Friday, March 21, 2008

Food Makers Won't Overreact to Food Scares

cantaloupe recall fight BAC bacteria food safetyFood maker giants met this week at the Reuters Food Summit and among other things, decided that they won't overreact to food scares.

Really? Try telling that to the moms and dad of the country when their food is poisoned because of lax oversight and corporate cost-cutting to protect the bottom line while spending lavishly on executive perks.

At the Reuters Food Summit in Chicago this week:
Stephen Sundlof, director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, warned that the nation's food safety system "could be just one incident away from some catastrophic event ... If there was an additional crisis, it might be at the breaking point."
Despite this dire warning from the USDA, the food makers weren't persuaded. They argued that the food system is safe and they spare NO EXPENSE to make sure their products do not make people sick. Their internal systems are good enough and no further oversight is needed.

And to be sure that doesn't happen, some in the industry are actively working to prevent even modest improvements. The American Meat Institute, the AMI, recently launched an aggressive campaign to stop these small advancements in the administration's budget.

With recent high-profile and multiple meat, peanut butter, lettuce and even spinach food safety scares, perhaps a little reacting might be good for the American consumer? And not just the corporate bottom line?

cantaloupe recall food safety fight BAC bad beefThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, has a variety of tips for consumers to prevent bacteria contamination:
  • Cook foods to proper temperatures
  • Clean hands and surfaces often
  • Chill - refrigerate foods promptly
  • Separate - don't cross-contaminate one food with another

Sounds like good ideas. The food titans should remember these as well.

Upton Sinclair Food SafetyIt's been over 100 years, but Upton Sinclair's book, "The Jungle" continues to remind Americans about the importance of safe and pure food. A safe food supply affects all Americans every day.

As Sinclair once said regarding his book, "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."

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