The Apache Pow Wow

America Deserves Better Food Safety

Anncine Lin, Staff Writer

In March of this year, there was a new outbreak of illnesses caused by E. coli in irrigation canals that contaminated romaine lettuce. The lettuce was grown in Yuma, Arizona, and more than 200 Americans in 36 different states were infected with the pathogen. Although Congress passed some regulations regarding food safety in 2011, President Donald Trump’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) eliminated the water-testing rule six months before the E. coli outbreak, responding to pressure from the farming industry. The regulations would be suspended for at least four years. Even in light of these new illnesses and outbreaks, the FDA still hasn’t said a word. Food safety is something the government needs to address in order to preserve the safety of our country and the quality of the food that people eat.

As humans, we need food to survive. In addition, contaminated foods, especially those with pathogens such as E. coli, are life-threatening towards people. The main purpose of food is to give nutrients to your body and keep your body systems running. Contaminated food enters your body and attacks your body from the inside. In many cases, it is hard for people to fully recover from these sorts of illnesses since their organ systems are disrupted. Innocent people who are sickened also have to pay for things like health insurance and hospital bills.

It is not that hard to meet food safety regulations. In the most recent case of E. coli illnesses, the cause was unclean irrigation water. If a regulation was passed regarding clean water, the only thing that would need to happen is that the water would be tested. If it was deemed unclean, then it could be filtered before being used for plants or animals. The problem is that farmers and people in charge of irrigation systems are not willing to spend the extra money to filter the water, resulting in outbreaks throughout the country. Many of them believe that these regulations should not apply to things such as apples and other fruits and vegetables, which are less likely to carry pathogens like E. coli. Even though they are right, infected water can get on them and transfer the pathogen onto the surface of those foods. The only way to get rid of them at this point is to kill them by exposing them to temperatures higher than 160 degrees Fahrenheit, but most people, for example, won’t cook an apple at that temperature. They cut the apple, eat it, and the pathogen infects their body. Even though farmers might have to pay the extra money to purify the water used on crops, in the long run, they would get more profit from selling clean fruits. If they are stingy about the money they use to contribute towards food safety, eventually people would get paranoid and stop buying, which would hurt their business even more.

Lastly, regulations should be set to give people the sense that they are still protected by their government. If the FDA keeps fluctuating based on pressure from various kinds of people, the country would lose trust in them, along with what they deem as “safe foods”. People would be more cautious about the food they buy, instilling a new worry in their stressful lives. In addition, the fact that the government can suddenly take away regulations that protect the people just because a few farmers say so gives the farmers the most power in this situation when in reality the government should be the ones in control. The role of the government is to protect the people of its country, and it needs to be constant in its rules and regulations to keep the order and peace in a country.

In conclusion, President Trump’s FDA should consider bringing back the food and water safety regulations that they had suspended for four years, in order to fulfill its role of protecting and staying in control of the people in its country. People should not be sickened with the very thing that keeps them alive. Unsafe and infected food can have a fatal impact in many lives of the people in our country.

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America Deserves Better Food Safety