By Kelsey Dass ’18
Where should we start?
With the hustle and bustle under President Trump, there are a lot of administrative changes being made. As Americans watch the evening news during dinnertime, they may be paying more attention to the headlines than what is on their own plates. However, the Trump administration has as much of an effect on the food we eat as it does on foreign policy and immigration. Therefore, it is time we turn our focus on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA exists on a large scale; its responsibilities range from making sure that pharmaceutical drugs to dietary supplements to vaccines are safe. In relation to foods, its job is to protect and promote public health through the control and supervision of food safety.
When shopping in groceries stores, we often scan the aisles and feel at ease when picking up a product that is stamped “FDA approved.” The belief is ingrained in our minds that the FDA is our protection against foods that are not up to standard. Sounds good enough, right?
The problem lies in the standard. Our general standards for food set in place by the FDA are already lower than those in European countries. The EU recently passed more regulations on food, requiring an updated “food labeling rule.” They now ensure that customers receive accurate and clear information on food content in order for European citizens to make informed choices on what they purchase.
This all may seem very simple—the food in America is labeled too. Yet, to what degree? In 64 countries, including in the EU, there are restrictions and bans on genetically modified products or “GMOs.” The United States does not require the labeling of these types of products. Much of the food put in supermarkets contains GMOs, has come in contact with pesticides, and is pumped with hormones, yet is still labeled as FDA approved. It is concerning that Americans are putting their trust in this federal administration, empowered by the United States Congress, when it appears that they are not doing enough work to keep us safe.
One would hope that with the new presidency, regulations on food would increase. Following the “Make America Great Again” campaign, should bettering the country not involve making the food safer as well?
Unfortunately, President Trump is doing just the opposite by lowering the regulations on food even more than they are now. One of the specific regulations planned to be eliminated is The FDA Food Police, which dictates how the federal government expects farmers to produce fruits and vegetables and even dictate the nutritional content of dog food.
The rules govern the soil farmers use, farm and food production hygiene, food packaging, food temperature, and even what fields animals may roam and when. They also have greatly increased inspections of food facilities and levied new taxes to pay for this inspection overkill.
The FDA creates its standards based on a person telling them what the standards should be. The FDA is not God, and cannot protect us. They listen to their leaders; they do what they are told. Their job title may read “to protect and promote public health,” yet to the degree they do so is completely up to the government.
Our government is now run by a person who does not have a moral obligation to ensure the safety of our foods. Did people think about this factor when casting their vote? Did they think about raising children in a world where the food they purchased is masked by a blanket of dishonesty?
Illness will rise once people begin ingesting more foods covered in pesticides, and the people of this country will realize that “FDA approved” no longer means anything.