Home Environmental education Food Safety Concerns in the United States Top of NEHA ‘Key Environmental Health’ Statement

Food Safety Concerns in the United States Top of NEHA ‘Key Environmental Health’ Statement



The Denver-based National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) has researched and carefully crafted a series of new policy statements in response to concerns from environmental health professionals and industry.

Full policy statements are available at https://www.neha.org/government-affairs/neha-policy-statements. The NEHA represents more than 6,600 public, private, academic, and uniformed environmental health professionals in the United States and its territories and internationally.

Food security is one of the top elements of recently released NEHA policy statements, including:

  • Food Security: The current capacity for monitoring and surveillance of foodborne disease outbreaks is fragmented and insufficiently standardized across agencies and organizations that protect public health. In addition, the lack of traceability and transparency in the supply chain has made tracking epidemics more difficult and time consuming, leading to more illnesses, deaths and loss of money. The recommendations include improved technology for monitoring and response, education, accreditation and training of food safety regulators.
  • Vector control: Gaps in funding, research, and surveillance, coupled with increased contact between humans, animals, and the environment, make vector-borne disease prevention a challenge that the United States is not. not currently equipped to meet. NEHA’s recommendations include integrating the vector management framework outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Mosquito Control Association, and the World Health Organization, while also incorporating a One Health.
  • Well Water Quality Analysis: Over 15% of the population depends on a private well as their primary source of drinking water, for which there are no federal water quality requirements. Most states do not regulate the quality of water from private wells. NEHA recommendations include the implementation of local or national legislation requiring and regulating private well water quality testing – free or at low cost – and the collection and sharing of information on contaminants. identified in the region with the community.
  • Adoption of a Uniform and Integrated System of Food Safety: It is estimated that approximately 48 million people in the United States become ill each year from a foodborne illness contracted in the country. Among them, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. The economic impact of foodborne illness has been estimated at $ 152 billion per year for direct medical care and loss of quality of life. NEHA recommendations include adoption of latest Food and Drug Administration model Food code, consistent data reporting, use of an integrated food safety system, and training of food service personnel.

“One of our responsibilities is to bring the voice of the environmental health profession to the issues that our members and leaders have identified as concerns,” said David Dyjack, DrPH, CIH, executive director of the NEHA. “Our team of subject matter experts are able to conduct best practice research on behalf of local, state, territorial and tribal areas and provide recommendations on how to protect public health.”

Each statement has been verified by NEHA and adopted by the NEHA Board of Directors as official statements of the association. Policy statements are shared with local, state and federal policy makers, including executive and legislative branches and relevant environmental and public health councils. NEHA policy statements remain active for three years.

Other NEHA policy statements

  • Body Art: The current landscape of body art law is fragmented with inconsistent safety standards and professional requirements as well as a lack of enforcement mechanisms. The NEHA recommendations include strong legislation requiring that bodily performers be licensed and work in licensed facilities, that facilities have met clearance thresholds, and that an enforcement mechanism be in place.
  • Mosquito Control: Increasing urbanization, changing land use patterns, and expanding international travel and trade are bringing humans and animals into more frequent contact with mosquitoes, while the climate and d other environmental changes are also fueling their spread. There is not enough sustained and organized funding for mosquito control programs, which has led to nationally inconsistent and socio-economically biased programs. As such, the NEHA recommends incorporating the vector management framework outlined by the CDC, the American Mosquito Control Association, and the World Health Organization and establishing a national public health framework for prevention. and the control of vector-borne diseases in humans, as described by the CDC.
  • Role of environmental health in preparedness: Environmental health professionals play a critical role in public health preparedness, response and recovery to mitigate injury and illness during and after emergencies and disasters. NEHA’s recommendations include integrating environmental health into public health emergency preparedness and providing hands-on and competency-based training for environmental health professionals.

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