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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

September 18, 2018 Food Safety Scares Are Up In 2018. Here's Why You Shouldn't Freak Out

Source: NPR

"We believe food is safer than perhaps ever before." He went on: "What's happening is that our ability to identify outbreaks has dramatically improved due to new information technologies and laboratory techniques."

September 18, 2018 China’s US$128 billion pork industry is under threat by a deadly, mysterious virus

Source: South China Morning Post

The African swine fever virus - harmless to humans - can survive for more than a year in cured pork, which is how it probably took hold in Russia’s backyard farms last year, before spreading to China through illicit trade of hogs

September 14, 2018 Why 'BPA Free' May Not Mean a Plastic Product Is Safe

Source: National Geographic

Alternatives to the now infamous compound keep popping up. But researchers aren’t convinced they’re any better for us.

September 14, 2018 FDA chief Scott Gottlieb blames vaping giant Juul for 'epidemic' of teens using e-cigarettes

Source: CNBC

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb singled out vaping giant Juul on Thursday for what he called an epidemic of high school students using e-cigarettes.

September 11, 2018 Japan’s first case of swine fever in 26 years triggers pig cull, nationwide export ban

Source: Japan Times

An outbreak of swine fever confirmed at a farm in Gifu over the weekend has led to the culling and burying of 546 hogs and the halt of pork exports across Japan, authorities said Monday.

September 6, 2018 People Are Still Eating Recalled Honey Smacks Cereal—and They're Getting Sick

Source: Gixmodo

Public health experts have been warning people since June to stay away from Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal, as it can possibly give you a nasty case of salmonella poisoning. But people are still eating the frog-branded cereal, and...

August 31, 2018 Global warming may cause insects to gobble more crops, study finds

Source: NBC

Insects are going to love it when the world turns hotter in the coming years. Not only will they spread more disease — they will eat more crops, researchers reported Thursday.

August 31, 2018 Coffee Does Not Merit Cancer Warning Label Ordered In California, FDA Says

Source: NPR

The Food and Drug Administration has stepped into a simmering debate in California as to whether coffee should come with a cancer warning labe

August 30, 2018 Sustainability Can Be a Win-Win

Source: Drovers

What if we could not only reduce carbon emissions from cattle production, but also redirect that carbon toward animal growth, and more beef production per unit of input?

August 29, 2018 Rising carbon emissions make crops less nutritious, threaten global health

Source: The Hill

Around the world, food security is being threatened by man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Some of the threats to our food system are relatively clear: warmer temperatures and changing climates bring about droughts, heat...

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