America's Food Supply Is Growing Safer

Aug 25, 2016

Credit mxmstryo / Flickr Creative Commons

The system for catching dangerous pathogens in America’s food supply appears to be working, according to

Early last year microscopic Listeria pathogen was discovered lurking in ice cream bars pulled from a Blue Bell Creameries distribution center. As a result, 8 million gallons of Blue Bell ice cream products were removed from homes and stores. But not before at least 10 people across four states got sick. Four of them died. The Blue Bell case shows how the public is put at risk when food companies are allowed to self-regulate.

But Americans are seeing more recalls every year, and that’s not a bad thing. Over the past two decades, illnesses from outbreaks have been cut in half. The improvement is a result of a change in the food industry, to more of a food-safety culture. Still, there’s a long way to go. The CDC estimates that nearly 48 million Americans are sickened by foodborne illnesses each year.