Food Safety in America
In America, we take many things for granted such as the safety of the food we eat. We are also informed by the various government agencies that share responsibility for monitoring our food supply (Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture) that it is indeed safe and well regulated. For example, the Food and Drug Administration states, “For 100 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has protected the health of Americans by improving the safety of those components of the food supply the Agency regulates. Today, the U.S. food supply is one of the safest in the world” (Food Protection Plan Fact Sheet). Americans feel confident when they shop at a supermarket that the food they buy will be safe to eat because it is part of such a well regulated system. However, most Americans don’t realize that this claim of safety is a relative one based on the enormous size of America’s food supply system relative to the number of incidents of foodborne illness that occur each year. Americans do become sick and sometimes even die because of the food they eat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “While the food supply in the United States is one of the safest in the world, the CDC estimates 76 million people get sick, more than 300,000 are hospitalized, and 5000 Americans die each year from foodborne illness” (Food Safety Office). The food supply system in America may be one of the safest in the world, but there are definitely some holes in the safety net that Americans should be aware of before they conclude that everything in the food supply is safe. Many different types of bacteria can now be found in and on the food we buy, and it is now part of the consumer’s responsibility to take precautions in preparing and storing food to...
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