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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

August 12, 2019 Vegan food's sustainability claims need to give the full picture

Source: Phys.org

The IPCC special report, Climate Change and Land, released last night, has found a third of the world's greenhouse gas emissions come from the "land": largely farming, food production, land clearing and deforestation.

August 9, 2019 Sustainable cocoa: Tradin Organic’s inaugural report highlights need to “elevate transparency”

Source: Food Ingredients First

Tradin Organic has released its first cocoa sustainability report, which summarizes the Netherlands-based ingredient provider’s past milestones and plans for the future. The five primary aspects the company addresses are...

August 9, 2019 To Slow Global Warming, U.N. Warns Agriculture Must Change

Source: NPR

Humans must drastically alter food production to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming, according to a new report from the United Nations panel on climate change.

August 9, 2019 Kraft Heinz's nightmare is far from over

Source: CNN Business

Kraft Heinz is a company in crisis. It spent the first half of 2019 embroiled in an accounting scandal. Its CEO resigned. And its sales are in a massive slump as people search for healthier, less-processed foods.

August 5, 2019 We must change food production to save the world, says leaked report

Source: The Guardian

Attempts to solve the climate crisis by cutting carbon emissions from only cars, factories and power plants are doomed to failure, scientists will warn this week.

August 2, 2019 How big data can boost agricultural growth

Source: Down To Earth

In agriculture, big data is often viewed as a combination of technology and analytics that can collect and compile novel data and process it in a more useful and timely way to assist decision making.

July 31, 2019 Tainted bottled water is being sold at supermarkets throughout New England

Source: Boston.com

Nearly a month after spring water from a Haverhill company was found tainted with toxic chemicals, its gallon-sized jugs are still stocked on supermarket shelves across New England, despite a health advisory from state health...

July 31, 2019 Pigs at Michigan fair test positive for swine flu: health officials

Source: Fox News

Officials with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development first noticed pigs at the Fowlerville Family Fair showing signs of sickness on July 25. The next day, the pigs were confirmed to have swine flu,...

July 26, 2019 Consumer engagement in sustainability is ‘low’: Can an accessible story buck the trend?

Source: FoodNavigator

New research from Lumina Intelligence concludes that consumer engagement with sustainability claims is currently ‘low’. But mission-based brands supporting a clear cause could point the way to reversing this trend.

July 24, 2019 Krispy Kreme is redesigning its stores for the first time in a decade and making its menu even more sugary

Source: CNN

New York (CNN Business)Sugar might be falling out of favor, but it's the centerpiece of a makeover of Krispy Kreme that includes a new menu and its first store redesign in a decade.

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