If you’re like many people these days, you may feel as if reports of food-related illness are on the rise. After all, every other headline seems to be about a food recall, a salmonella outbreak, or some other issue related to food safety. Are the cases themselves actually on the climb or are such stories just permeating the headlines more often?
Recent studies show that it’s actually the former, so it’s more than just your imagination. The latest report from the Public Interest Research Group shows that the actual occurrences of food-borne illness has increased by as much as 44% over the past couple of years alone.
Additional statistics state that tainted or contaminated food items currently make up to 48 million Americans sick each year and cost the United States economy over $77 billion. Numbers like these are leaving people all over the world wondering why. As technology improves, shouldn’t our food be getting safer to consume and not the other way around?
Part of the problem has to do with the scale on which food is manufactured and shipped these days. Larger scales allow more chances for cross-contamination and that accounts for a lot of what we’re seeing in the headlines.
The good news is that we can actually expect to see the improvements we’d expect making an appearance very soon. Recent changes made to health policies and food safety regulations are expected to finally give the FDA the tools they need most when it comes to protecting consumers from harm to a greater degree in the future.
Some will be going into effect in 2013. Others are still awaiting approval and funding and will make an appearance in the years to come. In the meantime, experts agree that buying local is a good way to ensure quality and safety.