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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.

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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 18, 2020 Smithfield Foods Releases 2019 Sustainability Impact Report

Source: Food Market

Smithfield Foods, Inc. today released its 2019 Sustainability Impact Report, demonstrating significant progress in reaching major milestones and continuing efforts to feed the world’s population in a responsible way. Smithfield’s...

June 17, 2020 Unilever to invest 1bn euros in sustainability projects

Source: Food & Beverage Media

Unilever has announced that it will invest approximately €1 billion in sustainability projects over the next ten years, as part of its new ‘Climate & Nature Fund’.

June 16, 2020 Innovations in the quest for sustainable seafood

Source: New Food Magazine

According to the World Wildlife Federation1, two-thirds of the world’s fish stocks are either fished at their limit or over fished. The United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that 70 percent of...

June 16, 2020 The Bumble Bee Seafood Company Announces Acceleration of Its Sustainability Efforts

Source: Sustainable Brands

The company has created a dedicated Accelerator Fund focused on further closing the gap on some of the biggest industry challenges in the sustainability space. Desired outcomes of the initiative include ensuring the abundance of...

June 12, 2020 Sustainable cover-crop farming practice faces one big limitation: Land to produce seeds

Source: Phys.org

As farmers around the globe look to grow food more sustainably—with less water, fertilizer, pesticides and other environmental impactors—the use of cover crops is becoming more popular.

June 11, 2020 Sustainable Seafood Could Feed A Billion People A Day, Says Oceana

Source: Forbes

The premise of sustainable fisheries lies in the belief that fishing practices that adapt to the reproductive rate of fish and maintain the health and productivity of wild fish stocks are not only critical to the sustainable...

June 10, 2020 Seaweed farming: an economic and sustainable opportunity for Europe

Source: Euro News

eaweed farming may be unfamiliar to most Europeans - but there's a growing movement to change this. In 2012, in the southwest of the Netherlands, Dutch business consultant Rebecca Wiering and American lawyer Jennifer Breaton set...

June 10, 2020 Why The U.S. Almost Ran Out Of Meat

Source: YouTube/CNBC

The coronavirus pandemic has been especially crushing for the meat supply chain. Over 20,000 processing plant workers have contracted the virus and 74 have died. As plants have had to shut down due to the labor disruptions,...

June 9, 2020 Enforcing sustainability in palm oil: What would mandatory due diligence look like?

Source: Food Navigator

What if the European Commission made sustainable palm oil due diligence mandatory across the bloc? The European Palm Oil Alliance is advocating just that, chair Frans Claassen tells FoodNavigator.

June 9, 2020 Walmart to Offer Sustainable Private-Brand Canned Tuna

Source: Progressive Grocer

In July, achieving a key aspect of its original goal years early, Walmart Inc. will begin sourcing its U.S. stores’ private-brand Great Value canned tuna as either Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified or, based on supplier...

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