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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

November 13, 2020 How the digital wave is contributing to the rise of sustainable fisheries

Source: GreenBiz

World fish consumption has almost doubled between the 1960s and now, and some estimates suggest fish contributes to at least 50 percent of total animal protein intake in developing nations. Despite higher demand for seafood and...

November 13, 2020 Experts from 26 nations gathering to discuss the sustainable agriculture of post-Covid-19 era

Source: Eco-business

Climate change intensifies global warming, crop production losses driven by the extreme climate and natural disasters. This year, 2020, the globe is encountered with the pandemic of Covid-19. The outbreak sees the declines and...

November 12, 2020 Saving costs and sustainability go hand in hand

Source: Fresh Plaza

Responsible and creative packaging is becoming increasingly important. Unique fruit and vegetable packaging must be innovative, distinctive and sustainable.

November 11, 2020 Sustainable Food Trends Will Become Center Of The Plate With Modern Consumers

Source: Forbes

A majority of consumers today look for products that can help them live a more sustainable, socially responsible life. Assuming taste and price are often roughly equal, the modern consumer prefers sustainable food brands and adds...

November 9, 2020 The Geopolitics of Food Security: Barriers to the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger

Source: Relief Web

Geopolitical challenges cut across areas such as natural resources, trade, armed conflict and climate change where unilateralism and zero-sum approaches to security directly hamper efforts to eradicate hunger and undermine the...

November 6, 2020 Sustainability valued but definition elusive

Source: The Packer

Retailers care about sustainability because consumers care, but for many the pursuit of sustainability tends to be more of an afterthought than top priority.

November 5, 2020 8 Reasons Sustainability is Critical in Food and Beverage Manufacturing

Source: Food Safety Tech

Sustainability is, arguably, an industry unto itself, since the economic impact on companies trying to adhere to government guidelines or react to consumer preferences can be in the billions of dollars across a wide range of...

November 2, 2020 Linerless technology: packaging sustainability for fresh food

Source: Food Processing

As consumers become more environmentally conscious and hold brands and their packaging standards to account, Iceland, a leading UK frozen food retailer, has been incentivised to develop and package more responsibly.

October 30, 2020 Kraft Heinz sustainability chief reflects on 'interdependence'

Source: GreenBiz

Food company Kraft Heinz has been relatively quiet about its corporate sustainability strategy in the five years since it was formed through the merger of food giants Kraft and Heinz — stepping out in early 2018 to provide an...

October 29, 2020 Study probes connection between diet quality and environmental sustainability

Source: William & Mary News

“What we found was that healthier diets are not always more sustainable,” Conrad said. “In fact, in some cases, some healthier diets can increase use of critical resources like water.”

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