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Safe is an absolute, considering you are safe or you are not. Although in essence nothing is safe, so we get the balance of hazards and protection. We can invest in protection by managing risks.

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Protection is the inverse of nourishment, and they are parts of the same environment. We live in an environment where we have to go out to be nourished, but that is a hazard to go out into the environment. We must consume everything that our bodies require, although we have to be careful not to consume the food products that are hazardous to our health. The main question that has haunted humans for all time is how do we nourish ourselves without harming our health by consuming toxins and hazardous food products. The best method that was found for feeding infants is breastfeeding, since the mother is dissolving her tissues to feed the infant. It costs the mother to breastfeed her child, although it greatly benefits the infant consuming that breast milk. We have had positive selective pressure throughout time that favors breastfeeding, because if it weren’t favored it would have been lost in the evolutionary pathway. Overall, the mother is nourishing and protecting her infant because breast milk contains oligosaccharides, which are indigestible by infants.

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These oligosaccharides are prebiotics for the probiotics living in the intestines of the infant. Since probiotics are beneficial for overall digestive health, it is good to have a great colony of these living in our intestines. These oligosaccharides feed the probiotics, and allow them to multiply and keep up with their duty of keeping the digestive health as it should be. Also, breast milk contains bacteria, such as bifidobacterium infantis. The bacteria that is present in breast milk is very beneficial for the infant to consume because this helps the infant form its gut microbiome. The gut microbiome helps the body carry out its normal functions, and plays a role in immune system health. The gut microbiota assists in defending the infant against the colonization of pathogens, as well as protect the infant from developing neurological, metabolic, and immunological diseases (Konkel). Infants that are fed with formula instead of breast milk have to be fed the bacteria separately or else they wont develop the same gut microbiota as milk fed infants. Food scientists have almost reached their goal in eliminating food born illnesses, because the leading causes of death in 1997 were heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Therefore, not many people are dying from food born illnesses in the big picture. Food born illnesses can result from a number of things, such as microbes, the environment, natural toxicants, food additives, pesticides, as well as contamination. One cannot simply eliminate all deleterious aspects of a food product, although we attempt to balance the risk with the benefit. Therefore, if the risk of consuming a particular food product is higher than the benefit, then no one should consume that food product, and if the benefit of consuming a particular food product is higher than the risk, then one should consume that food product. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates these risks and benefits of a food product. The FDA is attempting to keep the population safe and away from hazardous food materials. The FDA attempts to keep the population away from toxicants, which if consumed in high enough concentration they could cause deleterious effects on the population. As well as the FDA attempts to keep the population consuming the appropriate nutrients, which if not consumed in appropriate amounts will result in harmful effects on the population. A specific situation in which a food product had been contaminated, was the Nestle chocolate cookie dough, which was infected with salmonella.

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If the consumers were to obey the directions and only consume the cookie dough after properly cooking it, then all of the salmonella would be killed, causing no harmful effects to the consumer. Since not all people obey the directions on the package, and some consumers decide to eat the product raw, there was a chance that they could suffer the consequences of salmonella poisoning. Therefore, the Nestle company had no other choice but to recall the packages of cookie dough from that batch, which added up to thousands upon thousands of cookie dough packages. The Nestle Company had to do so because if they had not, their company could have been sued by the infected individuals, and ultimately failed.

Resources:

Konkel, Lindsey, Jayne Danska, Sarkis Mazmanian, and Lisa Chadwick. “Medscape.” Medscape. N.p., 2013. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.

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