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Current Government Issues

Current Government Issues Kathryn McConnell, a USINFO staff writer, reports that by November, federal regulations on food products entering the US will be presented to President Bush (McConnell, 2007). The first in a series of articles on food safety regulation, McConnell consulted four authorities that figure in the subject- the government via the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the food industry’s biggest trade player, Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Costco, the retail giant (McConnell, 2007).

The FSIS takes charge of proper labeling of meat and poultry imports (2007). Among the recommendations are developing tools that improve risk identification, an IT- driven supervision, and enhanced monitoring and evaluation (McConnell, 2007). The FDA, for instance, is bent on whittling down time spent in identifying and controlling food-borne illnesses (2007). GMA, on the other hand, aims to strengthen the industry’s relationship with the government, in hopes that both parties will benefit from each other (2007). GMA’s proposition is for U.

S. food importers to take on a quality assurance program that matches up the requirements of FDA (2007). For their part, Costco stated that they have taken up safety preventive measures following consumer expectations (2007). The article shows both strong and weak points. First, the strong points: 1. Taking differential opinions from involved parties triangulate the story. The government agencies (the regulatory board), the manufacturer (seller) and the retail chain (buyer) complete the arc of the food safety issue.

It is important to a well- represented story, for all facts to straighten out but it is more important for the source to be knowledgeable. 2. Expertise of sources. The writer did not just gather information from any rank and file employees per agency. Instead, she sought information from those directly involved with the issue- the assistant commissioner for food protection of FDA, the president of GMA, the FSIS administrator, and the vice-president of food safety and quality of Costco. It is important to have qualified and competent sources, those that can verify the information that they are going to share.

3. Presentation of story- general to specific. The article was presented from a general point of view (proposing to regulate food safety imports and the involved players) down to specifics (recommended actions). It followed the inverted triangle way of telling a story, which is good, especially this having a positive tone- regulating food safety. On the downside, the article has one: 1. Insufficient background. The article started with a sentence summarizing what the story is about. Then it proceeded detailing it.

It would have been better if it spent a few sentences on the risk of unsafe food products in the US first, providing figures on the rising numbers. By doing so, the reader would immediately make a connection on the escalating unsafe food imports and the need of creating stricter food import regulations. The article is a first in a series. Perhaps, information would be presented in more details in the subsequent articles. As a primer, it was written well. It is concise while covering all major points. It was written in such a way that it was easy to read and understand.

Given the impact of food safety in the United States, stories such as this should be done as such. The author was successful in putting an all-together article, albeit it is just a primer of sorts. It is also important to note that such stories should be readily accessible to everyone. Since the article paints directly on food, one of human’s basic necessities, it is recommended to put the story in a frequently visited websites such as Yahoo or Google. Another issue that has gripped the interest of many, including the government, is that on immigration.

In an article published in the New York Times, writer Mike Nizza tackles the aftermath of vamping up the U. S. immigration law on the country’s farm industry. With the issuance of a 90-day warning for farmers in hiring illegal immigrants, farms are starting to report loss in harvest (Nizza, 2007). An estimated 70 percent of farm workers around the country are said to be illegal workers, those with phony Social Security numbers (2007). The government is said to be working on regulations that would solve the problems of illegal immigration while at the same time helping farm owners caught in the middle (2007).

The problem is being addressed by the departments of Homeland Security, State and Labor (2007). In Washington, lawmakers are still pondering on the addition of a farm bill that would create a system that would all migrant workers (2007). The system is called “AgJob” (2007). The effect of cracking down illegal immigrants on farms’ produce is also causing another debate- if the situation is simply an exaggeration or it is something worth finding a solution. Nizza concluded by saying that several farm owners have opted for an easy solution by transplanting their farms to Mexico where labor is cheap and legal.

The article shows both strong and weak points. First the strong points: 1. Chronological style of presenting facts. The article presented a background of the immigration problem, albeit brief. This allowed the readers to understand where the author’s point is coming from. Instead of just starting the story with how the revamped immigration law has affected the country’s produce, the readers are given a backdrop. 2. Use of statistics and other sources. To corroborate the effects of farm –labor muddle, the author culled information from various publications such as The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.

Information extracted from the New York Times even had testimonies from academic economists. Additionally, data was obtained from grower associations and unions to verify the figures of illegal farm workers. On the downside, the article has two: 1. Failure to maximize facts. Yes, the article used figures and reliable sources to back up the story. However, it failed to capitalize on it, to expound on it. It is like being presented with a new product that marketers say is good, without saying what it is for, the advantages of using it, etc.

Illegal immigration is a critical problem the U. S. is facing. Hence, readers need to be presented with sufficient facts and corroborate it to fully understand what the problem is and its possible effects to the nation’s economy. 2. Abrupt conclusion. After all the fuss presented on the problem of farm-labor, it seemed that the conclusion was rushed, so to speak. The author presented a solution to the debacle: transplanting to nearby Mexico where labor is cheap and legal. This, although a clear-cut solution, was again not expanded on.

The author mentioned a farm owner’s name that did the relocation but did not further talk on it. It would have been better if the farm owner was interviewed or the advantages, other than the obvious cheap labor, of relocating to Mexico would be favorable not just to the owner, workers, but also to the end consumers of the yield. The article was written at a time when the immigration tussle was being grilled, where almost every publication has a story on it. However, the article mainly culled data from various sources and presented it.

While the author did not passed the information as his own, it would have been more convincing had the author injected what his thoughts on the matter is and how he would connect with the information that he obtained. References McConnell, K. (2007). Safety agencies, industry seek more import regulation. Retrieved October 10, 2007, from U. S. Department of State Web site: http://usinfo. state. gov/ Nizza, M. (2007) Breaking point in immigration debate. Retrieved October 10, 2007, from The New York Times Web site: http://thelede. blogs. nytimes. com