A recent study revealed that people who follow precisely all the standard recommendations for avoidance of infection ...

on November 5 at 12:34AM

How to start this problem

I am confused on how answer E is correct.

1 Reply

Katherine on December 24 at 06:02AM

Hi @Anna, happy to help. The passage says that those who closely follow recommendations to avoid infection by pathogens in meat-based foods are actually more likely to contract diseases caused by these pathogens than those who do not follow the recommendations. The passage concludes that these recommendations must therefore be counterproductive.

The question stem says that the argument has failed to take into account a possibility that makes it vulnerable to criticism. The answer has failed to take into consideration that those who are most careful to follow the safety recommendations to avoid pathogen infections are also those who are most susceptible to them. If someone knows that their immune system is weak and they are very susceptible to infection, they may take extra precautions to follow the safety recommendations closely. Nonetheless, they may still contract infections more frequently than those who are not naturally susceptible to the infections. Those who have strong immune systems and have never gotten infections from pathogens would not feel the same need to follow recommendations closely. This is does not mean that the recommendations are counterproductive. Following the recommendations may still prevent those susceptible to infection from getting sick even more often. Therefore, Answer E is the correct choice.

Answer A is not correct. The recommendations discussed in the passage are specifically the “pathogenic microorganisms in meat-based foods.” Every time it is mentioned in the passage, the writer uses the term “these pathogens,” to distinguish between those discussed in this passage versus other pathogens that may be found elsewhere. Because the argument is just about the recommendations to avoid infection by “these pathogens” and whether they actually reduce diseases caused by “these pathogens,” the possibility that pathogenic microorganisms can reproduce in other foods is not a ground for criticism.