Insights & Actions for Healthy Living
5 Food Safety Champions Working to Keep Us Safe

5 Food Safety Champions Working to Keep Us Safe

There are people and organizations that are advocating for our health and safety on a daily basis.

They worry about the food we and our families eat at and away from home.

Champions have been working hard for the health of our food supply, realizing that what we eat can make us sick, for centuries!

Historic Timeline of Food Safety Improvement

People have advocated for food safety for centuries! Here is an interesting timeline highlighting the evolution of food safety that shows how far we’ve come.

  • President Abraham Lincoln created the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1862.
  • In 1883 a chemist, Harvey Wiley, was appointed as chief chemist at the USDA and devoted his career to public awareness of adulterated foods. He promoted the creation of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, also known as the Wiley Act.
  • President Harrison signed a law establishing the inspection of meat products, which included salted pork, bacon, live cattle, and beef products being exported.
  • Publication in 1904 of Upton Sinclair’s revelation of the worker abuses and meat conditions in the Chicago meatpacking industry called The Jungle which led to meat inspection regulations.
  • In 1927 the USDA Department (Bureau) of Chemistry became the Food, Drug and Insecticide Administration and in 1931 was renamed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • In 1938 Congress passed the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act giving the FDA the authority to issue food safety standards.
  • In 1957 Congress passed the Poultry Products Inspection Act mandating inspection before and after slaughter, clean facilities, and adequate labeling of poultry products.
  • In 1970 the Egg Products Inspection Act began inspection of liquid, frozen, and dried eggs. The FDA is responsible for safety of shell eggs.
  • In 1996, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) created the Pathogen Reduction/HAACP program to reduce pathogens in raw foods.
  • The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was enacted in 2011 by President Obama giving the FDA more authority to regulate food safety practices.

Inspections of our food continues today by governmental agencies, not only for contaminants (chemical, physical, biological), but also proper labeling standards, humane animal treatment, and clean facilities.

All inspection programs help to reduce the potential of contamination in our food supply, resulting in reductions in foodborne illness for consumers.

5 Champions for Your Food Safety

Throughout the course of history, as our government food safety programs and regulations were being formed and currently, ‘champions’ have worked toward the improvement in food safety of our food supply and the protection of consumers.

Here are five champions who strive (or, in the case of one, did in the past) to keep our food safe and increase our knowledge through education so that we can guard ourselves against foodborne illness every day.

Henry J Heinz

Did you know the safety of ketchup led one food manufacturer to become a champion?

Henry J. Heinz, an industrialist food manufacturer, was unhappy with the state of food bottled back in the 20th century. At that time, all food had ingredients that were undisclosed, including sawdust, but also were dangerous due to spoilage. To avoid spoilage, chemicals like borax and dyes were randomly added to make a product that would be more appealing to consumers without their knowledge. They had no idea what they were consuming.

Mr. Heinz felt this was wrong. As a young man selling vegetables and other food items such as horseradish, he insisted they be put in clear glass so that his customers could see what they were buying. All other foods at the time were sold in colored glass that obstructed the contents.

In an effort to advance his dream, he hired an underpaid government chemist by the name of Wiley to help him create healthy food and ketchup.

Wiley had been fighting against adulteration of our food supply for many years.

Heinz, a pure food advocate, had to fight food manufacturers for our food safety because they did not want to change the way they did business and were unconcerned about safety. His factory was so clean he allowed public tours to show off his commitment to change.

Heinz was also on a mission to be the first preservative-free food manufacturer so searched for ways to achieve this, including growing his own vegetables in greenhouses and testing recipes that would be more shelf stable.

His commitment to championing food safety helped pass the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.

Detective FoodSafe®

Yes, championing food safety and increasing consumers awareness about what is and how to avoid foodborne illness is the mission of Detective Foodsafe®.

Detective Foodsafe has worked diligently to investigate ways where all of us can learn the gaps that could trip up our health.

Buying, preparing, serving, storing, and handling food in our own kitchen, as well as staying healthy when you choose to eat outside of the home in a variety of settings, are all topics that Detective Foodsafe covers to help us learn more about foodborne illness and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Detective Foodsafe also helps us navigate the seemingly ever-increasing food recalls that can endanger the health of our families and pets.

Check out Detective Foodsafe’s investigations and tips!

Food Safety Magazine

Food Safety Magazine is a publication that strives to put forth science-based information and the latest news about everything related to food safety, including food recalls, industry news, technology, current investigations and outcomes and items of interest to consumers and industry experts.

They also produce a podcast, Food Safety Matters, in which experts in food safety are interviewed and discussion ensues around a multitude of food safety topics. Each episode features “a food safety professional sharing their experiences and insights of the important job of safeguarding the world’s food supply.”

Partnership for Foodsafety Education

According to their website, the “non-profit Partnership is a catalytic leader in health education and a trusted partner to consumers and health educators” – champions to reduce the spread of foodborne pathogens.

True champions educate consumers on food safety practices to avoid foodborne illness.

Using the Fight BAC platform, they educate consumers about food safety and reach millions of consumers each year.

Proper handwashing and their core four principles — Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill are messages consumers are encouraged to follow.

Local and Federal Food Inspectors

Front line champions who work to inspect all places where food is grown, processed, manufactured, transported, imported, prepared, handled, and served across the continuum of the food chain.

They are invested in protecting our health and enforce government regulations to keep our food supply safe to eat.

They investigate reports of safety breaches in our food supply and alert us when our food supply is contaminated.

Boards of health inspectors keep food service facilities and restaurant kitchens clean to prevent cross contamination and time/temperature abuse that can lead to food poisoning.

These people and organizations espouse the definition of a champion:

a person who fights or argues for a cause or on the behalf of others

They fight for our health and to avoid the risk of foodborne illness for all consumers.

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