Food safety is normally not much of a concern of people fortunate enough to live in most Western Industrialized countries, but for most people living in the developing world, food safety could be a difference between life and death. The toll on human life and suffering is truly staggering and all from a plethora of foodborne diseases in all parts of the world; some caused by the use of banned pesticides and some from the use of GMO seeds. Contaminated food is responsible for at least 3 million premature deaths in children around the world, including the more developed countries of the west. In the United States alone, approximately ¼ of the country’s population, about 75 million, develop an illness from a foodborne pathogen resulting in over 300,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths. Food safety is becoming more of an important issue as the globalization of food trade expands. Many countries have suffered economic consequences from outbreaks of illnesses and lack of food safety. For example in Peru, a cholera outbreak caused by eating contaminated seafood resulted in a loss of $800 million in fish exports. In Guatemala, raspberries were contaminated with Cyclosporine devastating the Guatemalan raspberry export industry leaving just 3 raspberry producers from a total of 87 by the time the outbreak had passed.
Food safety challenges vary from region to region, because of differences in income levels, diets, local conditions, and government infrastructures. In developing countries, food safety involves the food producer and the consumer who often have a close connection. There are fewer processed foods and packaged foods; most fresh food is traded in traditional markets; and street vendors supply much of the food consumed outside the home so food safety is less of an issue than it is in developed countries. Perishable food is often prepared and consumed immediately, and there is typically little need for storage of prepared foods. In developed countries there is a vast complicated food web that is interdependent on many moving parts. It’s an agricultural system where food safety is entirely dependent on transportation; shipping food long distances to consumers. The system may collapse altogether from a cocktail of herbicides, pesticides and a variety of unproven GMO seed stains.
Food Safety Concerns - Factory Farms
Factory Farms: The last 40 years has seen a move away from small individual herd farms towards a concentrated method of animal farming – factory farms.
Monoculture: Monoculture agricultural systems practiced by corporate farms have seen an increase of several types of pathogens linked to the use of animal manure, untreated sewage, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and tainted irrigation water. It is not uncommon to hear of an outbreak of a strain of E. coli each year from the consumption of tainted spinach, sprouts, cantaloupe, lettuce or strawberries.
International Trade: International trade allows for the rapid transfer of microorganisms from one country to another. The increased time between processing and consumption of food leads to increased opportunities for contamination further increasing the risk of the development of a foodborne illness.
Advancements In Food Technologies - Seeds Of Deception: Advancements in food preservation, processing, packaging, shipping and storage technologies introduce new forms of food to the market, sometimes with new concerns. For example, there is growing concern over the introduction of genetically modified food (GMO) and processing food using irradiation.
We already know that farmers and farm workers who use conventional methods of planting are exposed to egregious amounts of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. They suffer from all kinds of serious health problems due to this contact with multiple poisons. The worst part? There is no eliminating pesticides from our foods once it is sprayed onto our plants, but as if that weren’t enough, now companies like Monsanto are ‘breeding pesticides’ right into our food crops with genetically modified organisms (GMO). That's scary!