Food safety is a concern on everyone’s mind, from the busy mom cooking for her kids to the single man eating on the go. It is also an important issue addressed by today’s farmers and ranchers. Fortunately, the number of foodborne illnesses each year has dropped significantly in the last 100 years.
A recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites a 32-percent decline in foodborne diseases in 2009-10 compared to the five years prior. The drop can partially be credited to the Food Safety Modernization Act – a law that improves food safety by developing systems previously in place in the private sector. Before the passing of FSMA, 72 million Americans experienced a foodborne illness annually. That number is now down to 9.4 million people. There are also five federal agencies regulating at least 30 food safety-related laws, and due to this effort, food safety testing has also dramatically increased.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman recently said although food contamination can occur at any stage in the food production process, a large number of foodborne illnesses are caused by improperly prepared or mishandled foods inside the home or restaurant. To help decrease this number further, Farm Bureaus nationwide are working to help consumers better understand food safety, from safe preparation to storage methods.
Read Stallman’s Ag Agenda column on food safety here.