Food safety and health standards have come a long way since the 1950’s – era of canned vegetables, tuna noodle casserole, and frosted meatloaf – but while America has seen a resurgence of organic products and health conscious media, we still need to continue to educate ourselves. As the public becomes more aware of chemicals, by products, and the ramifications of genetically modified foods, we have also learned the importance of food safety.
First let’s take a look at the 1950s and 60s. The 50s was the era of prefab food. The American housewife was a working woman after World War II and looking for faster alternatives to keep her family together at mealtime. Frozen foods slathered in canned sauces became standard. This decade was the breakthrough period for several Federal Department of Agriculture innovations. In 1954, the Miller Pesticide Amendment set safety standards for pesticides on raw agricultural commodities, ensuring better health for consumers. Four years later, in 1958, the Food Additive Amendment was passed, prohibiting the use of additives that caused cancer in humans or animals. By the time 1960 rolled around, casseroles were boring and people were interested in the more showy French foods (thanks to Julia Child) and began exploring vegetarianism. The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, passed in 1966, was the first to require that all consumer products be properly labeled.
The 1970s and 80s were a little more adventurous than the previous decades, with American cooks trying foods from different cultures and ethnicities. Having a formal family dinner was becoming more of a novelty with the rise of TV dinners, working parents and wild teenagers. In the 80s Betty Crocker was the queen of the kitchen. Her fast, easy dishes were frequently served in every American home. Food safety heralded a new decade with the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. Regulations were passed and previous amendments upheld in these two decades, making it a strong era for food health and safety standards.
Moving into the 1990’s and 2000’s, there has been a heightened focus on health standards, even for those with busy lifestyles. Consumers are seeking healthier alternatives at home and when dining out, looking for organically grown options, locally-sourced, and farm to table. With the doubling of obesity rates in America since the 1970s, there came a new wave of health conscious citizens. The government has done its part to try and ensure food safety, from establishing Nutrition Facts in 1992 to Obama’s Family Smoking Prevention Act. In modern America, however, it is still important for each individual and restaurant owners alike, to educate themselves on health and food safety.
Proper food handling is one of the most critical areas of food safety. Proper storage of foods, in quality containers with strong lids, is key to maintaining freshness, reducing the risk of cross-contaminating your foods, seal in vital nutrients and helps delay the aging process. Keeping your food properly stored ensures better nutrition for you and your family.
There are many preventative measures that can be taken to improve food integrity and food safety practices. Something as simple as the proper lid on a food pan can make a big difference. Visit Cambro’s StoreSafe site for more ideas on food safety practices.