Food Safety for America Research Paper

Pages: 4 (1429 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Agriculture

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] However, others would counter that the food supply is growing safer, and the increase in recalls is a good thing, because it indicates that contagions are being caught before they can impact the lives of massive numbers of consumers. The Grocery Manufacturers Association says "it may look like the food supply is getting less safe, but it actually means that we're getting better at detecting the outbreaks" (Jana 2009). But critics note that the fact that American tables are now filled with foods 'sourced' from all over the world, which makes it more difficult for the food system to be appropriately regulated. Only the recently-passed food safety bill ensured that "imported foods would be subject to the same standards as those made in the United States" (Pollan & Schlosser 2010). Because of concerns about tampering and mislabeled products (such as less expensive fish packaged as those of a pricier variety "the FDA has opened offices in China and India to keep in closer contact with food producers there" (Jana 2009).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the safety of the meat supply, currently powerless to force manufacturers from recalling products, and can only exert pressure upon them to do so, given that the recent legislative reform only applies to the FDA. According to the USDA website: "Recalls are voluntary actions carried out by industry in cooperation with federal and state agencies. Products are recalled when found to be contaminated, adulterated, or misbranded" (Food safety, 2011, USDA). Several months ago, the U.S. had one of the largest meat recalls in its history, when "the food giant Cargill ordered the recall of 36 million pounds of ground turkey. The recall comes after at least one person has died of Salmonella, and another 76 have fallen ill" (Goodman 2011).

There are certain aspects of food safety that are very difficult to track, once contamination has taken place, even with the new powers accorded to the FDA. Many people may not go to their doctors, although they have been sickened, because their immune system is healthy enough so that their illness only causes mild discomfort. Other people may go to their doctors but may not make a connection between eating a specific product and their sudden onset of illness.

Still, certain reforms could make the food system demonstrably safer. First and foremost, there should be a single food safety agency and regulation pertaining to all foods, rather than the current divided system of powers between the FDA and the USDA. At present, the FDA can mandate recalls of peanut butter but the USDA cannot mandate recalls of turkey. Given that meat can be one of the most easily-contaminated products, a coherent system is demanded. Secondly, there should be an equally vigilant system of oversight about food safety facilities and procedures, to ensure that contaminations do not occur in the first place. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, particularly in the realm of food safety.

Should individual consumers feel safe? At minimum, consumers can try to wash their produce, use a meat thermometer to make sure that they cook their meat to the necessary temperature, and observe the proper sanitary guidelines when handling their foods. But these safety measures cannot prevent an eater from falling ill because of food eaten at a restaurant, eating packaged food like peanut butter, or even eating produce that was grown from a seedling in tainted water. While the recent Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2010 was a positive step forward, it is no panacea for fixing the current, broken food safety system.

References

Food safety. (2011). USDA. Retrieved November 29, 2011 at http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=FOOD_SAFETY

Goodman, Amy. (2011). 36 million pounds of Cargill turkey recalled as budget cuts weaken oversight of food safety. Alternet. Retrieved November 29, 2011 at http://www.alternet.org/food/151923/36_million_pounds_of_cargill_turkey_recalled_as_budget_cuts_weaken_oversight_of_food_safety/?page=entire

Jana. (2010). Why so many food recalls? NC Healthcare Coverage.

Retrieved November 29, 2011 at http://nchealthcarecoverage.com/blog/2009/06/30/why-so-many-new-food-recalls/

Schlosser, Eric & Michael Pollan. (2010). A stale food fight. The New York Times.

Retrieved November 29, 2011 at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/opinion/29schlosser.html?_r=2&emc=eta1

Suddah, Claire. (2010). How do you recall tainted food? Time. Retrieved November 29, 2011 at http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1998499,00.html#ixzz1f7SlEmvL [END OF PREVIEW]

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Food Safety for America.  (2011, November 29).  Retrieved December 15, 2018, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/food-safety-america-recent/5974931

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"Food Safety for America."  Essaytown.com.  November 29, 2011.  Accessed December 15, 2018.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/food-safety-america-recent/5974931.