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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: South China Morning Post
African swine fever, which is deadly to pigs but not harmful to humans, has now spread to all Chinese mainland provinces since the first case was confirmed in August, posing a serious threat to the hog industry and raising...
April 18, 2019 China’s lengthy GMO crop approval process cuts US agriculture profits $5 billion over five yearsSource: Genetic Literacy Project
according to a study commissioned by the industry trade group CropLife International. When including the “ripple effects” to the overall U.S. economy, the report by researcher Informa ...
Source: Fox News
An outbreak of salmonella in at least nine states that’s infected 93 people has been traced to pre-cut melon, according to the Centers for Disease Contro
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April 10, 2019 ‘Recipe for disaster’: NYS comptroller’s office says majority of eateries with serious food safety violations avoid enforcement actionsSource: New York Daily News
The audit examined how the state’s Department of Health monitored agencies responsible for enforcing food safety regulations. The comptroller’s office said auditors found food stored at the wrong temperature, which...
In 2017, the Food Marketing Institute (which represents grocers and other food retailers) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (which represents food and beverage manufacturers) announced a voluntary standard, paring down...
April 4, 2019 What we aren't eating is killing us, global study findsSource: CNN
Which risk factor is responsible for more deaths around the world than any other? Not smoking. Not even high blood pressure. It's a poor diet.
Source: News Medical
The 2019 Global Report on Food Crises, a product of the Global Network against Food Crises, was presented jointly by the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the UN World Food...
April 1, 2019 Want Sustainable Farming? Look To High-Tech FarmsSource: Forbes
A growing body of research suggests that consumers can help mitigate the impacts of climate change by eating less meat from ruminant animals like beef and lamb. Despite the raging debate about beef’s impacts, the data shows red...
March 29, 2019 How Good Food 100 Restaurants Is Helping To Create A More Transparent And Sustainable Food IndustrySource: Forbes
Words like “farm-to-table,” “seasonal” and “locally sourced” are on so many restaurant menus these days, but with a lack of regulation around these terms there’s no telling what they actually mean. As the food industry moves...
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