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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

August 27, 2021 Why China’s E-Grocery Giant Is Pouring $1.5B Into Sustainable Ag-Tech

Source: Green Queen

A new “10 Billion Agriculture Initiative” has launched in China, aiming to accelerate the growth of sustainable ag-tech in the country. Run by the country’s largest online agricultural platform, Pinduoduo, the 10 billion RMB...

August 26, 2021 Chiquita Discusses Sustainable Agriculture Program Progress;

Source: And Now U Know

Amidst the changes the world is experiencing, Chiquita is keeping Mother Nature at the top of its priority list as it reaffirms its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint through sustainable agriculture practices.

August 26, 2021 ‘How is it sustainable if only 1% can afford your food?’: the man on a quest to change farming

Source: The Guardian

Farmers are being bankrolled by public money to grow stuff that nobody wants, especially corn. We grow lots of food, but we end up just throwing most of it away or funneling it through livestock that don’t really even need it to...

August 26, 2021 The Beverage Industry Is Advancing Environmental Sustainability, Together

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The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) is a coalition of 15 global beverage companies working collaboratively with external stakeholders on environmental sustainability including addressing climate and global...

August 25, 2021 Nestlé CMO Addresses Consumer Demand For Sustainable Foods

Source: Forbes

U.S. consumers want brands to prioritize sustainability, but we still see a gap between these values and consumer behavior. How is Nestlé addressing this challenge to make products that are accessible and allow consumers to live...

August 25, 2021 Cattle are part of agriculture’s sustainability story

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Permanent perennial grasslands, such as those found in native prairies, are improved by appropriate grazing through increased rainfall retention, soil fertility and improved soil carbon content. Teague noted through grazing, more...



With the Biden administration and the major U.S. automakers investing heavily in electric vehicles, rural Americans — especially those connected to farming — are concerned about the future of biofuels. Given that ethanol,...

August 24, 2021 Making Small Farms More Sustainable — and Profitable

Source: Harvard Business Review

More than 2 billion people currently live on about 550 million small farms, with 40% of them on incomes of less than U.S. $2 per day. Despite high rates of poverty and malnutrition, these smallholders produce food for more than...

August 23, 2021 How the infrastructure bill will enable more sustainable farming


The expansion of rural broadband is the most notable improvement for American farmers. Although more indirectly, investments in transportation, water and wildfire risk reduction will also benefit them. So what do these...

August 20, 2021 Palm-oil mission could stoke disaster without sustainability checks

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Palm oil is the cheapest edible oil, used in most foods items, from bread to pizzas. In recent months, global prices have surged to multi-year peaks, forcing the government to cut import duties to make the fats affordable

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