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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

September 22, 2021 4 steps to make the global food system more sustainable

Source: The Hill

It is clear that we need a revolution of our food systems: the way we grow, harvest, process, transport, sell and consume our foods. A change so dramatic that previous versions of food systems are unrecognizable. I

September 22, 2021 National Dairy Council tells dairy’s nutrition, sustainability story ahead of United Nations Summit

Source: Dairy Foods

The organization conducted various dairy-focused educational outreach efforts with key thought leaders who have a shared interest in the outcomes the summit can potentially have on a more nutritious and sustainable future for the...

September 21, 2021 CO2 energy crisis: Two weeks until British meat ‘starts disappearing from supermarket shelves’

Source: Yahoo News

British meat products could start disappearing from supermarket shelves in a handful of days amid the worsening energy crisis.

September 21, 2021 Lab-grown coffee utilizes bioreactors to increase sustainability

Source: Slashgear

Coffee, one of the most popular beverages in the world, comes with a dark side: exploitation of human workers, in some cases, as well as environmental problems like river pollution. Researchers with the VTT Technical Research...

September 21, 2021 How PepsiCo Is Taking a Major Sustainability Step in Promoting Its Recycled Bottles

Source: AD Week

PepsiCo-owned sugar-free soft drink brand Pepsi Max has begun a multiplatform campaign to promote its new move to introduce 100% recycled plastic bottles across its on-the-go range in the U.K. The introduction of the recycling of...

September 21, 2021 Scottish coffee roastery launches 'UK’s first sustainable coffee capsules’

Source: Packaging Europe

Gordon St Coffee announces its new Nespresso-compatible capsules made from Solinatra, a biomaterial alternative to single-use plastic. According to the company, the new capsules are both biodegradable and compostable. It adds...

September 21, 2021 From septic to sustainable: A potential new source of fertilizer

Source: Phys.org

A recently published study focuses on a new process for converting human waste from home septic systems into phosphorus-rich fertilizer.

September 20, 2021 Don’t have a cow? New Perfect Day lifecycle assessment underscores sustainability benefits of animal-free dairy proteins

Source: Food Navigator

Berkeley-based startup Perfect Day has underscored its sustainability credentials with the release of a lifecycle assessment suggesting its ‘non-animal’ whey protein - produced by microbes – has a dramatically lower environmental...

September 17, 2021 Are sustainability provisions needed for produce purchases?

Source: The Packer

In the answer to a survey question, Should retailers or the USDA include sustainability-related requirements for suppliers in their purchases? Why or why not?” Sixty-five members voted on the poll on Aug. 23, and 68% of those...

September 17, 2021 Social sustainability of Swedish pork is better than EU average, but not for pig farmers

Source: The Pig Site

Pork production has many stakeholders, such as pig farmers, workers, local community, consumers, society at large and the pigs themselves. We investigated how these stakeholders were affected by pork production and studied social...

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