Nov 2, 2017 in Analysis

The United States of America

The United States of America is one of the largest and developed countries in the world. The buying power of local population of this country is much higher than in other countries. As a result, the American nation is one of the largest consumers of different food products. It is important to say that meat is one of the favorite food products among residents of the United States. Almost one in four people in the U.S. prefer to eat in different fast-food facilities where the main product for some meals is meat (Bowman and Vinyard). Nowadays, it is not possible to satisfy the American meat market relying on small meat producers and local farms. For this purpose, there was created a new way of growing animals. In order to satisfy the American population with the amount of meat, it became necessary to produce it on animal farms.

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Production of Meat 

Over time, the production of meat changed from the local to global perspective. Originally, farmers grew animals for local population and they were able to produce health meat. Today, the main production of meat is centered on large animal farms that are managed by large businesses. They provide meat for huge amount of people far away from the place of production. Under these circumstances, it is very difficult to produce health meat. Additionally, the final purpose of these businesses is not only to provide American people with meat, but also get a huge profit from the manufacture process. Yet, the goals of business development in modern society, where money is playing a key role, provide people with food products of low quality. Large corporations use secret technologies that cheapen the manufacturing process, but produce food products that are dangerous for people’s health. The current beef production involves the use of pink slime, horse meat, and other techniques that are hidden from the general public. The production of beef by companies that provide meat for the American market should be controlled by the government in order to resolve  the global problem of health within the country and establish the production of fresh meat without any chemical ingredients.   

During the history of human development, some patterns got established in the food system. They were closely linked with social, personal, and economic life of the country. It is important to tell that those food systems were almost ideal in terms of public health and obesity rate. Additionally, the government was seeking to improve them with respect to national and cultural traditions. Its attempts were effective since they were based on local resources for each region.

However, the policies and food distribution of large corporations replaced the traditional food systems all over the country. It also included the production and distribution of beef. Nowadays, these corporations have a great power and control over the internal market of the United States. The meat products of these companies are manufactured with the use of cheap parts and chemical ingredients. Their food strategy also includes the provision of  long shelf life and elimination of the necessity for culinary preparation. In such food distribution system, meat products can be bought almost everywhere and in any time. Unfortunately, the achievement of high quality beef is not the primary goal for large corporations.     

The reason why the government cannot provide the full control over production of beef and other food products is the power that huge corporations have in modern society. The process of the replacement of the traditional food system was driven by commercial, ideological, and government perspectives. Such processes as privatization and economic globalization changed the balance and control between food corporations and the government.

After these changes, the government merely lost control and power over the manufacture process of food products, including beef. As a result, the government does not protect the public interest, but rather support the large food corporations and their shareholders. It gave the absolute freedom for them to establish the economically beneficial manufacture process without any federal control. Eventually, the annual revenue of food corporations allows them to invest money in different technologies and markets, where they can distribute their low quality products. It even gave them the right to claim that they work for people’s interests in order to protect  public health. In order to change the situation, the government should regain control over large food corporations and integrate the proper regulations into the beef manufacture processes.

The United States of America is famous for the popularity of meat consumption among its residents. Indeed, “Americans consume more than 15 percent of the world’s total eat supply. Americans eat about eight ounces of meat per day, which is roughly twice the global average” (Hobson). One of the most popular meat products is beef. However, the current situation with the production of beef turned the public attention to its production process. People who buy beef from local supermarkets are convinced that they bring to their homes the fresh product of the high quality. It is normal to think about that this way. Unfortunately, the recent study discovered that the modern beef production is covered with different technologies that provide Americans with low-quality beef. Moreover, those technologies use special ingredients that are dangerous for human health. The most offensive factor is that as a result of such food production, people consume not beef, but rather the substance that looks and tastes like beef. Gerald Zirnstein, who is the former scientist of the United States Department of Agriculture, states that it is an economical fraud to sell a cheap substitute instead of fresh meat to the general public in the U.S. (Avila).

Pink Slime

In order to make the manufacturing process much cheaper, the producer uses “pink slime” during the process of beef production. It is beneficial for businesses to use such substance while producing beef. However, it is completely inappropriate for human consumption. “It is only used in dog food and cooking oil, the trimmings are now sprayed with ammonia so they are safe to eat and added to most ground beef as a cheaper filler” (Avila). In order to manufacture “pink slime”, it is necessary to direct the gathered waste trimmings through the pipe with the ammonia gas in order to kill bacteria. Then, when it is frozen it goes to the local grocery stores where it is added to the ground beef. People who buy food products with “pink slime” cannot be fully informed about that because “pink slime” is labeled as meat. Thus, the American people think that they buy ground beef without any suspicions. Unfortunately, it was a decision of the government to approve such operations in the food industry. As a result, the companies of beef production receive huge profits from it. “It was a call that led to hundred of millions of dollars for Beef Products Inc., the makers of ‘pink slime’” (Alive). Unfortunately, the government should be the first stage that should not approve such decisions in its own country.

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The other potential danger for beef consumers is Escherichia coli (E. coli). E. coli is a strain of the bacteria that is a common cause of food poisoning in the United States. Each year, there are many cases of infection and deaths due to these bacteria. Infection often leads to bloody diarrhea, and occasionally to kidney failure. “The worst type of E. coli causes bloody diarrhea, and can sometimes cause kidney failure and even death. These problems are most likely to occur in children and in adults with weak immune system” (HHS). The majority of cases are associated with improperly cooked food, especially contaminated beef. The disease is also transmitted from person to person by contact, especially when using the same utensils for the consumption of unpasteurized milk or contaminated water. It was proved that E. coli is potentially deadly for human consumption.  It was a right decision from the side of the government to ban it in hamburgers. Hence, Beef Products Inc. came up with the solution to inject beef with ammonia. This company assured that E. coli is killed through the ammonia process, and the final meat product is not dangerous for people. However, the further study of the United States Department of Agriculture indicated the presence of E. coli and salmonella in beef. “Government and industry records obtained by The New York Times show that testing for the school lunch, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Product meat” (Moss). This situation suggests that the large corporations that produce beef are willing to take any measure in order to hide their manufacture process and encourage people and federal government to think that their products are safe. They are willing to provide their own studies in which their products will be proved as a product of a high quality. It is the perfect way to manipulate the human and government consciousness by providing its own study with aimed results. The government is the only institution that can prevent the unjust and unlawful actions of such corporations. In this case, the government indicated that the previous study of Beef Corporation was wrong. As a result, many schools limited the consumption of beef during school lunches.

However, the situation with E. coli was not brought to its logical conclusion. While school lunches became free from the pathogen products, the contaminated meat was still free for sale to  the regular consumers (Moss). Beef Products Inc. continues to sell beef with E. coli in it without any limitation. It happened because the government refused to take at least some measures in order to restrict the production of beef with E. coli to the general public. On the other hand, the government highlighted that it will be studying any future food innovations in order to fight the unlawful beef production. In this respect, the government has the right policy that will help to escape the production of low quality beef for the general public. However, in other respects, the federal authority has little impact on the corporate businesses and takes fewmeasures to  exert control over the beef production.          

The companies that produce beef are willing to take any measures in order to make their final product cheaper. The great example of this is the manufacture of meatballs in Sweden. It was revealed that the manufacturer put the horse meat into batch. “Ikea joined a growing list of brands that have been touched by European’s food scandal on Monday and withdrew its signature Swedish meatballs from its markets after one batch was found to contain traces of horse meat” (Higgins). The European Union agreed that it did not take serious measures in order to prevent the distribution of such meat products to the general public. However, the key moment here is that European officials admitted their guilt in comparison with U.S. government. It is a good sign for the European population when the government can accept their mistakes and provide the control or testing of meat production. As a result, there more extensive testing was carried out. After that testing, it was concluded that food companies are not fair manufacturers contrary to what was previously believed.

Simon Coveney, who is the minister of agriculture in Ireland, declared that it was an economical fraud on a massive scale all over the European Union countries. He assured the public that it is the national interest to find out the truth in beef production (Higgins). The European officials detected the quick distribution of horse meat and raised the question of oversight and new regulations over the beef production. It is exactly how the government should react on similar cases in the United States. Otherwise, the American food corporations will continue to provide people with cheap and mixed with other ingredients beef. There is only one way of effective control over them. Many beef products have to be withdrawn from the supermarket chains. Judging by the case in the European Union, it is also important to emphasize the position of different stores that refused to sell beef from caught manufacturers and active collaboration of European officials from different countries. Anders Lennartsson, who is representative of Ikea Food Service, stated “We take seriously the test result from the Czech Republic authorities, indicating presence of horse meat in one batch of our meatballs” (Higgins). The whole process of controlling meat production is not easy, but it does not mean that the government should not take the active participation in it. However, the experience of the European countries showed that it is necessary and possible to establish control over food corporations by the government.       

It is also important for the government to start the control over beef production much earlier than testing of beef from supermarkets. The roots of this problem begin on animal farms where food corporations grow animals for beef production. The whole system of growing cows, pigs, and chickens is not appropriate for the environment and animal health. The factoring farming entails the use of the great amount of water and leads to its pollution. In order to grow animals in large quantities, it is necessary to use a large amount of land. The use of land for this purpose leads to its depletion. In order to provide the huge territory for growing crops, it is necessary to cut down many trees. It is the primary reason of massive deforestation. Many operations on the farms are responsible for the large amount of gas, methane, and oxide emissions. The factoring farming uses a large amount of resources that are not renewable by nature. 

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The animal farming is a cause of the environmental damage as well as damage to the human health. Nowadays, animals are fed on farms not the way it was 50 years ago. The traditional grass was replaced by different crops and harmful ingredients. In order to raise the huge amount of animals, it is necessary to increase the harvest. For this purpose, the manufactures use chemicals and pesticides. The fact is that people abuse them while growing crops (Desonie). All those chemicals remain in the meat of animals. Additionally, food for animals can contain other unpleasant ingredients and drugs. “Feed for any food animal can contain cattle manure, swine waste, and poultry litter. This waste may contain drugs such as antibiotics and hormones that have passed unchanged through the animal’s bodies” (Sapkota et al.). It is possible that this feeding practicing is a primary reason for many diseases that recently emerged and made the impact on the general human health in the country. Researchers who work in the journal of BMC Medicine proved that processed meat is the primary reason of the health damage. “It concluded diets high in processed meats were linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer and early deaths” (Gallagher). The study showed that people who constantly ate processed beef were more likely to smoke. They also tend to be obese and had other harmful habits. It is well known the negative impact of smoke and obesity on total human health. Eventually, the study proved that even without harmful habits the rate of deaths, heart problems and cancers among people who ate processed beef is higher. People who eat processed beef are more likely to suffer from bacterial infections and chronic human health risks. The consumption of processed beef also affects the immune system and lower physical activity. In order to establish better beef production the government should take strict control over this process in order to make it more sustainable for environment and human health. It is possible to encourage people to stop eating beef or consume it less. However, the right solution also is the elimination of extra antibiotics and pesticides from beef production. It is essential to put more money into science investigation of how to use less land and escape extensive pollution. Establishing the control and testing over factoring farms and quality of beef from each meat manufacturers. It is important to establish more honest relationship between government and beef producers in which the main goal is to provide population with health meat rather than large corporations with high profits.    

The main reason why factory farming thrives in the U.S. is that the government did not collect enough data in order to recognize the feeding practices harmful for human health on those farms. There were few chemical and biological tests conducted by the federal authorities (Sapkota et al.). While the government does not take serious measures, the health of the American people remains unprotected from the negative impact of the modern beef production. Ordinary people should be aware of the problem with modern beef production because the food corporations created the dangerous way of beef manufacturing that includes the threat for the local environment and human health. The government should play a key role in the control of meat manufacture in order to provide the distribution of fresh and healthy meat into American stores. The government is the only agency that can control the large corporations. It is time for American authorities to take the example of the European countries that have the positive experience in resolving this issue.       

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