January 5, 2011
The legislation is the largest overhaul of the country’s food safety system since the 1930s. Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama’s health secretary, called it “the most significant food safety law of the last 100 years,” during a press conference on Monday.
With the cost of $1.4 billion in new funding over five years, some lawmakers are concerned that the revamp is too expensive and threatened its funding. But according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, each year one in six Americans are getting sick, 28,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 people die after eating tainted food. The new law intends to focus on prevention instead of reaction.
“Shifting from a reactive to a preventative mode is something that we are committed to doing,” said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner. “The costs of not going forward to put in place this kind of approach are simply unacceptable.”
The bill has drawn praise from the natural products industry. Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, said, “The Food Safety Modernization Act was a demonstration of a thoughtful and bi-partisan approach to crafting meaningful and necessary legislation. Congress has now ensured that FDA will have the additional tools needed to help protect the public health in the area of food safety.”
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Initial reports indicated that day one of freezing temperatures caused some damage to the fruit.
“Temperatures were below freezing and got as low as 24 degrees, but the duration was not below 28 degrees for any period long enough to cause substantial damage,” said Matt McLean, CEO and founder of Uncle Matt’s Organic, the oldest organic juice company in the U.S. “However, we did experience some damage in low-lying cold areas.”
To minimize the freeze’s damaging effects, the company’s production team ran micro-irrigation sprinklers mid way through the night and early morning.
Citrus crops typically experience damage when the temperatures drop to 28 degrees or lower for more than four consecutive hours. Florida’s citrus industry produces more than three-quarters of the U.S. orange crop, and accounts for about 40 percent of the world’s orange juice supply.
The team’s efforts, so far, appear to have had a positive effect, according to the company. There are no reports of tree damage and little, if any, leaf damage.
For more information, visit www.unclematts.com.
The study, the second of its kind sponsored by OTA and KIWI Magazine, shows that three-quarters of U.S. families purchase some organic products. Comprising a growing percentage (36 percent versus 32 percent in 2009), newly organic families who have begun purchasing organic products in the past two years represent more than three in 10 U.S. households.
For more information, visit www.ota.com.
The new FCC method for bio-based contents is a way to determine the amount of a food ingredient that is derived from renewable carbon sources such as plant- or animal-based versus other raw materials commonly used to produce food additives such as petroleum wax and mineral oil. The method uses carbon isotope signatures, which is the most accurate way to make such quantitative determinations. Results obtained from this new FCC method would allow stakeholders to verify the labeled percentage of a food ingredient that is bio-based—something not commonly done but useful to companies seeking to instill confidence in consumers that may be skeptical of such claims.
Besides this application, the technique can also be used for counterfeit detection. USP intends to expand the FCC appendix on authenticity methods in the future to include additional procedures for detecting counterfeit food ingredients and is encouraging industry to submit useful methods for consideration.
For more information, visit www.usp.org/fcc/fccForum.html
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