Food safety remains one of the most controversial issues facing the U.S. society. Much has been written and said about the necessity of effective food regulations and government oversight. In the present-day context, only by improving government regulations on the food production system, the United States can reduce health care costs, and positively impact our health, our economy and our natural environment.
Food safety is a pending problem in the United States. Foodborne diseases impact millions of Americans around the world. Foodborne pathogens are responsible for every third case of acute gastroenteritis. Low quality foods, ultra-processed foods and unprocessed foods are potentially responsible for a broad array of chronic diseases that further increase the burden of costs on the national health care system. Genetically modified foods remain a matter of public concern since their impacts on individual and public health are largely unknown. Transgenic crops displace traditional farming practices and lead to serious environmental imbalances.
Today’s system of food regulations in the U.S. is built on the premise that the society knows everything about food risks, and these risks can be easily managed. Regulatory agencies and government organizations have shifted the responsibility for food regulations to manufacturers. Most GMO products lack effective labeling; as a result, consumers do not know what they are buying. In the latter half of the 20th century, more than 1,000 new food additives had been implemented without even notifying government officials. This state of affairs cannot benefit individuals and the society, in general.
Only a strong system of food regulations can help reduce the scope of food safety risks in the U.S. Regulations will motivate food manufacturers to invest resources in quality assurance systems and food research projects. Food regulations will make consumers more confident in their dietary choices while also reducing the incidence and prevalence of foodborne diseases and, as a result, the costs of health care. Food regulations will make the economy more balanced and improve the state of the environment, by managing the quality and quantity of transgenic crops. As the food industry continues to expand, effective food regulations will become a matter of continuous growth for the benefit of individual consumers and the entire society.