Jenna W. Michigan

Food Safety

The quality of our food may not come to mind often, but it's something that we should be concerned about. Foodborne illnesses like E. Coli and Listeria are quite a real danger to our health, causing multiple deaths per year and hospitalizing many more. And what have the U.S government and multiple health organizations done to stop those illnesses? Nearly nothing at all.

Dear Future President,

I hope you’ve heard of E. Coli and Listeria, and how dangerous these diseases are to us. I also hope that you know where they can start and spread. Through our food. Our seemingly clean and thoroughly inspected food that we eat every day. Our food that not always gets checked by government inspectors. Our food that can be infected, and still stay on the store shelves, never recalled by the company that produced it. The same food that is grown in unsanitary conditions. The same food that carries deadly diseases, and we don’t even know it. The U.S government has not provided adequate attention to the quality of our food grown by farmers and packaged in unsanitary factories. And it’s killing us.

When farms come to mind, you think of large, spanning fields of crops. Animals come to mind, like cows, chickens and pigs. Farmers themselves also come to mind, with overalls and cozy little country homes. However, this is not always the case. There are farms where animals are tightly packed together, with hardly any space to around. And farmers aren’t always well off with lovely homes. The working conditions on the farm are poor, as pointed out by journalist Elizabeth Grossman in the article ‘Is Our Food Any Safer Than it Was in 2006?’, stating that “...poor working conditions on farms are often associated with food safety issues...Jensen Farms...was fined the very same year (2011) for providing their workers with substandard, unsanitary housing.” Not only are the conditions of the farms and the workers bad, but the substandard conditions have created a breeding ground for diseases that get into our food. This is quite important information, concerning that these same farms grow the food that we consume. With these subpar conditions in farms, who knows disease could spread next.

And it’s not just the farmers themselves, it’s the livestock as well. They are cramped up into small spaces with diseases and illnesses running rampant, as reported by Tara Culp-Ressler, a health editor for ThinkProgress, stating in ‘The Growing Public Health Threat That Congress Isn’t Doing Anything About’ that “Essentially, this is an issue that’s been created by factory farming...when factory farms squeeze large numbers of animals into very tight quarters, that increases the risk that disease will quickly spread among the livestock.” This is rather prominent in our society, as we have many farms that do this to food animals. The farms are poisoning our food with diseases that the farmers and government inspectors often overlook, and ignore. Because of that mindset, nothing has been changed, despite numerous articles, like the one previously mentioned, and research articles exposing the terrible conditions on farms. And to make things worse, these farms simple pump their animals full of antibiotics, which leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant diseases, which then leads to the general population being put at a risk because of these diseases.

To add some statistics, every year in the U.S, 48 million become sick from foodborne illnesses, with roughly 128,000 ending up in the hospital and 3,000 end up dead. Plus, 22% of illnesses and 29% of deaths can be traced to meat and poultry. The same meats from the animals that are crammed into tight spaces, with diseases running rampant.

The last point I’m going to stress on is that the government is hardly doing anything. The food inspectors don’t search every piece of meat for foodborne illnesses, the HAACP system does not require factories to treat salmonella as a “hazard likely to occur” along with not designating a few specific strains of E. Coli as a hazard. And to add more to the list, barely any of the infected factories are shut down despite having multiple violations and the fact that they have unclean food, as stated by PBS editor Jason Breslow in the article ‘Is Our Food Safety Process Broken?’, saying “From 2008 to 2011...the FSIS issued 44,128 noncompliance records to 616 plants participating in a swine inspection pilot program...only 28 plants were ever suspended…’some plants repeated violations as egregious as fecal matter on previously cleaned carcasses.” To think that factories, many of which are repeated offenders, can still run despite having violations about cleanliness and quality of the food is disgusting. No factory should still be running if fecal matter was found on clean carcasses on their way to being made into food. That’s just not right.

In conclusion, it is obvious that we should enact better laws about food safety. Nobody should be at such a risk because of the ignorance of a factory or inspector. Nobody should become sick enough to be hospitalized or die because of foodborne illnesses. So, do us all a great favor, and regulate the unregulated meat industry. Enact various laws and standards to ensure the safety of our food is absolute. Set stricter guidelines that keeps farms clean and nearly disease free, and providing better housing and working conditions for the farmers that labor away in the fields. Countless will be grateful for the decision that you have made.


Jenna W.


Grossman, Elizabeth. “Is Our Food Any Safer Than It Was in 2006? | Civil Eats.” Civil Eats, 7 Apr. 2015,

Breslow, Jason M. “FRONTLINE.” PBS, PBS, 30 Apr. 2015,

Culp-Ressler, Tara. “The Growing Public Health Threat That Congress Isn't Doing Anything About.” ThinkProgress, 23 Oct. 2013,