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Major Issues in the United States Food Supply - Essay Example

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The author of this essay entitled "Major Issues in the United States Food Supply" touches upon the issue of the food supply in the USA. According to the text, food safety is vital to the safety of the food sector and health of American consumers. …
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Major Issues in the United States Food Supply
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Download file to see previous pages Despite these measures, outbreaks do occur, requiring swift intervention by the regulating agencies to control the damage and take action against those responsible. This includes product recalls, issuing health warnings, and taking legal action against the persons guilty of negligence or intentional breach of safety. The following paragraphs highlight some of the main issues in ensuring food safety in the United States. The United States food supply has seen a number of high-profile outbreaks in the recent past. Such outbreaks result in disease, hospitalization and even deaths in some extreme cases. Ever since the threat of terrorism against American citizens, the government has become increasingly sensitive to issues of food safety and outbreaks, and such incidents are responded to swiftly. Certain examples can serve to illustrate the nature of food supply issues in the United States. In April 2012, there was an outbreak of Escherichia coli in 11 states. Around 29 people were infected and seven were hospitalized as a result of consuming infected clover sprouts (Deloitte, 3). At times, such outbreaks also lead to large-scale product recalls announced by government authorities. In November of 2012, peanut butter manufactured in a Minnesota factory was infected by a Salmonella strain. As a result, 42 people were infected and the FDA recalled the product from 20 states across the United States. The Regulation of Imported Food Products An important issue in the food supply safety of the United States is the role of national as well as international produce. The United States is a big importer of food products including meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, and so on. While there are food safety standards in force in the United States, other countries may be following standards and regulations that are less stringent. Therefore, the challenge for the United States is to strike a balance between meeting the demand for food products in the country while ensuring food safety in the supply chain. A case in point is the meat recall of 2012 where 2.5 million pounds of beef imported from Alberta in Canada had been infected by E. coli. Canada is still the largest food exporter to the United States, making up 19.8% of its total food imports in 2012 (Deloitte, 4). The European Union, China, Mexico and Brazil are other large food importers to the country. Smuggling of food into the United States is another major issue in food safety. Smuggled food enters undetected into the food supply, which prevents it from being inspected for pathogens and other contamination by the relevant agencies. Smuggled food is thus likely to be of a poorer quality and a great threat to the health of people in low income groups. An anti-smuggling strategy has been developed by the FDA and other agencies. The role of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is essential in the prevention of food being smuggled across the border (FDA, 2013). Food is usually smuggled across the Mexico border because it allows the smugglers to avoid paying import taxes and sidestep inspection. However, this could result in undetected pathogens making their way into the United States food supply and posing a threat to the health and well-being of consumers.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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