Should the Safety of Our Food Supply Concern You?

pig-farming-the safety of our food
How safe is your food source?

 

Unlike years ago when farmers grew food the old-fashioned way, what was served on our tables was healthier and closer to what nature intended.  Of course, technology does not stand still and changed lives for all of us.  While better for maximizing profits, our high-tech agribusiness is hardly better for the average consumer with all the outbreaks of foodborne illness and contamination that keeps happening on a regular basis with an estimated 76 million illnesses per average year.  Therefore, how worried should each of us be in regard to the safety of our food supply?

Food Safety Between Global and Domestic Food Production

 

You might want to remember that we have a global food supply and trade with countries of all sizes and economic conditions.  Quite a few of our trading partners are poor countries with unhealthy conditions whereas diarrhoea affects about a third of their population.  Those microorganisms can pass directly onto us, making a domestic grown problem worse.  This is just one example.

Technology and Convenience Linked to Food Safety

In addressing the need for convenience for busy working families, a few major players in the farming business devised bagged salads for lettuce and spinach.  These are prewashed greens that are meant to be safer, but are they really?  The reason this method of preparation may be dangerous is because the greens are harvested at a much younger stage.  Lettuce, spinach or other greens mature  the traditional way and have longer leaves that limit the passage of Listeria, salmonella or E. coli compared to a more vulnerable leaf from an immature plant.

All it takes is just a couple of heads of contaminated lettuce, chopped and then distributed through other bags to cause an outbreak or even death.  Once contaminated, these harmful bacteria cannot always be cleaned.  However, you can wash your greens in a basin with water and a tablespoon or two of vinegar.  Afterwards, wash your hands carefully for least twenty seconds before touching your greens and rinsing them with fresh water a second time.

Locally Grown Food Could Improve Food Safety

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a community garden where you lived?  Many people don’t have the space or the need to grow their own fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs.  Yet, many others may like to have a hobby and tend the garden.  It would be a great way to meet your neighbors and share food and expenses for planting the garden.

The Food Safety of Growth Promoting  Hormones and  Antibiotics in Meats

 

Factory farming of livestock means more animals crammed together to maximize profits.  In order to ward off infections and stimulate growth faster, the industry has widely used antibiotics in our meats.  The problem is that the animals are receiving the same penicillin or tetracycline that humans also depend on when prescribed, which can later come back to haunt us.  How feeding antibiotics to animals can hurt us is that bacteria have a tendency to survive and mutate.  There is always a possibility that a strain of bacteria can become resistant to those antibiotics that might be one day end up in your grocery stores or market.  If you happen to cook meat that is resistant to those antibiotics from a sick animal, then the antibiotics you might be given could fail.

Cooking Meats Thoroughly Can Lower the Risk of Potential Illness and Help Food Safety

 

Unless the animal is sick, you can normally avoid illness from consuming meats when cooked at the proper temperatures.  Therefore, it is extremely important to use a thermometer to check temperatures first before serving.

According to the USDA, meats basically need an internal temperature of between 145-160 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the variety. For example, ground beef and eggs need to be cooked to 160-degrees Fahrenheit.  Poultry should register at 165-degrees Fahrenheit.  Steaks, pork chops and roasts must be cooked to 145-degrees.

National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System Is  Hope for the Future 

There is still a lot of lead way for those that raise cattle, hogs, poultry when it comes to the amounts of antibiotics and hormones the animals are fed.  The reason for this is because those business owners are not required to disclose by law what drugs and dosage were used before going to market.  Therefore, data of the precise effect of health and the link to those drugs are still being studied.  Nonetheless, the government established an agency called the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System just to regularly test bacteria from animals, people and the meats we consume for resistance to some common drugs, which is a hopeful beginning.

What We May Be Risking With Genetically Modified Plants In Regard to Food Safety

Corn and soy were big crops that are now genetically modified for their added value for the manufacturing of processed foods.  After all, the chemical engineers can alter the plants old DNA and make it stronger from insects feeding and other chemicals it may usually be subject to.  When you change the plant’s structure, you also change how a body will respond to the altered food.  This modification could spur new allergies in certain people.

Though as alarming as that thought may be, it is even worse when seeds are modified not to be grown again just for the sake of profits.  With all the hunger in the world, why would anyone think of such a thing?

Does This Mean Organic Offers the Safest Food?

Turning to foods labeled “organic” does not necessarily mean that they are totally healthy alternatives.  All that label promises is that the food is not grown with commonly used pesticides, antibiotics or fertilizers.  What you want to do is to dig deeper and search for more than just organic with sustainable farming when researching.

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