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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

March 3, 2021 Correcting the record on animal agriculture and sustainability

Source: The Hill

Animal agriculture?— farmers, ranchers, veterinarians, feed mills, animal health companies and others — is?committed to providing a safe and healthful food supply for everyone. This dedication starts on the farm by caring for the...

March 3, 2021 Less is more: Cargill project looks to make salmon production more sustainable

Source: Feed Navagator

Cargill is launching a new initiative aimed at helping aquaculture farmers raise products with less environmental impact.

March 3, 2021 Greenpeace Ranks US Grocers for Plastic Reduction Efforts

Source: Treehugger

A new report by Greenpeace, called "Shopping for Plastic: The 2021 Supermarket Plastics Ranking," explores efforts that major food retailers are making to reduce plastic usage in their stores and ranks them accordingly.

March 2, 2021 US Foods Spring Scoop Caters to Consumers’ Growing Interest in Well-Being, Sustainability

Source: Business Wire

US Foods Holding Corp. (NYSE: USFD) announced today the launch of Spring 2021 Scoop™, “Hungry for Better,” which features products that cater to consumers’ growing interest in dining options that support their planet, their...

March 2, 2021 Zoetis joins the Sustainability Consortium to lead efforts in sustainable pork together with US pork producers and supply chain leaders

Source: The Pig Site

The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) announced today that Zoetis, the leading animal health company, has joined TSC to focus on increasing supply chain transparency and sustainability with U.S. pork producers.

February 26, 2021 How Unilever is turning sustainability into opportunity

Source: Food Dive

The CPG giant is using upcycling, a big plant-based commitment and initiatives to curtail food waste to save money and the environment, says the company's president of foods & refreshment.

February 26, 2021 WHICH PLASTIC BOTTLE SIZE IS WORST FOR THE ENVIRONMENT? STUDY REVEALS A SURPRISING ANSWER

Source: Inverse

Public-health officials want to shrink the bottles down to try and limit our consumption of such sugary, acidic beverages. But a new study published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports points to a different problem, one...

February 25, 2021 HowGood Raises $6M for Product Sustainability Database

Source: Progressive Grocer

HowGood, an SaaS data platform for the food and personal care industries, has raised a $6 million investment round in its mission to help retailers and investors deepen their environmental and social impact to attract the growing...

February 25, 2021 Michael Shank: USDA far more open now to sustainability practices - Commentary

Source: VT Digger

Since receiving President Joe Biden’s nomination for secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack is indicating that he’s newly committed to a USDA that prioritizes sustainability, regenerative and climate-resilient...

February 25, 2021 Pernod Ricard Determined to Deliver on Sustainability Commitments

Source: Plastics Today

Pernod Ricard’s circular roadmap includes a commitment that 100% of its packaging will be recyclable, reusable, compostable, or bio-based by 2025. The company recently released a progress report as well as plans for future bottle...

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