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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
February 5, 2019 Culprit found for honeybee deaths in almond grovesSource: Ohio State University
A new study, newly published in the journal Insects, that details how combinations of insecticides and fungicides typically deemed individually “safe” for honeybees turn into lethal cocktails when mixed.
January 29, 2019 Shipments of Foreign Fresh Fruit Recalled in 18 StatesSource: Food Safety News
Fresh peaches, nectarines, and plums shipped across the U.S. are being recalled due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The recall notice indicates that the country of origin for a portion of the fresh produce is...
January 25, 2019 Another Salmonella outbreak traced to baby formula; recall initiatedSource: Food Safety News
French authorities have revealed that at least four babies have been sickened by Salmonella linked to powdered milk made in Spain.
General Mills is recalling some five-pound bags of its Gold Medal unbleached flour over fears of salmonella contamination.
January 23, 2019 FDA food investigations running at less than 50 percent of normalSource: Food Safety News
The Food and Drug Administration has “more than 200 food investigators” on the job “not counting support staff and supervisors” out of about 550 total professionals “when the agency is fully operational,” according to...
January 23, 2019 Viewpoint: GMO crops are key to sustainable farming—why are some scientists afraid to talk about them?Source: Genetic Literary Project
Sustainable intensification. . .comprises agricultural processes or systems in which production is maintained or increased while progressing toward substantial enhancement of environmental outcomes. It incorporates these...
January 18, 2019 Analysis: EPA Ignored Scientific Research Showing Monsanto’s Glyphosate Causes CancerSource: EWG news release
WASHINGTON – A new analysis from the peer-reviewed scientific journal Environmental Sciences Europe documents the diametrically different approaches the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization took...
January 17, 2019 EU tightens import rules for some fruits, vegetables, nutsSource: Food Safety News
The European Commission has updated the list of imported products subject to official controls including the frequency of checks.
January 16, 2019 STRONGEST OPPONENTS OF GM FOODS KNOW THE LEAST ABOUT THEMSource: Futurisn
Despite the scientific consensus that GM foods are safe, more than 90 percent of respondents said they were at least somewhat opposed to the foods. In general, the more opposed a person claimed to be, the lower they scored on the...
Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today announced a new partnership to develop and deploy initiatives that support Tyson’s sustainability strategy and help meet increasing consumer demand for more...
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