Foodborne illness results in $3 billion in health-care costs. Nearly half of the illnesses come from produce, according to the CDC. Then, in descending order, it is meat and poultry; dairy and eggs; and fish and shellfish.
Food Safety Is Everyone's Business
I started writing this small post with my own commentary when I came across Frank Yiannas, the FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response on his remarks on World Food Safety Day. I could not have phrased it any better. In promoting a food safety culture,
"How do we promote food safety culture as public health agencies and organizations? To me, it’s a matter of always thinking and speaking about food safety to food producers and each other about the idea that food safety transcends regulations and borders. It’s the idea that food safety is a belief that all consumers matter, that we care about their safety and the safety of their friends and families. It’s also about being guided by the “why” food safety matters. There are such compelling reasons that whenever we don’t address the “why,” it’s a lost opportunity.
Why are we doing this? Because consumers deserve to be confident in the safety of the food supply. Because farmers and food manufacturers want their customers, as well as their business, to thrive. But most importantly: Because too many of our citizens are still getting sick and dying of foodborne illness – and we can do better. No, we MUST do better."
Foodborne illnesses killed 120 Americans last year and sickened 25,606, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its annual report released on April 2019, acknowledging an increasing incidence of infection caused by eight major pathogens and a sharp uptick in the number of multistate outbreaks. In 2018 we experienced mandatory and voluntary recalls of lettuce and ice cream to name a couple, both of which are common every day food. Who doesn't want a refreshing salad and a cold ice cream on a summer day?
The FDA recently announced an initiative called a “New Era of Smarter Food Safety” that will combine the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) with the agency’s use of new and emerging technologies used in society and business sectors all around us, such as blockchain, sensor technology, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence, to create a more digital, traceable, and safer food system. And one that creates shared value for all stakeholders -- farmers, food producers, regulators, consumers, and the planet.
In case you didn't get a copy, the FDA released a Factsheet identifying risk factors that occur in fast food and full-service restaurants that needs the most improvement.