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Behind the Bacon Burger

What's going into your burger?

The phrase ignorance is bliss would perfectly caption food consumerism in America. For too long consumers have turned a blind eye to how food is produced and the workers who process it. Most consumers in America believe the threats of this way of food processing has no direct impact to them. However, it’s not only the moral aspect consumers should look at but also the disease's that come with it. Sanitation, harmful additives, and inhumane treatment of both the animals and workers should be of great concern to consumers around the world.

Sanitation needs to be more prevalent of a concern in regards to mass production of processed foods in America. Once the animals are inside the factories, improper handling of raw meats causes thousands of recalls across the country every year. Along with improper handling is the use of dirty and untreated utensils used to cut and package meats down the line.These unsanitary utensils can easily transfer germs to the raw meats called cross contamination. If by chance the meat hasn't become contaminated at this point in it’s journey, then incompetent shipping practices will definitely do the trick. Since meat has to stay at a certain temperature after being processed, just a few degrees off and the meat will spoil leaving millions of consumers ill. Illnesses that include mad cow disease and e-coli that both pose a serious threat to American consumers health.

Harmful chemicals are added to the animal’s food and directly injected during the staging process. Steroids are the most popular chemical pumped into the mass produced animals these days. By using steroids a company can decrease growth time and increase profits by growing them faster, fatter, and meatier than organically grown. As good as this might sound, the strain that it places on the animals is a menace. From lack of immune systems to underdeveloped bones, many animals live a abysmal life full of constant pain and agony till taken to slaughter. Along with steroids, GMOs have been a hot topic all over the country because of the effects on humans. When it comes to GMOs in production foods, the consumer can take their pick of side effects from becoming sterile to multiple birth defects. In relation to the side effects of GMOs, we still don’t have a full understanding of the damage theses additives can do.

The biggest moral issues with processed foods is inhumane treatment of animals and workers in the industrial food processing trade. For workers, not having hard hats or appropriate personal protective equipment leaves these workers subject to disease, infections, and cross-contamination. Along with theses concerns is also longer working hours and poor pay, as this leads to exhausted workers causing gross oversight of important health issues with the product that the worker is responsible for. With that, the inhumane conditions are not limited to only the workers as the animals are equally at risk. From beatings to prodding the animals with metal rods, these animals are abused until slaughter. The babies are violently torn from its mother at a younger age than what would be recommended for proper development and tossed to the side. The immature cow is then piled on top of hundreds of other calves in filth and stall bars pressed into their ribs for days on end due to overpopulation. Best stated by Matthew Scully in his short story Fear Factories: “Rarely are the creatures afflictions examined by a vet or even noticed by the migrant laborers charged with their care, unless of course some ailment threatens production.”

When trying to decide what you put into your body, look to organic foods, and pay attention to how that company not only deals with its animals, but also with the workers. These companies are the ones who will take more pride into maintaining a higher level of cleanliness and workers well being in both safety and happiness. Scully summed it up best, again:

“The human mind, especially when there is money to be had, can manufacture grand excuses for the exploitation of other human beings.”

Companies will not change a practice that brings profit, even if it harms the animals and people, it comes into contact with. If a consumer can’t see firsthand what goes on in the factories, should Americans trust that company with the consumers well being.