Food borne Illness
The fast food industry is one of the most popular food industries in the world and is constantly growing. Because of handling and movement of food products going on, the amount of food borne illness is also increasing. Although the United States food supply is heavily regulated, cases of food borne illnesses still come up everyday. Fast food consumer can certainly control what they put in their body but it is almost impossible to detect if the food on that tray is going to be contaminated with bacteria. The consumers eye can see what the food looks like but what they can not see, smell, feel, or taste is the bacteria and viruses that have grown and contaminated their food in the process of getting it to the tray. According to the CDC every year there are 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths resulting from food borne illness. This is a problem that companies and the government work hard to regulate but to fully tackle this issue is virtually impossible. There are numerous food borne illnesses including campylobacter, E. Coli, listeria, salmonella, norovirus, staph, trichinosis,and mad cow disease. Full descriptions of each can be found here. All though there are several food borne illnesses going around, those monitoring this part of the food industry are certainly improving the safety for the consumer. Continue down the page and learn much more about food borne illnesses including photos, videos, interesting facts!
FOOD BORNE ILLNESS HISTORICALLY
Over the years, America can happily say that the issue of food borne illness has definitely been dealt with not fully, but a great amount. Many may know of a book called "The Jungle" written in the early 1900's by Upton Sinclair. In 1906 this book was published to expose the meatpacking industry and that it did, Sinclair's book went viral and shocked many citizens. Citizens were shocked by not only how poorly the workers were being treated but by the way the meatpacking industry handles the consumers meat. The meatpacking plants were hot and unsanitary, a perfect combination for bacterial growth. This exposure led to many reforms including the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. The CDC released a stunning fact that "In 1900, the incidence of typhoid fever was approximately 100 per 100,000 population; by 1920 it had to decreased to 33.8, and by 1950, to 1.7". These statistics show just how much those reforms of the early 1900's began to improve prevention of food borne illnesses. As the years progressed so did the nations knowledge of food borne illness, scientists began to notice many different pathogens that bacteria needed in order to grow and by noticing that it helped in reducing the reproduction of harmful bacteria in foods. The 1900's food and agricultural industry was constantly improving to help keep consumers safe from food borne illness.
Take a look at this great article by the Food and Drug Administration. It informs the reader about all different pathogens, their sources, symptoms, and duration. This relates to out unit because in "Fast Food Nation", Eric Schlosser wrote several pages pertaining to pathogens.
Here is a video talking about many different types of foodborne illnesses, the symptoms, the effects, and how to stay away. This connects to the unit by showing the watcher all about different types of food borne illnesses,
Here is the documentary video I mentioned. This may look familiar because we watched it in class.
This is a photo of a Chicago Meatpacking house; this is where Upton Sinclair based the book we read in class off of. The working conditions were extremely unsanitary.
Over the past century it is apparent that the fast food and meatpacking industry have increased their standards along with the sanitation of their product. Many organizations like the Food and Drug Administration are now in place working to make sure the quality of the food leaving meatpacking plants meets standards for consumption. Many acts have also been put in place to ensure consumer health like the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Food Safety Modernization Act. Although there is are many eyes watching over the food industry they can not physically monitor every package going out and for that reason Food Borne Illness still exists today. With micro bacteria that can only be viewed by a microscope consumers do not know exactly what their eating and most likely never will. It is good to see improvements in the food industry and there has definitely been vast improvement since the early 1900's. During 1906-1940 100,000 were reported dead from only ONE food borne illness, pellagra.(CDC) Today the statistics are much lower than they ever were before with only three thousand deaths per year. As the years go on that number will get smaller as the fight for food safety and sanitation grows.