Free Essay

Food Industry

In: Social Issues

Submitted By s1305
Words 1521
Pages 7
Sanna Ispahany
Ms McGuire
ENG 3U1-02
16 April, 2012
Food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Every person in this room uses these some of the products produced under these three major industries several times a day, every day. Many of us believe that these products are safe for use and consumption; that the monitoring agencies put in place are doing their job. I too used to think that all of the products on the market were tested and unshakeably safe. I never would have begun to imagine that the hamburger at McDonald’s, or the shampoo I used, or the medicine I took could cause more harm than good. I never realized that these corporations were more concerned with their bottom lines than society. As consumers we place a great deal of trust in the manufacturers of our products to ensure their products are safe to use or consume and as consumers, these companies are robbing us of our right to know exactly what these products are, how they’re made, and what they contain. Most people have no idea of what really happens in these industries, and how these products come to be, as well as the shockingly low standards that exist.
When I say cosmetics, I’m not talking about just makeup. I’m talking about deodorant, toothpaste, skin products, shampoo, conditioner, perfume, cologne, shaving cream, and hair products. These products are grossly neglected in terms of regulation; this is CLEARLY shown through products such as the “Pure and Gentle” Johnson’s baby shampoo which contained not one but two chemicals linked to cancer in product tests released (the campaign for safe cosmetics, para.2) Formaldehyde and 1.4 dioxane are the two cancer causing chemicals that were found, not only in this product, but dozens of other bath products for children. None of the tested products included these two chemicals on the labels of their products, since they were not intentionally used in creating the product. The company does not have to write the chemicals on the labels of their products so consumers have no way of knowing these chemicals are in the products. Lead, which is in no way consumable by humans, was found in EVERY brand of lipstick; ranging from below 0.026 ppm to an astonishing 7.19 ppm in lipsticks from Maybelline, L’Oreal’s daughter company. Chemicals like diethyl Phthalate (DEP), lead acetate, coal tar, triclosan, formaldehyde and 1.4 dioxane have been found in products like deodorant, aftershave, dandruff shampoo and are known to cause sperm damage in adult men, abnormal reproductive development in infants, Attention Deficit Disorder in children, are known human reproductive toxicants, and known human carcinogens(safe cosmetics, men’s product page).Some companies say that they are unable to produce the product without the use of such materials-like the makeup industry with lead in their lipsticks. Unfortunately, some products cannot be manufactured without some of these toxic ingredients. However, if a company was not able to completely cut out the use of these carcinogens it should be written on the packaging, so the consumer is made aware of what their product contains. In the past 100 years, cancer rates have increased from 1 out of 800 people to 1 out of three people in the United States. Although there is no definitive answer, hearing about carcinogens in the products we use on a daily basis makes the increase in cancer rates seem founded; since we are exposed to these chemicals more, it makes sense that more people would be getting cancer.
“I never have and never will approve a new drug but only to a large pharmaceutical firm with unlimited finances” these are the words spoken by Dr Richard Crout, FDA bureau of drugs director (the spotlight, January 18, 1982) the FDA is supposed to regulate and ensure the safety of new drugs into the market; it is not supposed to only support large companies, but it blatantly does. These companies such as Pharma, pay “user fees” to the FDA in order to speed up the process of getting drugs approved, Dr. Burzynski is an American doctor, originally from Poland, who discovered a more effective treatment to cancer. You would think that Burzynski would be one of the most well known people in the world by now, but instead Burzynski had to face several trials which spanned a total of 20 years (and 2.2 million dollars of legal fees).Burzynski’s treatment for cancer yielded 27.5% of patients leaving his facility cancer free which was a significant amount more than the traditional chemo and radiation, without the pain. He was also able to treat multiple types of cancer that had never before been treated. So if his cure worked, then why was Burzynski being prosecuted? The FDA refused to licence Burzynski’s treatment until he “joined” a larger pharmaceutical company. The fact that his cure had to go unrecognized because he was not a large pharmaceutical company is outrageous. The only way for this to change is for people to start taking a stand and demanding to know what goes on beneath our noses.
Imagine you are the parent of a perfectly healthy two year old boy named Kevin. On the way home you stop at the nearest fast food place and buy him a burger. Would you ever expect that same two year old boy to be dead just a few days after eating that burger from E. Coli poisoning? Neither did Carole Kowalcyk, Kevin’s mother. Before I explain the relevance of Kevin’s story I would like to give some background on the corporation that allowed this to happen. Firstly, in 1970, the top 5 beef packers controlled roughly 25% of the beef industry. In 2006, the top 4 controlled over 80%. What this means is that you have a small group of multi-national corporations that essentially control the entire food system (Food Inc). Agencies like the FDA are supposed to keep companies like this in check…but how is that possible when they are on the payroll? These regulatory agencies are controlled by the very companies they are supposed to be scrutinizing (Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation) Basically the domination of the food market allows these companies to produce products like ammonia cleansed meat filler. Ammonia-a chemical used in household cleaning products and fertilizer, and is poisonous when consumed in large quantities. Doesn’t that sound delicious? With the approximate 5.5% decrease in FDA‘s food safety inspections, it’s no wonder these companies can get away with it. From over fifty thousand searches in the nineteen-seventies to a mere nine thousand one hundred and sixty four in 2006. Think about this for a second. Why are the number of searches decreasing if the number of products hitting the markets are increasing? Simply because the FDA and other agencies like it are relying on these companies to conduct their own investigations. So how does this relate to Kevin? Well, Kevin died of E. coli poisoning because of companies like this. The reason for the excessive amount of E. coli in cows is from their feed; which is corn instead of grass. If companies were even to switch the cow’s feed to grass during the last week of their lives, the amount of E. coli in their bodies would significantly decrease, resulting in no E. coli contamination. The reason that this is not done is to maintain uniform taste among the animals, because of fast food corporations like McDonalds who needs conformity among their restraints. But how can this argument even be admissible if it puts other people’s lives at stake? Is the McDonald’s burger really more important than people’s health and safety? I hope the answer is obvious.
Every single person in this room is able to make a change. It’s as simple as buying food at a grocery store; with every item you purchase, you are telling the industry what you want. Be aware of labels and read the ingredients list on products. Research foods you eat often and see what you’re really eating. Most of all just be aware of what takes place in the commercial industries that affect you; buy products that are safe and not filled with chemicals, fillers or any synthetic.

Works Cited
Burzynski The Movie. Dir. Eric Merola. Perf. Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, M.D., Ph.D. 2010. Online.
Egendorf, Laura. Opposing Viewpoint: Human Rights. Farmington Hill: Green Haven Press,2003.Print.
Egendorf, Laura K. Food:Opposing Viewpoints. Farmington Hills: Bonnie Szumski,2006. Print.
Food Inc. Prod. Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein. Dir. Robert Kenner. Alliance Films, 2009. Online.
Hunter, Aina. "11 Totally Disgusting Things the FDA Allows in Your Food."Http://www.cbsnews.com. CBC Interactive Inc, 09 Aug. 2010. Web. 09 Apr. 2012.
Krammer, Shelly R. "Controversial Ingredients to Avoid in Your Personal Care and Beauty Cosmetics." Healthy Product Alternatives for Clean Air, Clean Water, and Safe, Green and Affordable Products for Your Body, Pets, Homes and the Environment! Healthycommunications.com. Web. 12 Apr. 2012.
"Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: Men's Products." Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: Men's Products. SAFE COSMETICS ACTION NETWORK. Web. 3 Apr. 2012.…...

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