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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

December 28, 2018 What Foods Are Banned in Europe but Not Banned in the U.S.'

Source: The New York Times

Lefferts, senior scientist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a food safety advocacy organization. A 1958 amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act prohibits the Food and Drug Administration from approving food...

December 21, 2018 Food recall risks are rising

Source: Goodfruit.com

By the end of October, the federal government had ordered more than 535 recalls on fresh or processed food for a safety precaution, and the number was expected to jump higher by year’s end.

December 18, 2018 The Farm Connected To The Romaine E.Coli Outbreak Is Now Recalling Its Cauliflower

Source: Delish

The California farm at least partially responsible for the most recent romaine e.coli scare is now recalling its cauliflower, as well as its red- and green-leaf lettuce, USA Today reports. The Adam Bros. Farms of Santa Maria, CA,...

December 14, 2018 Resolutions for Myself and for the Coffee Sustainability Sector

Source: Daily Coffee News

Coffee sustainability has made great strides in aligning our work and in speaking in one voice about the importance of the challenges we face and the strategies that we want to pursue.

December 14, 2018 FDA zeros in on source of E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce; more illnesses reported

Source: CBS

Officials have lifted some of the restrictions on the types of romaine lettuce consumers can safely eat after zeroing in on the source of an E. coli outbreak. The FDA said the problem appears to be coming from lettuce grown in...

December 14, 2018 Del Monte recalls canned corn in 25 states, 12 nations, due to botulism risk

Source: CBS

Del Monte Foods is recalling more than 64,000 cases of incompletely sterilized canned corn that could cause life-threatening illness if consumed. Walmart and Target are among the retailers in 25 states and 12 countries that sold...

December 12, 2018 29,000 Pounds Of Jimmy Dean Sausage Recalled After Metal Parts Found In Product

Source: Huff Post

A food manufacturing company is recalling over 29,000 pounds of Jimmy Dean frozen sausage links after five people called the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service to report they found metal pieces in the product, according to...

December 10, 2018 FDA issues recall for dry dog food products from 9 brands

Source: Oregon Live

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week recalled dog foods from nine brands -- the products in question contain high amounts of Vitamin D, which could cause vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss in canines.

December 7, 2018 More people sickened by romaine lettuce amid E. coli outbreak, CDC reports

Source: USA Today

Nine more people have become sick after eating romaine lettuce amid an E. coli outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

December 6, 2018 Initiatives Tracking Beef's Sustainability

Source: Drovers

Transparency is driving growth in America’s food industry. Across the U.S., according consumer research conducted last year by Nielson, 64% of households buy sustainable products.

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