OPINION: Why is Food in the U.S. Considered Untrustworthy?

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

Every country has different standards for its food. In many other countries, it is a common belief that food in America is too processed, unhealthy, and full of chemicals. These chemicals can cause obesity, chronic illnesses, cancer, autism, food allergies, and diabetes.  The biggest difference between U.S. and U.K. food is the presence of carcinogens. The U.K. does not allow known or suspected carcinogens into their food., whereas the U.S. does.

For example, the use of potassium bromate and azodicarbonamide (ADA) is common in the U.S. but is not allowed in the U.K. for human consumption. ADA is a chemical that is used to make bread stay soft and spongy for longer, and it is also used to make sponge-like items such as yoga mats and flip flops. Potassium bromate has been found to increase benign and malignant tumors in animals in the thyroid and peritoneum which is a membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and causes an increase of cancer in organs. The U.K. found this reason enough to ban these chemicals for human consumption whereas the U.S. did not. Now, this is something that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should put a stop to, but while the FDA has authority to regulate additives and animal drugs, they possess no authority over the food itself. Instead, the FDA has a list of food and food ingredients that are generally recognized as safe. By using these ingredients, food companies are essentially protected from lawsuits that could take place under U.S. liability law.

This is why, according to a survey from YouGov, only 25 percent of British people trust U.S food. Food safety news says: “Trust in chicken from the United States is especially low and the report suggests this could be a reflection of the debate and concern about chlorinated chicken”. Red Tractor (a food assurance system) launched the Trust in Food Index, which found that the public believes that the U.K.’s food is safe, traceable, and of good quality with 84 percent of consumers trusting food from Britain. The highest amount of trust in vegetables and fruit, then, bread and milk but, the lowest for meat and fish.  Half of those surveyed refer to high standards and regulations as the reason they trust the food in the U.K. Respondents also feel that inspection and assurance systems such as British Lion and Red Tractor play a greater role than the government in ensuring the U.K.’s food is safe and of good quality. I think that the U.S. could definitely do a lot more in terms of food policy to keep consumers healthy.