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Increasing Public Awareness Of Food Safety

951 words - 4 pages

In order to survive, people must eat. Unfortunately, the food that is needed for survival is not always available, safe, or nutritious for individuals, families, consumers and communities. The implementation of public policy is essential to alleviate some of the problems associated with the nation’s food supply. By gaining awareness of public policy issues that impact society and making change happen through the formation of public policy, FCS professionals in the field of nutrition can improve the health and well-being of the nation.
When FCS professionals gain an awareness of public policies related to their professional specialization, the overall message or underlying purpose of the profession is better received by the public. In 1917, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) was founded in the midst of the First World War with the intentions of “helping the government conserve food and improve public health and nutrition” (Smith & Patrick, 2008). Throughout the years following WWI, the ADA remained involved in the public issues surrounding food and nutrition. According to Smith & Patrick (2008), the ADA worked with government officials to ensure food security during the Great Depression; in World War II, the ADA sent forth dietitians as Public Health Service officers to make certain American soldiers were being properly nourished. The ADA’s involvement in causes that affect so many reinforces their purpose and credibility. Over the past year, the ADA has fervently lobbied for preventative nutrition care to be included in the health care reform bill. From its modest beginnings to present time, the ADA continues to seek out public policy issues and educates its members so that a clear, cohesive message can be presented to the public.
FCS professionals must be aware of how public policy impacts individuals, families, consumers, and communities. Matthews (2004) explains that public issues must be “meaningful” to citizens in order for citizens to become engaged, and in order for FCS professionals to know what is meaningful they must find solutions that incorporate the concerns of individuals, families, consumers and communities. Part of the ADA’s “commitment” is “advancing the profession of dietetics through…advocacy” (Smith & Patrick, 2008). For ADA to truly advocate for the aforementioned groups, they must find what is meaningful to the public. An example of this would be the confusion that many people face when it comes to the overabundance of nutrition information in the media. The ADA responded to the voice of the consumer when they found that 22% of those who have interest in nutrition information are “confused by reports” and that consumers mainly gather their nutrition information through the media (Wansink, 2006). ADA responded by implementing the ADA Spokesperson program, through which dietetic professionals can reach as many citizens as possible through the media outlets to advocate evidence-based nutrition...

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