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Within the past few decades, the developing world has slowly but surely begun to catch up with 1st world countries both in economic capability and local industrial capacity. However, such developments are still fairly limited with developing countries still far from the health and safety standards that are present within developed economies.
One clear limitation that contributes towards declining life expectancy can be seen within the context of the safety standards of food within developing countries such as Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. Despite the rapid industrialization such countries have had within the past two decades, lacklustre food safety standards both in preparation and handling is one of the prime causes for the various food poisoning scares affecting these areas.
On the other end of the spectrum, rapid industrialization has also contributed towards the deterioration of the health of local populaces within the developed world. Smog from coal based power plants as well as the chemical runoff from factories going into the various rivers and streams has severely affected the health of local populations resulting in the development of not only lung related diseases but chemical poisoning as well due to the ingestion of polluted water.
It is based on this that this paper will examine food safety standards and rapid industrialization as two of the factors behind low life expectancy within the developed world. It is the primary assumption of this study that exposure to subpar food safety standards as well as pollution through rapid industrialization has significantly impacted the life expectancy of local populations within the developing world.
Food Safety Standards
Over the years, numerous processes have been developed in order to ensure that the handling and storage of food is conducted in a safe and sterile manner. These processes have been developed in response to various types of bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni and a plethora of similar pathogens that can develop in food that has not been handled, processed or stored properly (Baumgartner, 2000). The end result are cases of food poisoning which can range from mild to severe symptoms.
Condrad (2000) points out that the economic reality of countries such as Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam where a vast majority of the citizenry lives below the poverty line prevents the implementation of ISO 22000 safety standards given the significant extra cost that comes with the implementation of such procedures (Condrad 2000).
Furthermore, food preparation in certain cultures may seem “dirty” or “unhygienic” to Western standards, however, they have been a part of the traditional knowledge makeup of a local society to such an extent that the imposition of new practices to change age old cultural methods of food preparation is often met with significant local opposition (Al-Kandari & Jukes, 2012).
Lastly, government imposed safety measures on food storage, handling and preparation differs from country to country as evidenced by the trade restrictions on certain types of food from Asia to the Western world given the differences in food safety standards (Al-Kandari & Jukes, 2012). The end result is the exposure of local populations in the developing world to an assortment of food contaminants which, more often than not, result in the death or hospitalization of people that have eaten these tainted products.
As developing countries continue to move towards industrialization in order to become more competitive in the global economy, this often adversely impacts local ecological systems. China for example is widely considered to be a modern day success story wherein through progressive economic policies and a focus on making the local economy more open towards foreign capital investments the end result has been the creation of the world’s second largest economy with a massive industrial base.
This has enabled Chinese society to reinvent itself resulting in a distinct shift towards urban lifestyles and the development of a greater predilection towards the trappings of modern day living (i.e. the use of cars, apartments, modern day gadgetry etc.)
Unfortunately, the price that was paid for such “progress” has been a significant degree of environmental pollution evidenced by the sheer amount of toxic smog within China’s industrial centres which has been blamed for the rising cases of lung cancer and other lung related illnesses (Zheng & Kahn 2013).
Furthermore, social stratification within the country brought about by an almost nonexistent “trickle- down effect” has resulted in deplorable living conditions for the worker class and the urban poor while the Chinese elite enjoy lifestyles comparable to upper and middle class societies within Europe (Zheng & Kahn 2013).
When examining such an example and comparing it to the “push towards industrialization” seen within many developing societies at the present, it can be seen that the developing world is bearing the brunt of the current outsourcing industry resulting in the proliferation of illnesses related to the sheer amount of pollutants released into their local environment.
Based on the results of the examination, it was shown in this paper that exposure to subpar food safety standards as well as pollution through rapid industrialization has significantly impacted the life expectancy of local populations within the developing world.
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Al-Kandari, D, & Jukes, D 2012, ‘The food control system in Saudi Arabia – Centralizing food control activities’, Food Control, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 33-46
Baumgartner, PA 2000, ‘Food safety’, Australian Journal Of Nutrition & Dietetics, vol. 57, no.4, pp. 227-228
Condrad Holton, WW 2000, ‘Fresh Ideas for Food Safety’, Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 108, no.11, p. 516
Zheng, S, & Kahn, M 2013, ‘Understanding China’s Urban Pollution Dynamics’, Journal Of Economic Literature, vol.51, no.3, pp. 731-772