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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

July 26, 2021 Supermarket Chain Asda Trials Package Free Sustainable Store

Source: PSFK

UK grocery store will offer refill stations, produce lines sold loose and unwrapped, an area for local vendors and "comprehensive" recycling.

July 26, 2021 Freight Farm to teach youth about sustainable agriculture

Source: ABC Nebraska

Beyond School Bells is partnering with the Bay in Lincoln for a new after-school program that will teach students about sustainable ag technology.

July 23, 2021 Research on climate-smart agricultural practices has a primary role in sustainable agriculture

Source: Innovation Origins

Climate change’s negative impacts are already being felt on farms. But the problem also works in reverse as agriculture is a major part of the climate problem currently generating over 20 percent of total greenhouse gas...

July 22, 2021 BILL TO SUBSIDIZE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE “PRIME CONTENDER” FOR RECONCILIATION PACKAGE

Source: The Intercept

A BIPARTISAN MEASURE to boost carbon credit markets is a “prime contender” to be in the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., told The Intercept. But its inclusion in the...

July 22, 2021 NASA Awards $1 Million for Research on Sustainable Rice Production

Source: University of Arkansas

A new $1 million grant from NASA’s Carbon Monitoring Program will go towards a study headed up by associate professor of biological engineering at the U of A, Benjamin Runkle, on greenhouse gases and its implications of rice...

July 21, 2021 New Report Shows Sustainability in Global Aquaculture

Source: Food Tank

Over the past two decades, the global aquaculture industry has increased its focus on sustainability, according to a recent review published in Nature. Aquaculture production can help feed the world’s growing population by...

July 21, 2021 Diversifying Adds To Sustainability

Source: AgWeb

Looking back to 2018 when we signed a letter of intent to build a chicken barn for the Costco project in Nebraska, we didn’t write a business plan and detail all that we were doing to contribute to the sustainability of our...

July 20, 2021 ‘Sustainable isn’t a thing’: why regenerative agriculture is food’s latest buzzword

Source: The Guardian

Everyone from small farms to McDonald’s is getting involved in regenerative agriculture. Could it point the way to a better future for farming?

July 16, 2021 AgroFresh announces global expansion of Control-Tec sustainability technology systems

Source: The Packer

AgroFresh Solutions, Inc., a global AgTech innovator, today announced the expanded availability of Control-Tec sustainability technology systems across North America, South America, Europe and Australia/New Zealand following the...

July 16, 2021 ‘Sustainable’ palm oil giant stripped of FSC license for deliberately burning rainforests

Source: Cosmetics Business

Korean Palm oil giant Korindo has had its trademark license with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) stripped after a BBC investigation found the group had deliberately set fire to forests in Indonesia’s Papua province.

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