Tag Archives: food safety

Food safety not what it’s really about

From Off the Grid News:

“In its efforts to ensure the safety of food, the US government may actually be ignoring the real problem while shutting down small organic farms.

So says the Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group which released a 16-page analysis accusing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in a way that will crush “the country’s safest farmers” while leaving what Cornucopia calls the “root threats to human health” – contaminated manure made on “factory” livestock farms and certain produce-processing methods – untouched.

“In response to deadly outbreaks involving spinach, peanut butter and eggs, Congress acted decisively three years ago to pass the Food Safety Modernization Act,” said Mark A. Kastel, co-director at Cornucopia. “Better oversight is needed but it looks like regulators and corporate agribusiness lobbyists are simultaneously using the FSMA to crush competition from the organic and local farming movement.” Continue reading

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FDA and Health Canada going after raw milk cheeses with much-touted survey?

How about that, Canadians get a voice in American federal decision making. But really we’re a separate country, aren’t we? Click image above to go to this page where you can comment.

Remember a few days ago we wrote about that article from the Ontario Farmer about how the FDA and Health Canada were seeking public input on raw milk policy? Well it seems that what they were really on about was soft raw milk cheeses. And yes, it does seem that that Health Canada is taking their comments via the FDA site (see image above), although no one at Health Canada’s media relations office ever got back to us on it. Continue reading

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When the rubber hits the road with those new FDA food safety regulations

From David E. Gumpert on the Complete Patient blog:

“Nearly three years ago, I asked in a blog post on the then-proposed new national food safety regulations a question I thought sounded provocative, but was likely far-fetched: “How does the idea of consulting a ‘technician’ sound in connection with producing your own compost?”

That “technician” will likely be stopping by many farms much sooner than even I might have imagined.  The FDA in itssummary of the new rules (published yesterday) it plans for implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act for produce says one of five highlights is this, affecting “biological soil amendments” (bet you didn’t know the new name for compost is a “biological soil amendment”): “Biological soil amendments of animal origin, such as composted manure, may contain pathogens of public health concern. To address this, the rule proposes reasonable time intervals between the application of a biological soil amendment of animal original and crop harvest. The proposed rule also has provisions pertaining to the handling and storage of biological soil amendments of animal origin.” Continue reading

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If we really care about food safety we may have to abandon factory farming

From David Fisman and Sarah Elton, Postmedia news:

“Canadians, this week, are a little nervous around beef. For good reason.

“Verotoxigenic” E. coli (VTEC), which are often a strain known as E. coli O157: H7, are yet again causing an outbreak, with numerous Canadians sickened by tainted beef. Now what’s being called the country’s largest food recall is unfolding. We’re being told not to eat the steaks, hamburger and other beef products handled by Alberta’s XL Foods that have been sold in supermarkets across the country. Meanwhile, the federal government is under attack for not having protected our food from this bug, which generally causes bloody diarrhea and an associated blood and kidney disorder.

It will likely be many weeks before epidemiologists have a clearer picture of what’s happening. However, this is by no means a unique event. Continue reading

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Safe Foods for Canadians Act

From Lewis Retik, on Mondaq.com:

“On June 7, 2012 the federal government introduced the proposed Safe Food for Canadians Act (the Act). The proposed Act which must be passed by Parliament and may be subject to change, would apply to all persons and establishments that manufacture, prepare, store, package or label foods and/or beverages, as would its associated regulations.It remains unclear what these regulations would look like.

As part of a wider Government of Canada effort to modernize the federal regulatory framework for food safety, the Act’s primary purpose is to make food as safe as possible for Canadians, in part by targeting unsafe practices, increasing penalties and requiring licensing and registration. If enacted, it would consolidate and replace the Canadian Agricultural Products Act, the Meat Inspection Act, the Fish Inspection Act, and the food provisions of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act. The federal government has indicated that the Act would provide more consistency with respect to rules and regulations and better align our system with those of trading partners such as the United States. Continue reading

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How food safety regulations do not necessarily lead to greater food safety

From Baylen Linnekin, on Reason.com:

“Nearly 18 months after passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, a landmark piece of legislation that granted new powers and authority to the FDA, the legislation is still mired in congressional debates over how to fund it. If this status update sounds familliar, it’s with good reason. The FSMA found itself in a similar place six months ago and a year ago.

As FSMA implementation treads water, my own latest piece of research on the subject has just been published by the Northeastern University Law Journal. It’s based on a talk I gave as a panelist at the journal’s 2011 food-law conference—held just weeks after the FSMA became law.

In my article, “The Food-Safety Fallacy: More Regulation Doesn’t Necessarily Make Food Safer,” I use ancient and more recent historical examples of flawed rules to rebut the common misconception that more food-safety regulation means safer food. Rather, history shows us that food-safety regulations have often made food (and, consequently, people) less safe. Continue reading

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Dissembling on Canadian food safety?

From Jim Romahn, on Agri 007:

“Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz misled the Senate when he was introducing a bill to update food inspection and safety earlier this year.

He said several times that Canada compares favourably with other countries and at one point said we consistently get an A+ rating.

Our most important trading partner, the United States, doesn’t use ratings, let alone handing out A+s.

I don’t have all of the other nations’ audit reports of Canada at my disposal, but I do have the audits done by the United States. Canada frankly rates poorly, judging by comments about critical deficiencies that need attention. Continue reading

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