The United States’ position as worldwide ambassador of capitalism and the free market, and the resulting individualistic of its’ citizens, has created a culture that dissuades, and makes impossible, to effectively address and correct the flaws of the unethical food industry that exists here and begins at the top with the enabling oversight of the corrupt Food and Drug Administration.
The Food and Drug Administration can be described as the keystone that has allowed the food industry to form into its’ current unethical and destructive state. A current norm that is a main cause of this corruption within the agency is the “revolving door” problem, in which it is commonplace for food industry employees to eventually hold jobs in the FDA, and vice versa; sharing inside information with one another. This is a problem because of the personal loyalties, as well as the likely financial loyalties, that exist when ex-food industry attempt to regulate their past businesses.
The full-scale corruption of the FDA is exemplified in their legalization of the hazardous artificial sweeteners such aspartame. Essentially, the manufacturer, G.D. Searle, had long had a history of dishonest presentation of facts and manipulation of their studies that they presented to the FDA. This was no different with aspartame. While no study that has been conducted by the aspartame industry has found anything dangerous about the chemical, basically every independent and impartial research studies have found aspartame linked to health issues such as vision problems, tinnitus, headaches, memory loss, depression, heart palpitations, diarrhea, itching, skin lesions, panic attacks and severe joint, as described by “Killing Us Sweetly: How to Take the Industry out of the FDA,” published by the Journal of Food Law and Policy (Iulano 55). The result of the ineffective FDA is exemplified simply by the fact that, even though two investigations in 1980 by the FDA found that the experiments conducted by G.D. Searle were completely fabricated and intentionally deceiving, coupled with the fact that the FDA had received more complaints regarding aspartame than any other product in the agency’s history; aspartame is still legal and the most widely used artificial sweetener in the world (Iulano 53).
Another injustice of the food industry, one enabled by an unethical FDA, as well as by the United States’ capitalistic, free-market driven business culture, is represented by social disparities in access to healthy food options. Companies concern for making profits results in rich areas that are filled with healthy food options, while poor areas are filled with unhealthy food options. This is demonstrated by the results of the study “Beyond Supermarkets: Food Outlet Location in Four U.S. Cities Over Time,” published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, that found that “Socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority populations may attract “unhealthy” food outlets over time” (Rummo et al).
Education, and shedding light on these industry practices, for all Americans is essential and is the only way to bring positive change to this situation.
Berger, Dan. Adams, Mike. The FDA drug approval process. http://www.naturalnews.com/CounterThink/The-FDA-drug-approval-process.html.
Iuliano, Jason. “Killing Us Sweetly: How to Take Industry out of the Fda.” Journal of Food Law & Policy, vol. 6, no. 1, Spring2010, pp. 31-87. EBSCOhost, login.libproxy.scu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=tr ue&db=a9h&AN=58714355&site=ehost-live.
Rummo, P. E., et al. “Beyond Supermarkets: Food Outlet Location Selection in Four U.S. Cities over Time.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 52, no. 3, 2017, p. 300-310. EBSCOhost, login.libproxy.scu.edu/loginurl=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lhh&AN=20173133924&site=eds-live.