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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
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February 27, 2020 What the food industry can teach fashion about sustainabilitySource: Vogue Business
Providing resources and support to suppliers and changing the marketing around sustainable options are two lessons fashion can learn from food.
February 26, 2020 The end of farming?Source: The Guardian
For decades, the way we farm has been degrading land and destroying wildlife. Now there’s a revolution coming – but is it going to create more problems than it solves?
February 26, 2020 Convenience, sustainability driving potato pack designSource: The Packer
The challenge to creating a compelling package for potatoes is complex, because bags must protect product integrity while attracting a shopper’s attention, says Jeff Watkin, marketing director with Collinsville, Ill.-based...
February 25, 2020 ‘Meat is part of a sustainable world’: Professor Louise FrescoSource: Food Navigator
Professor Louise Fresco used the prestigious City Food Lecture in London to argue in favor of the shift towards flexitarian and reductionist diets. But she warned against doing away with meat consumption altogether.
February 24, 2020 Alice in Dairyland: Working on sustainabilitySource: WMTV
"United States dairy farmers have reduced their carbon footprint by nearly 25% since 2007.
Coffee is the world’s favorite drink, with more than 400 billion cups enjoyed per year. We do our part to add to that grand total. Coffee drinkers around the world love their coffee — and appreciate it even more when they know...
February 21, 2020 Sustainability Goes MainstreamSource: AgWeb
America’s Conservation Ag Movement is a broad national effort to help farmers, ranchers and growers continue their journey to conserve our shared natural resources and promote sustainable food production.
February 20, 2020 Danone, Microsoft join forces for AI accelerator: ‘The success of the food revolution will depend on data’Source: Food Navigator
Danone and Microsoft have joined forces to launch the AI Factory for AgriFood, an accelerator programme to support start-ups developing sustainable food and regenerative agriculture solutions.
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