Do Manufacturing Processes Make it Impossible for Food and Drug Companies to Create Healthy Products

Many believe that the manufacturing and food processing systems make it nearly impossible for large Corporations to produce healthy foods and drugs, but is this really true and is it fair to condemn our food distribution system? What if they did not exist? How do you feed 5.5 Million in Houston, 13.5 Million in Southern California and 12 million people in NYC? And what about sending food all over the World like we do too?

No not necessarily. The most efficient processes also allow them to make better products for less cost. They might often choose to make crappy products some times to prop up shareholders equity and quarterly profits, but the consumers can also choose not to buy them right? No one is holding a gun to people’s heads making them buy processed foods.

Some will say that in these processed foods and drugs are chemicals, which are indeed toxic. Well, sure there are some chemicals which are not good for the bio-systems in everything from Soft Drinks to Frozen TV Dinners, but also realize that many of these chemicals are needed to prevent disease, spoilage and make them taste right after thawing out and being re-heated.

Processed foods are an issue for human consumption and yes there is junk in lots of it. No one can deny that. Of course other issues include the depleted soil too, pesticides, polluted water for animals and crops. Now also realize that some of these chemicals allow the foods to be insta-frozen, reheated, microwaved, sustain travel time spoilage issues, prevent bacteria, etc. too.

So there is a catch 22 involved also. And in the end we ought to be thankful for the abundance of food available in our nation, even if we abuse this privilege by eating way too much; judging by the chubbiness of the average American. I hope this article propelled thought in 2007.

“Lance Winslow” – Online Think Tank forum board. If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; Lance is an online writer in retirement.


The United States Food and Drug Administration and NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) helps safeguard the ability of the United States Food and Drug Administration to ensure food safety and quality within North America. NAFTA is an agreement between Canada, the US and Mexico that took effect on January 1, 1994, designed to increase the scope for the free flow trade and investment among these three countries. The US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), which participated in the negotiation of NAFTA, has reviewed the US Food and Drug Administration standards for safety, purity and appropriate labeling of foods and has determined that these standards are consistent with the terms of the agreement. This is why no changes in US Food and Drug Administration standards are needed or proposed to implement NAFTA.

NAFTA does not change existing or future US Food and Drug Administration standards regarding pesticide use or pesticide and other chemical residue or contaminant standards for fresh or processed foods. NAFTA provisions safeguard the ability of the US Food Drug Administration to ensure food safety. In short, existing US Food and Drug Administration standards will continue to be applied to imported foods as well as domestically produced foods. This means that the U.S. will continue to prohibit any food shipments determined not to meet pesticide residue or other food safety requirements.

NAFTA has no effect on U.S. Food and Drug Administration laws and regulations in the area of safety, effectiveness, and appropriate labeling of human and animal drugs and medical devices. Any products coming into the U.S. must continue to meet all US FDA standards and requirements.

Additionally, NAFTA does not change or affect US Food Drug Administration laws and regulations with respect to US Food and Drug safety and appropriate labeling of dietary supplements imported in to the U.S.

U.S. FDA and TWG

Within the auspices of the NAFTA, the three countries have developed a technical working group on pesticides called TWG. It serves as a focal point for all issues related to pesticides for these countries. TWG’s aim is to ensure that the countries can be assured of the legality and safety of foods produced in any of the NAFTA countries. US food and drug administration is providing trilateral cooperation between Mexico and Canada to enforce the TWG standards.

Article 723(6) makes explicit that any party challenging a U.S. Food and Drug Administration safety measure would have the burden of showing that the US Food and Drug measure is inconsistent with NAFTA. Whether any particular level of protection is “appropriate” is a social and political judgment that the agreement reserves for the government applying the measure (see Articles 712(2) and 724). As provided in Article 712, a sanitary measure is to be based on a risk assessment “as appropriate to the circumstances,” and is not to be maintained where there is no longer a scientific basis for it. US Food and Drug Administration standards are already based on risk assessments and have a scientific basis. These NAFTA requirements help assure that measures applied by the other parties will not unfairly exclude U.S. food exports.

Russell K. Statman, Esq., is a founder and Executive Director of FDA Registrar Corp., a firm providing registration, compliance assistance and U.S. Agent Services for the food and beverage, cosmetics and medical device industries. Mr. Statman is an attorney-at-law representing firms in FDA-regulated industries for the past eighteen years. Contact the author at:


The Food and Drug Administration

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a federal agency in the United States Department of Health and Health Services. It is responsible for the regulation of most types of food, drugs, medical devices, veterinary equipment, and cosmetics. Additionally, the FDA regulates sanitation on interstate highways as well as disease control regulations on specific situations, from pets like turtles that carry salmonella to semen and egg donations. In 2008, the agency received a $2.1 billion budget to perform its duties, which is a $105.8 million dollar increase from 2007.

Most of the regulations enforced by the FDA are codified into law by the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Safety specifications vary according to each product, especially in regards to its potential risks. The Food and Drug Administration Act heavily regulates all prescription medication, including all steps of production, from testing, manufacturing, marketing, and labeling to efficacy, safety, and distribution, because of its large set of inherent risks. The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research is responsible for the monitoring of medication, with different requirements for new drugs, generic drugs, and over-the-counter medicine.

New medications must undergo extensive investigation in a process called the New Drug Application (NDA). Generic drugs are prescription medications whose patents have expired, and are therefore available for other companies to manufacture and market. The non-patented versions must be interchangeable or equivalent to the original substance. Over-the-counter medications must be deemed safe without a doctor’s prescription.

Interestingly enough, diet drugs and supplements are not subject to the strict requirements of all prescription medication, as they fall under the jurisdiction of Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. This department monitors all food products, with the exception of meat and alcoholic beverages containing more than 7% alcohol. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 officially evaluated weight loss supplements as food rather than drugs, thereby removing them from the extensive safety and efficacy testing of the New Drug Application. The FDA can only pursue action against a supplement after it proves to be harmful to a person’s health. This unfortunate situation has allowed several drugs, such as Fen-phen and Redux, to inflict large amounts of physical pain on users. Both supplements were responsible for heart valve damage and primary pulmonary hypertension cases in the mid 1990’s.

If you are interested in learning more, this website contains helpful FDA information [] and this site showcases the dangers of diet drugs [].