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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


Source: Restaurant Business

Chipotle Mexican Grill launched a “sustainability tracker” Monday to provide environmental impact data for all of its ingredients. Chipotle diners will now receive data on five environmental metrics on their order confirmation...

October 28, 2020 Introducing CIBO Impact: Transformative Technology that Supports the Scaling of Sustainable Farming Practices

Source: PR NewsWire

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- CIBO, the technology company that delivers decision-ready insights on all U.S. cropland, today announced the launch of CIBO Impact. The new capabilities are designed to help farmers...

October 28, 2020 Walmart links sustainability initiative to higher seafood sales

Source: Seafood Source

Starting this spring, Walmart launched a massive store signage campaign for both fresh and frozen seafood “to communicate more clearly to customers the quality, value, and sustainability of the seafood they buy at Walmart,”...

October 23, 2020 Can Burger King Use Sustainability To Drive Sales?

Source: Progressive Grocer

An innovative packaging initiative in pilot with Burger King presents retail foodservice operators with interesting opportunities to reduce waste and generate repeat customer traffic.

October 21, 2020 Food Industry Is A No-Show In New Sustainability Study

Source: Forbes

A ranking of the world’s 100 most sustainably managed public companies was published last week with iconic names such as Sony, Philips, Merck and Cisco Systems topping the list. But one industry was largely a no-show: food...

October 21, 2020 Supermarket Chain Asda Trials New Sustainable Store And Promises ‘Customers Will Not Pay More’

Source: Forbes

U.K. supermarket chain Asda has partnered with popular household brands including PG Tips, Vimto, Kellogg’s, Radox and Persil to create its first sustainability test store, with a promise to shoppers that they will not pay more...

October 21, 2020 Impossible Foods looks to hire more than 100 scientists in quest for dairy-free milk and meat alternatives

Source: CNBC

Impossible Foods’ next big innovation could be dairy-free milk that looks, acts and tastes just like cow’s milk.

October 20, 2020 AGCO Names Louisa Parker-Smith Director of Global Sustainability

Source: Business Wire

AGCO, a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery and solutions, has announced Louisa Parker-Smith Director of Global Sustainability, a newly created position that will oversee the...

October 20, 2020 "Seven pledges for sustainable agriculture and healthy nutrition"

Source: Fresh Plaza

Friday was World Food Day. That's the day when global food issues and sustainable solutions are considered. Bonduelle announced several promises on that day. These should lead to more sustainable agriculture and a healthier diet.

October 16, 2020 Demo, accelerate and incubate: FEED-X is ‘taking away excuses to act’ on sustainable innovation

Source: Feed Navigator

Aquaculture was the initial focus of FEED-X, under Project X, an initiative working to accelerate the adoption of environmentally sustainable solutions within global supply chains; a subsequent cycle will look to accelerate feed...

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