Group 1

Group1 1 OUR FOOD SYSTEM After a long hard day of work you sit down in your comfortable recliner and open up your favorite snack. But when you reach into grab a piece, you pull out a dead bug. Suddenly many thoughts come into your mind, you wonder how did the bug get there and was it dead or alive. Is it harmful or carry a disease. You ask yourself did the bug come from the United States or another country and where was your snack made? As all these questions come into your head, you wonder who can give you the answers. Fortunately, the government thought about these conflicts and established several governmental agencies to protect Americans in food safety. These agencies are responsible for inspecting, labeling, marketing, and developing modern safety systems to test foods for diseases and bacteria. They also work with the local and state governmental agencies, farmers, and companies to ensure cleaner air, safer food, and pure water to protect the health and safety of Americans. The following agencies; Center for Disease Control (CDC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are the most significant federal agencies to help consumers make better choices in the products they buy.

All of them have a particular role in food safety, and by working together they make the foods we buy safer for consumption. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a government agency that was formed in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln. The purpose of forming the agency was to promote the rise of commercial farming. Many other Acts dealing with agriculture were drawn up over the years and eventually in 1939 the New Department of Agriculture was formed. President Franklin D. Roosevelt pushed the reform of the department through because of the Great Depression was having such a great effect on the farming industry.

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The new Department was formed from all of the Acts and old organizations within the Department and from the exit of a few agencies out of the Department. The United States Department of Agriculture in which we look at today has grown and evolved into a much more direct and consumer friendly government agency. The duties of the USDA is to research, regulate, and educate. The U.S. is always researching new farming techniques and different farming products that are involved in the whole process. They also regulate all farming products, to make sure that they are safe for the consumption by you and I. There are thousands of inspectors across the U.S. regulating the farms and factories in which the food is sold to.

Another duty of the USDA is to educate and inform the public of food safety. Because of the scares of improperly prepared food, the USDA must inform the public of different diseases that can be found in foods, especially meat and poultry supplies. They ensure that the food is safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled and packaged. The way in which they do so is hire thousands of inspectors and veterinarians conduct slaughterhouse inspections of all carcasses for diseases and other abnormalities. They also conduct processing inspections at plants to ensure proper sanitation and cleanliness. The USDA must also look at the imported food products because of the import-export inspection system.

The U.S. has one of, if not the safest food production in the world, so we must regulate everything that comes into the country. Just recently, there was a great example of how great our government is, even with the many shortcomings. President Clinton promised great changes in the inspection Group 1 2 process of the nation’s meat and poultry. On October 7, 1997 President Clinton and Congress passed a bill calling for the increase in meat and poultry inspections and production.

This was caused by the big scare this past summer, the outbreak of E coli bacteria in millions of hamburger meat, in a couple of fast-food chains. The inspection process will increase gradually over the next few years. Even though the inspection process has greatly improved, this still does not make it 100% guaranteed that there will not be small cases of outbreaks. The USDA urges you to make sure you properly cook your food, so that the chances decline. The USDA has a great importance in consumer services. The U.S.

government wants to look out for everyone across the U.S., the USDA started a Food and Consumer Services (FCS) program. Their purpose is to assist people across the country to ensure that no one will experience or fear hunger. They provide a safety net for people in need. Some of the programs are as followed: Food Stamp Program, Food Distributions for Indians, Supplement Food Programs for women, infants, and children, and School Breakfast Programs. The USDA serves many different purposes, most importantly regulation and education of food safety.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services that deal with food borne diseases. Today food-borne illnesses are getting a lot of press. Every second of every day someone is struck with food poisoning and 33 million suffer each year. There are also approximately 9,000 reported deaths a year. This is because of the unsafe food handling that seems to be becoming an epidemic.

There are many different types of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are either originally found in the food or they are transferred from an outside source, such as who the food was prepared by, that causes the illness (Wardlaw). When a person comes down with an illness that may have been linked to the food they have previously eaten, the CDC deals with the difficult detection of the microbe that may be involved. Looking at the source of the food, time when the symptoms arrived, and how long the illness lasted usually helps to identify the microbe involved. The following information show’s some of the characteristics of the major organisms that cause food-borne illnesses. The most commonly found organism to cause food poisoning is salmonella.

Salmonella can be spread through three common routes: (1) contaminated eggs and egg products as well as raw meats and chicken, (2) infected food handlers with feces-contaminated hands, and (3) marijuana contaminated with salmonella. The onset of symptoms develop from 5 to 72 hours after ingestion. Salmonella can cause nausea, fever, headache, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. It rarely kills, but the elderly and young are those most at risk. Salmonella is usually treated symptomatically and can be prevented through safe food handling, through cooking of foods, proper refrigeration, and avoiding cross contamination (Marieb). The next most prevalent food-borne illness causing bacteria is staphylococcus.

Staph. Can usually be found in nasal passages as well as in skin sores. It can be spread when someone sneezes or coughs over food or handles food while they have open sores on the skin. The toxin that is produced by the organism can develop when the food is left out for a long time at room temperature. The onset of the Staph. Illness occurs 2-6 hours after eating. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and abdominal cramps that Group1 3 last 24-36 hours and also is rarely fatal.

Safe food handling, proper food refrigeration and keeping cuts on the skin covered are all good ways of preventing Staph. Infections (Marieb). One of the organisms that are making news lately is called escherichia coli (e-coli). This type is not considered a serious food-borne illness in those countries where there are high sanitary standards and practices. However, it can still be spread through foods contaminated by infected food handlers as well as undercooked foods, especially meat and poultry.

Onset of the symptoms usually occur within 24 hours. These symptoms include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, low-grade fever, nausea, and malaise (CFSAN). Clostridim Perfringens or otherwise known as “cafeteria germ”, is most often associated with outbreaks involving the food service industry or any other such places that prepare large amounts of food. This organism lives throughout the environment, but thrives in anaerobic conditions where it is left at out room temperature. Symptoms are mild and last a day at the most and may consist of diarrhea and abdominal cramps. They occur 8-24 hours after eating, but averaging around 12 hours. To prevent the organisms from growing separate large leftover portions in order to lessen the amount of food in the warm temperature and oxygen-deprived areas.

Also thorough cooking and re-heating of foods is important in preventing c-perfringen bacteria growth (Wardlaw). The next bacteria can actually cause death, if not treated immediately. Botulism, the deadly illness, is caused by clostridium botulinum and can release a fatal toxin when grown. The bacteria are mostly found in canned foods, especially those found in the home. Checking cans for holes, rust on the seems, and swollen sides and tops can prevent ingesting the bacteria.

Just one string bean has enough toxin in it to kill a human being. Symptom can appear 12-36 hours after eating the contaminated food and are associated with impaired nerves. They include double vision, inability to swallow, speech difficulty, progressive paralysis of the respiratory system, and abdominal pain along with vomiting. Ten days of bed rest is usually the ultimate recovery period, if the person survives. The best ways to prevent botulism include using proper methods for canning low-acid foods, making sure nothing is wrong with a can, and by destroying the toxins (when the can is already opened) by boiling the contents for 20 minutes, but throwing away if toxins are suspected (Wardlaw).

Those organisms were a few of the many that cause food-borne illnesses. Viruses such as Hepatitis A and Rotavirus as well as certain parasites can cause food illnesses. Safe food handling, thoroughly cooking foods and re-heating the leftovers can prevent these as well as other bacteria and microbes from growing. Food contamination is a very important issue in today’s health news and being aware of what you are eating can prevent someone from food poisonings. Around two decades ago rapidly arising public concern of the environmental safety was in full-blown affect. It could have been said to be an “environmental decade” (Vig.

5). During the 1970’s the United States adopted many new environmental policies, procedures, laws, and created new institutions such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA was formulated to manage programs, and to find money in the government to increase spending for them. You find that most of the environmental quorums are public problems.

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