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January 13, 2011

SafeFood© and the World’s Oldest Profession

Huh? I am talking about farming, not that other job. Food safety on the farm has come under more scrutiny as we have had outbreaks traced back to fresh produce. The exposure to natural contaminants, such as bird droppings, wild pig feces, run-off water, etc is pretty hard to avoid when growing fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce in the raw form has not received a kill step of cooking to reduce bacterial loads. So what is the answer? As a dietitian, I am all for increased fruit and vegetable consumption. The evidence is pretty clear increases of these foods and decreases of junk foods would mitigate a lot of health issues for Americans. Like many - I like fruits and vegetables that are uncooked or processed - but I take precautions. Washing my hands and washing the product before eating are two simple steps I can take as a consumer. Producers are also scaling up to improve on-farm food safety by using good agricultural practices (GAPs) and appropriate post-harvest handling procedures. An apple a day… hmm, not such bad advice.

January 01, 2011

SafeFood© and the New Year

A new year is full of promise and hope. Let’s hope the talk in 2010 about improving the safety of food from farm to fork comes to fruition. Let’s hope the Food Safety Modernization Act, which expanded authority for government inspections and established on farm food safety requirements (for producers meeting certain dollar volumes) is funded properly. Let’s hope folks realize people practices can make or prevent a foodborne illness outbreak - and act accordingly. Let’s hope awareness about food safety translates into actions – and good practices become a habit. Happy New Year – and a hope your 2011 is foodborne illness free!