverages

Source: Medical Express

The beverages we drink represent a substantial source of our daily calories and nutrients, yet standardized methods for tracking beverage consumption have been limited. In the latest and most comprehensive assessment of worldwide...

June 10, 2019 Tyson Foods recalls more than 190K pounds of chicken fritters sold to schools, other institutions

Source: Fox News

Tyson Foods recalled Opens a New Window. more than 190,000 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken fritters Opens a New Window. because some may contain hard plastic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection...

June 7, 2019 Walmart employees will soon deliver groceries directly into your fridge

Source: The Verge

Starting this fall in the US, Walmart customers in select cities can choose to have their groceries delivered directly into their refrigerators when away from home. The InHome service will use Walmart vehicles and its own workers...

May 31, 2019 The US drinking water supply is mostly safe, but that’s not good enough

Source: The Conversation

Most Americans take clean drinking water for granted as a convenience of modern life. The United States has one of the world’s safest drinking water supplies, but new challenges constantly emerge

May 30, 2019 Europe’s food sector shows highest growth of sustainable product sales

Source: Food Navigator

Food retailers in France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands are finding growing consumer demand for sustainably sourced products, according to a survey of over 1,800 companies in the five countries by the International Trade...

May 21, 2019 Little Caesars is the first national pizza chain to jump on the vegan meat bandwagon

Source: Business Insider

Little Caesars is the first national pizza chain to add a meat substitute to the menu. On Monday, the pizza chain announced that it is testing the Impossible Supreme Pizza, made with plant-based sausage from Impossible Foods, in...

May 21, 2019 U.S. CORN PLANTING IS WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY BEHIND, USDA SAYS

Source: Successful Agriculture

DES MOINES, Iowa — U.S. corn farmers have the most corn acres left to plant, on this date, than they have ever had and remain behind the trade’s expectations, as well.

May 20, 2019 There's even more evidence drinking juice raises your risk of death — and it's easy to see why

Source: Insider

Drinking fruit juice may seem like a tasty way to stay healthy, but science suggests that fruit juice could actually be out to harm us if consumed over a lifetime.

May 20, 2019 Healthy food is everywhere, but we're eating more junk

Source: The Fayetteville Observer

Popular authors and documentarians like Robert Kenner, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser and Morgan Spurlock have delivered such news before. What Wilson brings to the table is a big-picture global synthesis. She explains how a...

May 17, 2019 Processed Foods Do Indeed Cause Weight Gain, According To New Study

Source: Mind Body Green

At the end of the two weeks, those in the processed diet group consumed 500 more calories a day on average, mostly in the form of carbs and fat.

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