Are You Still Eating Your Peanut Butter?
Food safety is a very important issue in today's society. Each year, food sickens 76 million people in the United States, according to an April 2007 report by the Government Accountability Office (unknown, A16). Although this is a true statement, Americans have one of the safest food supplies in the civilized world. The United States Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) works closely with federal, state, and local agencies, private companies, and consumers to make it as save as possible with current regulations and guidelines (Acheson and Dewaal, 22).
There are many arguments over organic grown food versus conventionally grown food. Organic food consists of food products that are grown without the use of synthetic chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Organic grown foods provide far superior nutrients and contain a higher concentration of vitamins then those grown conventionally. This means organics are the healthiest and safest food choice. The United States most recent case of food safety was the outbreak of salmonella in peanut butter. In fact I just heard a cover story about it over the news. Over the past two years a peanut plant (Peanut Corporation of America) has been vending contaminated peanut butter that is causing the fatal disease salmonella. This occurrence has left eight people dead and several seriously ill. Officials at the Food20and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which have been investigating the outbreak of salmonella illness, said that Peanut Corporation of America found salmonella in internal tests a dozen times in 2007 and 2008 but sold the products anyway, sometimes after getting a negative finding from a different laboratory (Layton,2009).
Many of our fellow citizens are asking the question, is the government doing enough to keep us safe from allowing contaminated products to enter our food supply? The answer is a resounding yes. Several lawmakers have even suggesting stripping the watch dog agency of the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture of their inspection duties and giving them to a new independent agency. Our congress is under enormous pressure to take up major food-safety legislation this fall that would offer sweeping proposals for regulatory change. Even as bacterial outbreaks have become more high-profile and the financial fallout from recalls more severe, the government has been handing off many food-safety responsibilities to private industry. Likewise, having more bodies watching over food production could be a good thing, as long as they're fully qualified and properly resourced. The only entity with the independence and credibility to make that call, most experts say, is the federal government (Garber, 27-28).
The Bush administration asked Congress to give the Food and Drug Administration an additional $275 million in next year's fiscal budget to help improve the safety of the nation's food supply. With the added money, the Food and Drug Administration would open satellite locations in China, India and Central America thus providing more thorough inspections of food and medical products at their sources of production, Mr. Leavitt said. The Food and Drug Administration would also hire another 490 people in addition to hires the agency already planned.
Acheson, David, and Caroline S. Dewaal. "Is America's Food Supply Safe?" 1 Oct. 2007. Sirs Researcher. SIRS Knowledge Source. 10 Feb. 2009. Path: Food Safety.
Garber, Kent. "Food Safety's Dirty Little Secret." 15 Feb. 2008. SIRS Researcher. SIRS Knowledge Source. 10 Sept. 2009. Path: Food Safety.
Harris, Gardiner. "More Money for Food Safety Is Sought." 10 June 2008. Sirs Researcher. SIRS Knowledge Source. 10 Feb. 2009. Path: Food Safety.
Layton, Lyndsey. "Peanut Processor Knowingly Sold Tainted Products." 28 Jan. 2009. SIRS Researcher. SIRS Knowledge Source. 10 Feb. 2009. Path: Food Safety.
Unknown. "Making Food Safe." 4 Mar. 2008. Sirs Researcher. SIRS Knowledge Source. 10 Feb. 2009. Path: Food Safety.