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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.


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

April 23, 2020 How to Stay Sustainable During Home Quarantine

Source: Vice

While we’re relying on prepackaged food and gadgets more than ever, limiting waste and conserving energy is still possible while stuck indoors.

April 23, 2020 Leading Harvest Sets Universal Standard for Agriculture Sustainability

Source: PR NewsWire

ARLINGTON, Va.-- Today, Earth Day, a group of forward-looking farmers, conservationists, land owners, managers and investors are launching Leading Harvest, an agriculture sustainability venture providing the first scalable,...

April 23, 2020 UN food agency chief: World could see famines of "biblical proportions" within months

Source: CBS Mews

David Beasley, director of the UN World Food Program, warned that the world is on "the brink of a hunger pandemic" as it grapples with the global coronavirus crisis. He said that without action, the world could face "multiple...

April 21, 2020 6 Ways to Make Your Coffee Routine More Sustainable

Source: Vinepair

Given climate change threatens coffee production worldwide, every effort to reduce one’s carbon footprint helps ensure a future with coffee in it; this includes buying beans from thoughtful roasters, going the manual brewing...

April 17, 2020 Europe: Ensuring a modern and sustainable agriculture sector

Source: Open Access Government

Ensuring a modern and sustainable European agriculture sector that adapts to changes in climate, demographics and technologies is the main mission of Wojciechowski’s, alongside providing affordable food for citizens and a fair...

April 17, 2020 Will Plant-Based and Sustainability Trends Survive COVID-19?

Source: Food Based Executive

In looking at the predicted food trends for 2020, plant-based and sustainability stood out as the top two. COVID-19 may change the way these trends play out, according to a report from Culinary Tides.

April 16, 2020 How Food Sustainability Is An Unintended Victim Of Coronavirus Pandemic

Source: Benzinga

Multiple food companies introduced new sustainability pledges in early 2020 that seem to have taken a backseat as clients prioritize safety and cost, according to Food Business News.

April 16, 2020 “There is no reason to sacrifice sustainability for security”

Source: Horti Daily

Demand for packaging has increased in the past few weeks as consumers increase at-home meals and feel insecure about buying bulk product that others may have touched.

April 15, 2020 COVID-19 may put sustainability concerns on the sideline

Source: Food Business News

GLADSTONE, MO. — COVID-19 has had people stockpiling groceries and seeking contactless food deliveries. Perhaps less of a concern now is taking sustainability issues into account when making food purchases.

April 14, 2020 In Groundbreaking Vote for Sustainability, EU Moves to Approve Insects for Human Consumption

Source: Good News Network

The products include things like cricket protein bars, locust aperitif, or mealworm burgers, and the new regulations from the European Food Safety Authority are likely to open the floodgates for insect food to flow from countries...

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