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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
June 17, 2015 GMO Ban Off to Bumpy Start in Oregon’s Jackson CountySource: Food Safety News
In reality, the ordinance could qualify as a “regulatory taking” under the U.S. Constitution, meaning that local taxpayers may have to pay farmers with genetically modified crops $4.2 million. Until they know their exposure on...
June 16, 2015 We should have labels on meat
tsln.com - I am mad, and many others across this nation are just as angry. I really donât give a damn about what Congress thinks, or for that matter Canada, and the îWorld Trade Organizationî (WTO). We should...
June 15, 2015 Meat-labels law seen in D.C. as a risky business
Arkansas Online - In 2014, the îWorld Trade Organizationî sided with Canada and Mexico, ruling that the country-of-origin provisions on beef and pork discriminate against Canadian and Mexican producers. On May 18, the...
June 12, 2015 Biofuels are a culprit in world hunger, pope says
cruxnow.com - Francisâ comments came in an address to representatives of the îFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsî (FAO). The delegates are in Rome for the institutionâs 39th General...
Source: Supermarket News
Sustainable sourcing can improve the value proposition of a private label. The challenge, however, is conveying the message to consumers. One way Albertsons-Safeway has addressed this is by featuring sustainability labels on its...
FOX News - "High sodium levels are probably the biggest health problem related to our food supply," said Michael Jacobson, executive director for the îCenter for Science in the Public Interestî, a Washington-based...
New York Daily News - The House voted 300-131 to repeal country-of-origin labeling rules on beef, pork and poultry, after the îWorld Trade Organizationî ruled they discriminated against imported meat. The Senate must...
The Roanoke Times - But with manufacturers scrambling, the USDA's îFood Safety and Inspection Serviceî, which oversees importation of egg products, announced last week the Netherlands again had been approved to export...
June 9, 2015 Why Chicken Is Going Antibiotic-Free FirstSource: Food Safety News
When McDonald’s announced in March that it would be phasing out the use of medically important antibiotics in raising the chickens that supply its 14,000 U.S. restaurants, some asked, “What about the Big Mac and the McRib?”
The decline in the bee population could be caused by the insect’s high contamination of aluminum, a chemical element implicated as a factor in Alzheimer's disease in humans, a new study has found
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