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The need to keep food safe and sustainable was first brought into consideration by the consumer union in Washington, later, Eric joins this union to help in campaigning for food safety, this is seen in his book 'fast food nation' he urges that food should be kept safe in order to avoid diseases and other food poisoning. Eric urges the consumers to struggle for the passage of a legislation which had been submitted to the senate, the legislation had matters dealing with food safety. The organization Safe Tables Our Priority should receive a million-dollar grant from the government because the food safety initiatives that the organization proposes could diminish the number of E.coli cases in the United States.
In his book 'fast food nation,' Eric examines meatpacking industry; he finds out that this industry is dominated by effects of meat contamination. He studies meatpacking industries like; IBP, Kenny Dobbins, and Inc. and asserts that the process of processing meat involves practices which are hazardous and unknown by customers. This exposed the processed meat into disease causing pathogens which was dangerous to the health of the Americans. (Schlosser, 2001).
It was until the year 2002 when the meatpacking industry experienced a problem when more than 18 million pounds worth of beef was found contaminated with E.coli. This was a big amount of beef that more than a quarter of the US population consumed and was therefore affected. This was so disturbing and the need for the government to come in in terms of grants which will be used in ensuring safety in food storage was found essential. The government had given the meatpacking industry the control of the safety system of the nation's food and it was difficult to find out if the meat they supply was safe or not.
When the E.coli infection broke out, the government was advised to carry out a test on meat for pathogens. This was not accepted by the meatpacking industry and it was until 1993 when the government announced its start on testing ground meat. The government should therefore provide money to be used in maintaining proper food storage because poisoned food causes several harms. The E. coli contaminated food for example, can lead to deaths or illnesses especially in children, immuno-suppressed people and the elderly. This E. coli has been found to affect more than seventy thousand Americans each year. Poor food storage and safety also lead to infection by other pathogens which are found in the slaughterhouse when stomach contents splatter on meat. Such E. coli strains have been found to affect more than thirty five thousand people in America (Schlosser, 2001).
Salmonella was also found in ground meat, this has also resulted in about 1.5 million people in America being infected each year. It was found that contaminated meat was sold in supermarkets and other restaurants due to inefficiency of USDA to report it in time; it was after two weeks that people were found ill with a common symptom of defecating with blood and vomiting. The government therefore had to cooperate with the USDA in order to recover the unconsumed meat.
Operations involved in meatpacking have been found to cause injuries which in turn, cause problems in food safety. These have been as a result of workers working too fast in order to serve the many customers who come to buy meat. These injuries therefore lead to blood loss and this blood may cause meat contamination.
On his visit to a slaughterhouse, Eric finds that the town is pervaded by odors which come from the wastewater lagoons in the slaughterhouse. These odors are of three different kinds, one is that of 'burning hair and blood', the second is that of 'greasy smell' and finally, that of 'rotten eggs'. These cause headaches and problems of the respiratory systems; in most cases it causes permanently damage the nervous system (Schlosser, 2001).
Still in the slaughterhouse, he sees that when animals like steers are being slaughtered, a crude means is used and he could see steers which were hanging high up overhead and an individual had to be very keen and be able to dodge them to avoid being injured. The working conditions in such industries are bad and steers are killed by severing the artery and shot in the head by using a bolt stunner. This is done for more than eight hours.
A very big portion of workers in the meatpacking industry is also given illegal jobs, worst jobs are given to illegal workers and in cases of injuries, they are not given any attention and they are instead fired. the current rate of injuries in the meat packing industries is known to be thrice that of overall private industry and it was noted as the 'most dangerous factory job in America' Visibility is also obstructed by safety glasses and when cleaning is being done, many illegal refugees are trounced by fumes (Schlosser, 2001). The emergence of many companies offering similar goods have brought about competition, this has made the meatpacking industries make their workers to work faster and this has prompted workers to take drugs to provide energy to work for long hours without getting tired. It has been found that, the overall conditions prevailing in these industries are getting worse and worse as compared to those in the past years.
In America, the safety system for food has been designed in a manner that does not protect the health of the public but instead, it defends the meatpacking industry. A lot of assistance has been received in this industry from the party of the republican. Such grants were received in the 2000 campaigns for presidency. Up to $620000 were given to the meat packing industry and were wisely spent to improve food safety systems.
For the past years, the American government have not given enough support to meatpacking industries, this is evidenced in Elsa Murano's words when he said that her agency did not need any assistance to recover the meat which was contaminated, she also said that the agency still did not need an authority to close down plants which sell ground meat with Salmonella contaminants.
The meatpacking industry is fighting for good health of their customers, due to lack of enough finance, they therefore do not want to use a lot of money to prevent disease outbreak. They however experience increase in the cost of the food chains of the ground beef. The government should therefore give grants to these industries in order to help them cope with such expenses.
In his book, Eric says that fast food industry is driven by the primary changes in the American society. The government should therefore provide grants to support the meatpacking industry because the earnings for an American average worker had declined steadily. It was in the 1970s that most people in the US with children worked outside their countries and most of their money was used to prepare food at home (Schlosser, 2001)
In conclusion, the government should give grants to meatpacking industries so that the number of E.coli infections is reduced or eradicated. This will ensure that there are proper ways of handling meat during packaging and storage. Improved sanitation in slaughterhouses will also help reduce chances of meat contamination. Proper machines for slaughtering will also be provided and less accidental injuries will be experienced.