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Friday night, I went out to eat and I ordered a hamburger.  When the waitress placed my food down in front of me, the bun was laying on the side showing the meat, I realized that my burger had once been part of a cow.  I never thought twice about what I was eating up until that point in my life.  After our discussion in class about how we usually don’t think about how our food used to be part of a living animal, I thought about how the cow that made my hamburger lived its life.  That brought me back to those videos we watched in class about the cruel conditions these animals are kept in when they are alive.  The cramped living conditions they are stuck in and how the force-fed corn makes them sick.  The more shocking fact was how their human masters treated them; kicking them around like a soccer ball.  My point is, after seeing what goes on behind the scenes, maybe you would think twice about what you eat.  I believe this is the case because we, as consumers, are becoming increasingly distant to our food production processes and sources.

            I read an article on the New York Times about how the Food and Drug Administration declined to regulate the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture (  The article went on to mention “the F.D.A. made it crystal clear that, despite the increasingly common threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in supermarket meat, it would leave the regulating up to industry itself.”  I just find this irresponsible of the FDA, especially considering this is a professional governmental administration.  Leaving an industry to regulate itself is like telling an alcoholic not to drink and then leaving him in a room full of alcohol.  The FDA needs to set some kind of ground rules at least so these companies don’t screw things up too much.  I am suspecting some form of state capture that’s in effect but that is still no excuse.  Also, another problem with no antibiotic regulation is that diseases will build up an immunity to these antibiotics that protect us, creating mutant bacteria that we have no chance of fighting.  The article mentioned how in 2010, 29 million pounds of antibiotics were used on animals.  Just the fact that there is a need for these antibiotics to keep the animals healthy (due to their living conditions) is wrong.

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One of the reasons why I am interested in taking this course is because I want to know more about what really goes on in the food production process before I buy it off the shelf. Working in a supermarket for 4 years got me thinking about where our food really comes from.   The only major thing I know about this process is that the meat we are buying now comes from livestock raised in factory farms.  The living conditions in these places are awful to keep animals in, and that the animals are treated inhumanely.  I know that the meat industry isn’t the only one that cuts corners and has some skeletons in its closet, but I want to find out who these other industries are and what they are doing that is wrong.

I read an article on about the fungicide found in the juices we are importing into this country, mainly orange juice.  At high levels, the fungicide has been tied to liver cancer.  It specifically mentioned how the fungicide found in the juice, carbendazim, is banned from use in the US but not in Europe.  The interesting part is that the EU has established a maximum residue limit, or maximum level considered safe, for carbendazim in orange juice: 200 parts per billion, while the FDA said it would reject any shipments found to contain the fungicide at 10 ppb or more.  Just seeing the EU having more laxed standards than their American counterpart was very surprising to me.  I found this to be out of character for EU standards.  Europe is known to have very strict standards when it comes to any form of regulation.  That, adding in the fact that European consumers are highly interested in where their food comes from, is really surprising.  My other thought I had on this article is a question: why does America need to import the majority of its juice, especially orange juice?  I understand that we don’t grow all the necessary fruits to make some of these juices, but we shouldn’t be importing orange juice considering America is one of the leading growers of oranges in the world.  I know that buying oranges grown in other countries is probably cheaper, but we shouldn’t be importing something that we are perfectly capable of producing ourselves.  I guess it bothers me that we are outsourcing one of the few things left America can do on its own.