Data from the CDC indicates that 1 in 6 Americans catch some kid of food-borne disease each year. Approximately 48 million people are affected according to the FDA, resulting in hospitalization and death. This is why the US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which was signed by US President Obama in early January was welcomed by health authorities. “The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) gives FDA a mandate to pursue a system that is based on science and addresses hazards from farm to table, putting greater emphasis on preventing food-borne illness.” One the provisions of FSMA is the requirement of companies to develop and implement a written food safety plan.
According to US FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg:
“The legislation significantly enhances FDA’s ability to oversee the millions of food products coming into the United States from other countries each year. Among the improvements is the requirement that importers verify the safety of food from their suppliers and the authority for the FDA to block foods from facilities or countries that refuse our inspection. FDA will also be working more closely with foreign governments and increasing its inspection of foreign food facilities. FDA’s new import tool kit will have a huge impact on food safety given that an estimated 15 percent of the U.S. food supply is imported, including 50 percent of fresh fruits, 20 percent of fresh vegetables and 80 percent of seafood.”
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Agriculture announced the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans at the end of last month. The new guidelines give evidence-based nutritional recommendations “to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.” The guidelines include 23 Key Recommendations for everyone and 6 additional Key Recommendations for those with special needs. Some of these are:
- Enjoy your food, but eat less.
- Avoid oversized portions.
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals – and choose the foods with lower numbers.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
Last week, the Obama administration proposed major changes to the Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The new standards would be faithful to the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.