By: AALIYAH MINNIEWEATHER
Eating out and purchasing snacks is a meal staple in America. There are many nights where us Americans don’t feel like cooking breakfast or dinner, or just have to be somewhere in a hurry and have to buy some food along the way. They may stop at McDonalds, or at Wendys, or at Taco Bell, or at a gas station like Loop or 7-11 to buy some Oreos, some donuts, or some slushies. When I thought about all of the fast food chains and food brands there were after asking for some gift cards from my favorite joints for Christmas, I actually began to wonder what the perceived role of the food industry was as of today. Is it positively or negatively contributing to our economy? Is it still positively or negatively impacting our health and well-being? Do we eat it too often? Does it give some of its many earnings to the government? Does the government actively have a say in how it’s run?
For one, the food industry still seems to be a source for wayward eating habits and certain illnesses for Americans. An article published by This View Of Life in March of this year, titled “How and Why The Food Industry Makes Americans Sick” and written by Anthony Biglan, says, “There is a large and growing literature on the problems with the American diet and the role the food industry has played in the problem. A recent analysis estimated that more than 500,000 Americans die each year due to un[healthy] eating habits.” The author of the article also went on to acknowledge that these problems especially occur in children, as childhood obesity still is very much a problem. Basically, parents need to take into big consideration what exactly they feed their children, and how often they feed certain foods to them. Mr. Biglan also made it a point in the article to say that these food companies actively target children when selling their products, so that’s why these problems are present with children. I definitely agree that childrens’ diets should be monitored more closely.
One of the other ways food can affect our health is the quality of production before it’s able to be purchased. In another article titled, “How Our Food System Affects Public Health”, published by FoodPrint under a segment called ‘Food Safety and Animal Agriculture’, it is written that, “Slaughter and processing facilities are particularly prone to bacteria spread. If improperly handled, fecal matter can spread to tables or tools or to the meat itself. Production speeds in processing plants can be difficult for workers to take the necessary care to prevent contamination. Along with production line speeds, the centralization of slaughter and processing facilities is a major culprit in contamination outbreaks.” In some cases, food factories are so quick to ship off their food and make a quick buck that sometimes they don’t double check to make sure the food is clean, if the animals or sources the raw food came from had any diseases or other unhealthy shortcomings, or how much of something is the proper amount to serve the public so they that they don’t over consume. I think that the food factories and manufacturers need to be investigated more often than they already are (at least twice a month or more) to really ensure these concerns are efficiently handled.