Should You Be Concerned About Food Safety?

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Emiliana Alvarez, Copy Editor

People from all around the world have different dietary preferences. Some prefer going vegan, vegetarian, or pescetarian, while others are omnivores or carnivores. For all diets, unsafe food can have various negative consequences. Food is one of the necessities humans need to survive, but unsafe food puts our health and nutrition in danger. Each year, there are around 420,000 deaths due to eating contaminated food. It’s crucial to know where your food originates from to prevent illnesses and death. Food that derives from different places has different risks. They may contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), have been fed antibiotics, or simply contaminated and have vast amounts of bacteria. 

More than 80% of the U.S antibiotics are fed to animals. “Over two million Americans suffer from an antibiotic-resistant infection every year, and 23,000 people die because of this,” Food and Water Watch said. Factory farms are a way of raising a large number of food animals in a confined space. These places are filthy, as animals sleep on top of each other, full of bacteria born in the most impoverished living conditions. To prevent the animals from getting sick in these conditions, they are fed antibiotics. As we later consume these animals, we ingest these antibiotics and develop an immunity to them. Simple illnesses that could’ve been easily cured with antibiotics can’t be anymore. Many will argue that factory farms are just trying to feed an entire population efficiently, that not enough food would be provided for people to eat. However, is efficiency more important than safety? What is efficient if you threaten the health of a community? Much like antibiotics, GMOs use various chemicals to modify different foods, which are also harmful to our health and nutrition.

GMOs are used to make products bigger, resistant to pests and disease. They also provide a cheap food source to assist factory farms and unhealthy processed foods. “(fields) are heavily sprayed with the herbicide Roundup, which the World Health Organization calls a probable human carcinogen,” Food and Water Watch said. An example could be the genetically engineered salmon that the FDA has approved. The fish could present severe risks to consumer health, animal welfare, wild fish populations, fishing economies, and the environment. People tend to ignore that the chemicals used for our food are a threat. Nevertheless, they are also a relatively new technology. Some people claim these are safe, but this is uncertain as we don’t have enough background to prove its side effects in a few years. Unlike what you may see in news reports, GMOs’ primary purpose isn’t solving nutrition problems or feeding the world. They focus on profits and finally controlling our food system. In most parts, GMOs require a tag that shows if it is a GMO. It is essential to know this when buying food to prevent purchasing a product that puts your health in danger.

Food from unsafe origins can have a large number of bacteria that can cause countless diseases. “Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances can cause more than 200 different diseases – ranging from diarrhea to cancers,” the World Health organization said. “Around the world, an estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people – fall ill after eating contaminated food each year, resulting in the loss of 33 million.” The World Health Organization proves how hazardous consuming food with bacteria can be. 125,000 children under the age of five die each year due to foodborne or food poisoning. Many illnesses and deaths are the consequences of eating unsafe food. Some declare that it is more expensive to buy food, guaranteed that it comes from a safe place. However, in the long run, is it better to eat safely rather than running the risk of getting sick or even dying due to a disease that arose from food. This could be prevented if we choose to eat food that was handled, prepared, and stored correctly.

We should devote ourselves to food safety to avoid the side effects of ingesting unsafe food.  It is essential to know where your food comes from, how they grow, store, and manage it. Innumerable health hazards would be prevented if one looked out for antibiotics used in factory farms, GMOs, and bacteria.