Illustration of Unhealthy Working Conditions and Unsafe Food in Sinclair’s the Jungle
To many foreigners, America seemed like a paradise compared to their home country. It boasted better wages, better jobs, and a better life. This was not a lie, but for immigrants, was very hard to obtain. The ones that were making money were the people that had been living in America for generations and established businesses that took advantage of immigrant workers for low pay. Unsanitary working conditions and unsafe food is portrayed in The Jungle. The life of immigrants, for some, was worse than their life back home. Rules in packing plants were not enforced, the laws did not help ensure safety because they were not followed, and the government should make and enforce regulations to ensure quality food.
Packing rules were not enforced to the degree they should have been. The first example of this is when the inspector comes into the plant that Jurgis works at. He looks at a few animals to check their quality. After he determines they are fit for consumption, the others are not checked as they should be. Instead of doing a thorough check of the whole plant, he gets distracted in a conversation by the owner. Another example of this is the owner of the plant not enforcing any rules. They should not have used diseased animals, but the owner sent them out in the same fashion as the animals that were fit for consumption.
Without government enforcement, most regulations will go unfollowed. People that run the packinghouses are very greedy and will do anything to ensure a greater profit. They do not follow them because it costs money to discard product that is unsafe for consumption. These products eventually end up with consumers and can cause sickness or even death, while the consumers think the product is safe. In the novel, the only thing that the laws did was trick consumers into thinking they were eating safe food, which in reality was not fit to eat.
The government should frequently send out inspectors at various times without warning. Every time there should be a different inspector to ensure there is a quality inspection. On top of this, they should survey the workers of the plant. To make sure that it is a fair survey, they should guarantee job security and make sure that there will not be repercussions from the employers if they tell the truth. The government should also constantly update their laws and regulations to ensure public safety because of upcoming possible problems.
The regulations for the packing plants had good intentions, but were not enforced satisfactorily. Inspectors were corrupt and did inadequate jobs inspecting the plants. Laws and rules only trick people when they are not enforced, rather than ensuring the safety of people. People’s greed cannot be contained and can only be controlled with proper government intervention. There was not proper regulation or inspection in the packing plants in the novel.
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