When it comes to imported foods, the public is divided. There are organisations and individuals who believe that all imported foods are harmful. They might say things like “imported foods bring diseases to our nation, as well as deprive people of work”. Is this, however, true or merely political? Let’s look at some of the benefits of international food from Wanis and make a decision together.
Can we be sure that imported foods are safe for us and our loved ones?
Let’s start with a typical Canadian or American’s daily diet. Because of their hectic schedules, most citizens cannot afford to handpick each and every ingredient and prepare each and every meal. Idealists would have us believe that we should all become food connoisseurs, growing each food ingredient in our own backyard. Or “at least they would prefer” that we buy only raw ingredients from a local farmer’s market and cook everything ourselves.
However, such ideas are unrealistic for most people, and everyone eventually buys half-cooked or cooked food. Thankfully, this is why food licencing exists. To sell food, a company that manufactures cooked or half-cooked food must have a food vendor’s licence. As a result, all food is thoroughly checked and safe to eat, even if you did not handpick every ingredient and prepare it yourself.
Second, many of the meals we enjoy are a mash-up of ingredients from around the world. So the flavour of these meals would be different if we only used American and Canadian ingredients. It is a simple fact that some food ingredients simply cannot be produced in North America – up to 60% of everything we eat is imported for a reason.
Naturally, all imported food must be kept fresh and safe. This is why we have strict transportation regulations in place, as well as approved preprocessing techniques. President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (worth $1.4 billion) in 2011.
Last but not least, we must not forget that we produce foods that are then exported globally. The flow of food imports and exports is a business chain in which both sides of the coin coexist.
You may believe that importing foods deprives our own people of work, but this is simply not true. People are needed to keep the import-export business running, which includes transportation jobs, marketing jobs, and selling positions.
Imported foods bring a lot of advantages:
Good quality foods
We cannot always be certain of the quality of foods produced locally. Because there is less distrust, local food regulations are less stringent. Ironically, this means that local food is less quality controlled.
When foods are imported, however, their quality is always checked, and only the best products end up on our market. If a supplier tries to sell low-quality food, it will be rejected sooner or later.
Another assurance that we eat high-quality imported foods is that the reputations of food importing companies are at stake. If these companies do not receive positive consumer feedback, they will do everything possible to change the supplier and begin offering foods that people will enjoy eating.
Even though it may not appear so at first, if we do the math, we can save money in the long run by purchasing imported foods. Why is this the case? Often, it is less expensive to import and transport food than it is to produce it locally. In other countries, the dollar is more valuable. As a result, these countries sell their foods at lower prices, which we can benefit from.
Furthermore, when a particular food is imported in large quantities, its price falls even further, keeping both producers and buyers busy. Keep in mind that even when large quantities of food are imported, their quality is still checked.
Importing food, believe it or not, saves energy. How? The energy used in Kenya to grow plants on a farm is much lower than the energy used in the United States to produce the same product. The amount of energy used to ship the product is also reduced.
Energy efficiency is also beneficial to the environment. We save money, our government saves money, we protect the environment, and we employ many people from all over the world by eating imported foods.
Remember that importing food provides people with more options. We can select from a variety of products to find the one we prefer. Our country’s climate and land do not allow for the year-round cultivation of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. We can have fresh bananas, mangoes, tomatoes, or potatoes whenever we want because of imported foods.
Furthermore, importing food does not always imply purchasing foreign-made goods. Companies that manufacture half-cooked food occasionally use foreign ingredients in the manufacturing process. These ingredients are essential because they give foods the distinct flavours we’ve come to love.
When it comes to buying foreign food directly, however, we have a wider range of options.
This encourages competition among food processing companies, and they will go to any length to create the best product possible. Of course, this leads to better food quality.
While some farmers and food producers believe that importing food increases unemployment, consider this: both importing and exporting food creates job opportunities in new fields. To keep the import-export flow going, we need people who will ensure that the entire process runs smoothly while adhering to all of the aforementioned rules and regulations.
Meanwhile, our government provides farm subsidies. We currently pay farmers across the country $20 billion per year. That is not the case in Africa, for example, where farmers do not receive any subsidies.
Furthermore, the number of people interested in working as farmers is constantly decreasing.
Younger generations desire a luxurious lifestyle and to live in fashionable cities. As a result of a lack of local food production, obtaining imported foods is gradually becoming a necessity rather than a choice.
All of this promotes economic growth, not only in our country, but globally. A European study, for example, found that creating a single market can result in 300.000 – 900.000 additional jobs in the import and export sectors. As a result, imported foods should be strongly encouraged.