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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 18, 2021 How Sustainable Is Your Easter Chocolate? NGOs Rank Candy Companies, From Good To Rotten

Source: Forbes

This week, the Rotten Egg Awards ranked 31 chocolate companies around the world for their performance on sustainability and human rights. And what’s clear from the ranking is that some companies are doing a far better job than...

March 18, 2021 Inside Land O’Lakes’ New Sustainable Agriculture Pilot

Source: Environmental Leader

Soon, Land O’Lakes will implement and measure sustainable agriculture practices that promote soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on one of its supplying dairy farms. The 3-year pilot effort will be one of the first to...

March 18, 2021 Delta Steps Up DE&I & Sustainability Focus With Leadership Promotions

Source: Provoke Media

ATLANTA — Doubling down on its commitment to equity and sustainability, Delta Airlines has promoted leaders in both those fields as a means of bolstering the company’s purpose-driven efforts.

March 18, 2021 Advancing sustainable agriculture starts at the farm

Source: GreenBiz

the recent Future of Food and Farming study found more than 90 percent of millennial farmers and consumers believe farming must change to meet the demands of the future, and farmers must adopt innovative new technologies and...

March 17, 2021 BASF strengthens innovation pipeline for sustainable agriculture

Source: Ohio Country Journal

BASF strengthens its activities in research and development (R&D) for sustainable agricultural innovations to continue helping farmers to overcome environmental and economic challenges as well as meeting consumers’ demand for...

March 16, 2021 Growing food and protecting nature can work together. Here's how

Source: World Economic Forum

Growing food in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way – while also producing enough of it – is among the most important challenges facing the U.S. and the world today. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that food...

March 16, 2021 Sustainability in Agriculture

Source: Farm Bureau

America’s farmers and ranchers are leading the way in climate-smart practices that reduce emissions, enrich the soil and protect our water and air, all while producing more food, fiber and renewable fuel than ever before. U.S....

March 12, 2021 Aldi adopts new sustainability charter

Source: Supermarket News

Hard discount grocer Aldi has enacted a new sustainability charter to lower emission of greenhouse gases, cut food and operational waste, improve packaging and source responsibly — while maintaining accessible and affordable food...

March 11, 2021 Choosing Sustainability Over Steak? Think Again (And Fire Up the Grill)

Source: MSL St. Paul

Despite misperceptions about beef—and there are many—it would be hard to create a more sustainable, nutrient-rich, and naturally delicious meal than a sizzling steak alongside a bounty of garlicky roasted vegetables. Or carne...

March 10, 2021 Two major companies announce new AgWater Challenge Commitments to improve water stewardship and sustainable agriculture practices on more than 1 million total acres of agricultural land

Source: Yahoo Finance

Two major agricultural giants, representing 12 billion USD in annual revenue, announced new commitments to improve water stewardship as part of the Ceres and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) AgWater Challenge. They include Danone North...

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