Food Technology’s Senior Editor and ingredients guru, Don Pszczola has published a list of the Top 10 Stories of 2010 in the Community section of ift.org. As an IFT member (login required) you can access his complete list in his blog—IngredienTalk. Here, Don shares with you an excerpt of the list. These are based solely on his opinions and observations as a food writer. The list appears in order of significance, once again the choices based on Don’s own views. Do you agree with Don’s top 5? What other stories from 2010 had an impact on your career?
Without further wait, (and with a flourish of drums), here is the top 5 from the list.
1. A Crude Awakening
On April 20, 2010, a deepwater oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded causing the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. What are the long-term consequences of this catastrophe? Some of the more immediate consequences on marine and wildlife, as well as the fishing and tourism industries, we have already seen. For the long-term consequences, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Will such a disaster happen again? The world harbors many other places suitable for deep water drilling and I’m sure man will in the near future (if not already) try to take advantage of these locations so that we can have a ready supply of oil. The disaster definitely provided a crude awakening, but if we view it as just a bad dream, one that is now over, then the future can hold even more devastating consequences, impacting not only our environment but our interconnected food supply.
2. The Passing (and Repassing) of the Food Safety Bill (That Still Hasn’t Passed, But Might Soon)
So here’s the current status of the food safety bill, known as the Food Safety and Modernization Act. The Senate passed the bill on November 30. However, the House said it contained fees that are considered tax provisions, and under the constitution, such legislation should have originated in the House. The House rewrote some portions so that the provisions to raise revenue come from the House. The slightly rewritten food safety bill is now part of a larger spending bill that the House passed and must be passed by Senate by the end of the year.
The food safety bill aims to make food safer in the wake of E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks in peanuts, eggs, and produce. The bill places stricter standards on imported foods, it requires larger producers to keep detailed food safety plans and follow stricter standards for keep food safe, and would emphasize prevention so FDA could try to stop outbreaks before they begin.
3. Not a Sweet Future
According to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of American adults with diabetes could double or triple by 2050 if current trends continue. This means that as many as one in three people could have the disease, primarily type 2 diabetes, compared to one in 10 with the condition now.
The CDC’s prediction is certainly a bleak one. It may even be more somber when you consider the number of people who have diabetes but haven’t been diagnosed yet. And the growing number of children (not even out of puberty yet) who already have the condition, once described as adult onset diabetes but whose name may have to be changed to reflect the new reality. But it is precisely because of this dark prediction and its implications that it is essential that we try to manage this problem before it is too late for our species. Despite its seriousness, type 2 diabetes can be controlled through proper diet, medication, and other lifestyle changes.
4. Cracking Down on Bad Eggs
An outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis led to a massive recall of about 550 million shell eggs in the United States. While national sales of eggs have reportedly bounced back since the events of the summer, the food recall triggered much discussion regarding ways to prevent future occurrences, including the need for FDA to have more authority to prevent outbreaks from starting. In the wake of outbreaks such as this one, the Food Safety and Modernization Act was created and may be passed before the end of the year.
5. Modern Education
According to The New York Times, Congress gave final approval on December 2 to a child nutrition bill that expands the school lunch program and sets new standards to improve the quality of school meals. The bill gives the Secretary of Agriculture authority to establish nutrition standards for foods sold in schools during the school day, including items in vending machines. The standards would require schools to serve more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Michelle Obama lobbied for the bill as a way to combat obesity and hunger. The bill was signed by President Obama on December 13.
Donald E. Pszczola
Food Technology magazine
Senior Associate Editor