Free «Food Pollution in the United States» Essay Sample

Throughout the world there are various types of pollution that interfere with the quality of life for all living creatures, one of them is the food pollution which is known to be a way of polluting food especially through contaminating it by technology processing. United States of America being known as the superpower in the world is also the largest consumer and producer of processed food products in the world. The manufacturing industry over the years has been dominated by large-scale and capital intensive corporations. It is estimated that, America has 17,000 food manufacturing facilities hence the increase of social problems or issues among the America citizens (Pagman, 2011). Processed food production in America has left unquestionable doubts among the citizens whom unknowingly digest unknown chemicals and genetically modified foods which are normally done through modern biotechnology or gene technology after being created from Genetically Modified Plants. This processed food has left a lot of concern about the health and safety of the consumer because whatever technology that is being performed while processing this kind of food with chemicals such as FD&C Red Dye #3, Butylated hydroxyanisole, benzoic acid, acetone peroxide, diacetyl, polysorbate 80 and potassium Bromate , it affects both the human health and environmental health (Essman, 2010).

For instant, the main issues of food pollution among the American citizens are Allergenicity condition that is considered to be a transfer of genes from commonly allergenic foods. With this result, the cells of the body may be adversely affected by gene transfer from the GM foods which may cause a lot of regrets especially if the consumption of GM food may be of risk to human health.

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Another concerning issue has been the out crossing way whereby there is transfer of genes from GM plants into natural plants. The method has been known to be risk also especially to the food safety and the food security (Pretty, 2002). All this issues has bared the greatest concern among the American consumers whom not only don't take precautions but continue embracing this kind of the concern that at later stage, do affect their health and that of the environment.

The Studies which has been conducted over a period of time shows that, in average, more than 70 million cases of food-borne illnesses (A disease caused by consuming contaminated food or drink) occur in the United States every year resulting in approximately 5, 000 deaths per year because of the food pollution (Davis, 2009). The companies dealing with those kinds of processed foods increase the risk of pathogens i.e. Coli and Salmonella that causes the above illness among the consumers. This has become a concern with researchers wondering the kind of effects that is being caused on dependent on foreign aids from the first world countries. Most of this people who are poor from this foreign aided countries suffer too much food pollution since their food production are not properly monitored by quality control agencies for lack of budget and the populace are not well informed regarding to the bad effect of eating polluted food. Not only are the foreign aid countries receiving this but also other citizens who normally purchase their products all over the world. This people do not have the slightest idea that most of the foods in the shelves of the supermarkets are polluted through processing by biotechnology.

Over a thousands years ago, most people preferred traditional food which was considered to be safe and healthier with its nutrients intact. No diseases were being reported during that period. In fact traditional foods were considered to be the medicine that boosts ones health. Over the years later, this trend has changed (Hoban, 2004). Consumers no longer take traditional foods other than foods from supermarkets which are naturally developed leading to alteration of important nutrients which are found in the food and they are considered to be important in ones health. The alteration can be of a either a positive way or the vice versa. For instance, the milk found in the supermarkets', most of them are organic which has got low saturated fats hence turning out to be bad for the human health and a higher level of fatty acids.

Depending on the region of the world, people have often had different attitudes towards food. In addition to nutritional value, food often has societal and historical connotations, and in some instances may have religious importance but in United States of America, this attitude or trend towards technological modification of food and food production among the American citizens has been going on ever since and few consumers take precaution about the health issues that may affect their health and that of the environment. All that American citizens want are "fast foods" and it should be immediate, cheap, with lots of varieties (Essman, 2010) and it because of this, there have been a big expansions of flavors and food elements, new ingredients such as artisanal breads and cheeses, specialty fruits, vegetables and meats in the supermarkets' shelves. New dining experiences and greater food knowledge among the population has caught the attention of many who are busy investing in the processed food for their on benefit hence consumers engaging themselves in health nutrition problems through food pollution.

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On the other side, farmers have not been happy with the consumption of genetically modified foods among the Americans. They have been having lots of difficult in preventing GMOs from migrating into their fields. Reasons being, companies processing those foods have been convincing consumers to buy their products hence leaving farmers with no choice other than being paid less by this companies (Pretty, 2002). That's why it has been estimated that, the number and location of resource to the poor farmers vary considerably, the estimation given out shows that about 1.9 billion to 2.2 billion people remain directly or indirectly by modern technology. With the increase of change in industrialization of agriculture, farmers have remained to be very poor with their traditional and subsistence methods (Altieri, 2003).

The general public has also been thrown into a limbo of debate especially the issue of biotechnology and the consequences behind it in the society. This has created a big impact on the marketing of the GM products across the continent. This has led to the delay or suspension of approving of GM products to be supplied to the market. Marketing of GM foods has resulted to thorough discussion on the delay of GM products across the continent among the legislation (WHO, 2007).

A part from the general issues such as cost, benefits and safety issues, issues such as labeling and traceability of GM food has also become a consumer concern. To address this concern, it has been agreed that there is need for harmonization of views concerning risk assessment. This outcome of the debate differs from the Americans to the other nations. Discussions held among the members of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, there were no agreements made on the way to address the consumer issues and concerns and consequently, there has been significant progress on the adjustment of information related to risk assessment. Codex Alimentarius Commission is also planning to establish with some rules concerning premarket risk assessment, and the supply of the Cartegena Protocol on Bio-safety which is meant to promote the global understanding (Essman, 2010).

It is because of this reason that there is need to address the issue of food safety especially those one derived from biotechnology which needs to be assessed carefully. To achieve this kind of goal, there is need to come up with new methods and policies to assess such kinds of food so that they can become acceptable internationally. What should be put into consideration is the weighing of potential risks and benefits of the health and its implications especially those that had not received much attention in the past (Davis, 2009). Foods with allergens removed or food with an increase of essential nutrients are possible examples of the former, while anti-microbial markers in some genetically modified foods have been suggested to be an example of the latter (WHO, 2007).

Communication though campaigns, seminars, media should be embraced since this issue has never been put into consideration both in America and internationally before. For a few years, the public perception of biotechnology has been observed and it has been noted that a lot, some, a little or nobody has the idea of biotechnology. This is very embarrassing because adoption of any technology should start with public awareness. With this public unawareness, several notable trends have been observed about the biotechnology in the United States. . For the first half of the 1990s, awareness remained rather low at about one-third. It hit a peak in 1997 when a survey was conducted soon after the news about Dolly, the cloned sheep. After that awareness dropped until May 2000, then began rising again, reaching a peak of 53 percent awareness in June 2001. Since then awareness has dropped again as other issues dominated the public agenda in the US (Hoban, 2004).

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There is also need for globalization of trade in food, urbanization, changes in lifestyles, international travel, environmental pollution, deliberate contamination and natural and man-made disasters to be addressed so as to ensure food safety among the American citizens. The processes being involved during this production processes has got a long chain hence becoming more complex, hence high increase in contamination and growth of pathogens.

Another risk which needs to be observed is the idea of adding low levels of antibiotics to animal feeds to enhance there faster growth. This has raised some concern about the transfer of antibiotics resistance to human pathogens from this practice which are meant t provoke some diseases in human health. In the US with the modern intensive agricultural practices in place, they have decided to contribute fully to the increase of the availability of the affordable foodstuffs and the use of food additives which are meant to improve the quality, quantity and safety of the food supply. But this can not be achieved if appropriate measures are not put in place during the food processing methods. There is need for through monitoring of pesticides, veterinary drugs and food additives for safety measures among the citizens.

It's because of this reason that in most cases, National food authorities have been involved to assess genetically modified foods. This differentiates itself with the traditional foods which were never assessed at all in the ancient years because people had faith in the traditional food. The modern assessment can be proved by the way in which most of the systems have been put in place for exhaustive evaluation of GM foods relating to both human health and the environmental health.

It is because of this happenings that World Health Organization (WHO) have decided to come out with the beneficial idea of WHO Food Safety Programme which is to provide some assistance so as to identify those foods that are meant to be the subject on risk assessment, and to recommend the correct assessment (WHO, 2007). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are among the organizations which are providing them with such assessment.

This assessment process will include a way of evaluating the characteristics of the GMO and the effects it has and its stability to the environment and ecological characteristics of the environment. Also included will be unanticipated consequences resulting from the use of the new gene.

In the context of the use of gene technology in medicine, WHO has also decided to review the conflict between the rights of the farmers and an equal access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits. In this evaluation, possibilities of monopolization and the doubts over new patent regulations in the field of human medicine have been put into consideration Even though such considerations are likely to affect the debate on GM food especially from industries that have been in the forefront of the campaigning of their genetically modified products (WHO, 2007).

In conclusion, one needs to note that, initially, Genetically Modified seed developers' main aim was their products to be accepted by producers and with this acceptance, new methods have been implemented so that any food industry more generally would appreciate. That is why genetically modified foods have been supplied world-wide and they are found everywhere. All agricultural products sold in the markets are normally produced with the use of chemicals for example, use of synthetic fertilizer (to enhance plant growth) and pesticides (control pests and diseases infestation), domestic animals have not been left behind either, they are being injected with antibiotics to enhance their growth (Altieri, 2003). It is because of these factors that the general public should be aware of the dangers imposed to their health with these kinds of chemicals and antibiotics. They should adhere and push to some methods to avoid this kind of food pollution by doing so; they should ensure strict implementation of laws that ensure chemically synthetic fertilizers are not used in the production of foods and hence they should promote the use of natural ways, antibiotics and pesticides are followed to the latter. Strict monitoring of the laws that govern the production of foods and their implementation should be accomplished and supported by American citizens.

Public awareness should be in the fore front of every local government leaders to motivate their subjects. The power of campaigns through advertisement, the media and seminars should be enhanced to increase the awareness of the implications of some genetically modified foods especially those that are not fully assessed. This could open the eyes of those citizens with no idea about food pollution that the government of the day is fully serious in its drive to make the health of its citizens safe and also protecting the environment free from food pollution that may result in affecting their health or endangering the lives of the concerned parties (WHO, 2007). Waste disposal of food or any other material that poses risk to the environment should also be managed.  Rules and regulations concerning food production and the disposal of waste products should be adhered to and heavy penalties should be accorded to any citizen caught going against such rules and regulations. Disposal systems or bins should be put in place and strategically for easy access to disposing the waste foods. These regulations should be put into place by the government of the day.

Following these recommendations above, all the concerned parties should be aware of food pollution and its effects and how to control the pollution to a manageable proportion hence benefiting all the parties.

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