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Food Safety, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 900

Essay

Food safety within the United States has seen some important events and dates over the last couple of decades.  The work of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) perhaps best mark the increased food regulations in this period of time.  However, there are recent obstacles that have placed criticism on these organization and food safety in the country in general.  Yet, there are certainly points in this time frame that point to an increased consciousness and effort to observe progress of food safety in the United States.

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

The FSIS is one of two major agencies in the United States, at least beyond the complicated organization within the federal regulations in food safety.  The agencies responsibilities lie in the safety of poultry, meat, and processed egg products.  The FSIS can be seen as developing in 1884 with the establishment of the Bureau of Animal Industry, yet was not officially formed with its responsibilities until 1977 (Food Safety and Inspection Service).

The agency became increasingly effective in its methods, largely due to the historic outbreak of E. coli in 1993.  This event signaled the call for change within the inspection of ground beef products from this event.  As the FSIS was dependent on methods such as sight, smell, and touch, it began implementing methods which were more scientific in regards to inspections.

Perhaps one of the most significant contributions of the FSIS occurred in the 1990s.  According to the FSIS, the application of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system preceded this, “setting the stage for the most significant change in regulatory philosophy in the history of the inspection programs” (FSIS).  In the prevention of pathogens that caused illness, the rule issue in 1995 was in the Pathogen Reduction/Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Systems (FSIS).  In this event and application, in the opinion of the FSIS and in the period of time of food history in the United States, science-based inspections systems were seen and improved with the FSIS.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA is responsible for all other foods, in addition to other products such as drugs, medicines, and cosmetics, than that of the FSIS (poultry, meat, and processed egg products).  The FDA was initially formed in 1906.  One important date in the history of food safety in the country in this time period is the Food and Drug Administration Act, which occurred in 1988 (Food and Drug Administration).  This marked the official establishment of the FDA as an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, with its responsibilities and other dynamics outlined as well.

Perhaps the most important feature of the FDA is its publishing of the Food Code.  This regulates a number of food establishments and allows for the coordination of food safety at all levels.  The FDA also handles the administration of the Meat Inspection Act, Poultry Products Inspection Act, Agricultural Inspection Act, Humane Slaughter Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act, among other responsibilities and administrative duties.

Progress

The FDA has been a source of criticism in previous years.  Most notable in 2008, food safety concerns are in question, in comparison to the three previous years, according to a Reuters article that will be addressed in this analysis (Steenhuysen).  The report raises some questions to the awareness of the recent steps in food safety.

According to Steenhuysen, food safety standards in recent years have not been successful.  Steenhuysen suggests that “fundamental problems are not being solved” in regards to foodborne infections.  This has certainly caused increased awareness in this concentration.

Steenhuysen reports that Salmonella infections are higher in 2008 than in the three previous years, according to reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Steenhuysen).  These findings, according to Steenhuysen, led to the largest food recall in U.S. history.  The infections were in part due to peanut products from Peanut Corp of America.  The outbreak has reportedly killed nine, sickened over 680 people in 46 states, and led to the recall of 3,200 products (Steenhuysen).

These recent obstructions have cause further criticism of the FDA and food safety in the United States.  From this event the FDA has expanded offices around the world, increased scientific activity with employees in various fields, and has embarked on an “aggressive approach” to this and further situations (Steenhuysen).  It has even caused the FDA to embark on more comprehensive methods in reacting to potential outbreaks in the future.

Conclusion

The FSIS and the FDA represent the two most important agencies for food safety at the federal level of the United States.  The FDA serves as perhaps the “overriding” agency in carrying out responsibilities, where it is perhaps more active in other pursuits, such as drugs.  The FSIS has demonstrated their impact directly on food safety in important advancements.

Recent standards of food safety have been subject to negative events.  However, it remains to be seen the effect of further advancement by these and other agencies in the United States towards food safety.  Perhaps more influential advancements, such as those of the FSIS in the 1990s, will repeat.

Works Cited

Food and Drug Administration. Significant Dates in U.S. Food and Drug Law History. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Web. Accessed May 27, 2010.

Food Safety and Inspection Service. Agency History. United States Department of Agriculture. Web. Accessed May

Steenhuysen, Julie. U.S. Making Little Progress on Food Safety. Reuters. April 9, 2009. Web. Accessed May 17, 2010.

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