When you go to the store to buy things you need; how often do you think about what goes during its production?” Well, rarely!! And that’s one of the many loopholes present in public health safety.
We consumers barely think about how our food is produced and that’s benefitting the large food industries which are inclined towards making more money than considering the safety of consumers’ health. As a consumer, we have every right to know what goes into the making of our food. For example, are they feeding antibiotics to the animals that are used for meat production, or are they using tons of pesticides during the production of vegetables and fruits? If yes then what are the frequency, doses, and timing of those antibiotics and pesticides, and what are the consequences of using those chemicals; would it lead to rising of some serious antibiotics’ resistance microorganisms such as Salmonella heidelberg.
Besides knowing what goes into the production of our foods, we also need to be aware of what standard precautions are applied during the productions such as are they using gloves while handling the raw meats and how often do they clean their processing plants. Large industries like Foster farms, which are equipped with big types of machinery are likely to not focus on cleaning its tool every day. The competition among big food industries makes them focus more on production and very little or none on cleanliness and safety. Not only large food industries even small fast food chains violate the rules and go undetected.
Last summer while I was working for a subway restaurant, I noticed that the expired drinks and waters used to be only removed around the week when we knew there is going to be a health inspector coming around.
Most of the food industries don’t even meet the standard requirements set by law and the food inspectors are not able to catch every instance of unsafe practices being committed in these plants.
Microorganisms are ubiquitous and invisible and different microorganisms have different infectious doses which makes it harder to control when an outbreak happens.
According to Erik Millstone; a food safety expert at Sussex University the risks of spreading infectious pathogens through foods and resulting in outbreaks of infectious food poisoning are significantly higher in the US than in any other developed countries.
Food industries like many other industries use marketing to attract customers. They use celebrities to target consumers. Researches have shown that the use of celebrity endorsements in marketing enhances desirability and products.
When you see your favorite celebrity/ athlete endorsing a certain brand of cigarette or eating chicken nuggets from MacDonald's, you start craving for those and tend to forget that they might not even use or eat that product after endorsement. The descriptive study conducted by Marie A. Bragg and her colleagues demonstrates that celebrities often endorse energy-dense, nutrients poor products which is one of the main causes of obesity; one of the detrimental public health issues.
It is a well-known fact that big industries don’t want to spend extra money to improve the quality of their food as it might lead to the loss in their benefits. So, they continue to violate the rules but, you may wonder why is the government doing nothing to control these violations? It is because the government favors the economy over public health. They consider that industry is providing employment opportunity and government like food industries desire for more cost-benefit ratio so they incapable of doing anything even when people’s health is in danger. We as a consumer need to be aware of what we are buying and what are the risk factors that come along with the products bought. Be careful next time when you see an advertisement and start craving for the food that Justin Timberlake is shown eating and claims to be healthy.