Farr called Syscos food storage practices a huge violation of public trust. Were very concerned because this Sysco problem violates the trust the growers have in growing the safest food in the world and the producers of meat and poultry in abiding by the federal laws that are the toughest in the world, Farr told NBC Bay Area The problem is the handlers and what happens in the time it leaves the security of the grower or producers and gets to the restaurants. Farr said the NBC Bay Area investigation exposed a major flaw in food handling practices by a company that should be an industry leader. I think this is going to require the transportation industry and the handling industry to upgrade those protocols and if they wont do it themselves then government will do it for them, Farr said. The problem is one food safety experts have warned about for years, calling for stronger enforcement to protect food as it travels from farm to fork. Everyone has to start questioning whats going on in the industry, food safety expert Dr. John Ryan told NBC Bay Area. Ryans company TransCert trains and certifies food distributors on proper food handling. He said theres no federal certification for this process. Instead, its up to each company to develop its own chain of safety, which can lead to corner cutting. When food enters a transportation arena, it basically becomes invisible. Nobody knows where it is. Nobody knows what conditions its being shipped under, Ryan said. Farr said there ought to be steep penalties for companies that violate food safety laws and put public health at risk. There are millions of illnesses by food-borne diseases every year.
Recently the buzz centered on food waste, methane release, and the impact on global climate. Last spring it was dead pigs in Chinese rivers . As any reader of Michael Pollan knows, there are dozens of ways that our food system and our environment are deeply intertwined. Most estimates conclude that approximately 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions stem from activities related to growing, processing, and consuming food. Nearly half of all groundwater withdrawals are used to irrigate our crops. So, why does my interest in this relationship leave my friends and students so perplexed? For reasons that are obvious only to me I followed up my PhD in Earth Science with a Masters of Public Health in Nutrition. My professional interests lie at the intersection of environmental science and public health. To me that intersection is a large, interesting, and critically important place. Yet, whenever I say those words I invariably get a lame attempt at a joke about helping rocks to lose weight. Or wondering if breastfeeding is best for Mother Earth. In my course entitled Human Impact on the Environment, I begin with the argument that nothing has impacted people’s relationship with the environment more than agriculture and our food systems.
Using Food to Teach About the Environment — and Vice Versa
Fast-food drive-thrus are getting slower and slower. (Photo: Photodisc/ Getty Images) Fast-food drive-thrus are getting slower and slower Too many complicated products are slowing things down Also, chains are trying to keep orders more accurate SHARE 505 CONNECT 146 TWEET 19 COMMENTEMAILMORE As if the fast-food industry doesn’t have enough headaches, now it’s got a new one: It’s getting too slow. Never mind that its first name is “fast.” The amount of time that consumers are spending waiting in lines at fast-food drive-thru windows is getting longer, not shorter, mostly due to the growing complexity of new products that the major fast-food chains are selling. This, according to 2013 Drive-Thru Performance Study conducted for QSR Magazine, a fast-food industry trade publication. The study, to be released today, also says that industry giant McDonald’s posted its slowest-ever drive-thru time in the 15-year history of the drive-thru study requiring an average 189.5 seconds for the typical drive-thru customer to go from order to pickup. That’s roughly nine seconds longer than the industry average, reports the study conducted this summer by Insula Research. The importance of the drive-thru business to the $299 billion fast-food industry cannot be overstated. Many major chains do 60% to 70% of their business at the drive-thru. That’s even nudged so-called fast-casual chains like Panera to move into the drive-thru arena and increase the number of drive-thrus it opens. The industry issue that’s slowing down service: menu bloat. Fast food’s ongoing market-share battle is forcing big chains to roll out more premium and more complex products more often. “The operational pressures to assemble those items are slowing down the drive-thru,” says Sam Oches, editor of QSR. For example, Taco Bell told QSR that its Cantina Bell bowls sometimes have up to 12 ingredients which are much more complex to assemble than, say, a Doritos Locos Taco. There’s another factor at work, too: accuracy.