Sustainability / Innovation / Columns

Editor's Note: Come hell and high water

April 1, 2011
KEYWORDS FDA / globalization
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
As we have sadly learned, no one nation, person or business is immune from the wrath of Mother Nature.

Last month’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear disaster in Japan have given new meaning to the challenge of keeping the global food supply safe and have caused economists who predicted America was on the road to economic recovery to rethink their position.

While the chance of any contaminated food from Japan getting into North American markets is slim, the face of food safety has been altered by the fury of Mother Nature.  Neighboring nations such as South Korean are screening all imported Japanese foods, while Hong Kong has plans to source food from alternate suppliers.

The Japanese disaster has also caused America and other nations to rethink dependence on nuclear power and call for domestic nuclear plant inspections. Meanwhile legislators and the American public are asking what Uncle Sam is doing to protect his citizens from potentially affected foods and the air they breathe. According to FDA, foods from Japan make up less than 4 percent of foods imported from all sources. (In contrast, food products from Canada and Mexico each make up about 29 percent of all imported foods.)

New York Times and Wall Street Journal reports warn the lethal mixture of unprecedented uprisings in the Middle East, rising food and oil prices, and the lack of exported Japanese automobile, electronics and related parts and goods could undermine not only America’s economic rebound, but that of the entire global economy. If big business starts to slow job creation or halt capital expenditures because of the disaster, we’re in for a longer recessionary haul.

The good news is the resilience of the Japanese people to overcome the devastation, of course with a little help from the global community. Regardless of the outcome, it’s an excellent time for American business to reflect on its disaster preparedness and keeping our food supply chain safe every day, come hell or high water. As we have sadly learned, no one nation, person or business is immune from the wrath of Mother Nature.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Joyce Fassl, Editor-in-Chief

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Fabulous Food Plant: Paramount Citrus

Learn more about this fabulous food plant in Food Engineering's article, found here.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

What was your favorite part of FA&M 2014?

View Results Poll Archive


Food Engineering Magazine

Food engineering magazine 2014 april cover

2014 April

Catch a preview of the Powder and Bulk Show in this April 2014 edition of Food Engineering. Also, be sure to check out a coffee stick making a real stir and a major advancement in the the pet food industry.
Table Of Contents Subscribe


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!


Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.


FE recent tweets