Monday, May 3, 2010

American Meat: Even Grosser Than You Thought

I love meat. So when I oppose factory farming, it's not because I believe in animal rights. The lion doesn't care about animal rights when he eats a gazelle, so neither should we, as far as I'm concerned. But the fact is, the more humanely our livestock are kept and slaughtered, the healthier their meats will be. There is literally no reason cows should be fed grains, rather than grass, which turn their dung into poison, which they are forced to wade in up to their ankles until they are slaughtered. This e coli-infested dung is all over their carcasses, which often ends up in the steaks or ground beef they're eventually processed into. Rather than tackle the root cause of this, they treat it with ammonia, and soon, if they have their way, radiation, to kill the bacteria. Then we eat it. And this says nothing about feeding cows chicken feces. The sad fact is, you may never be able to enjoy a nice, healthy steak again. Unless you slaughter your own cow.

    Alternet -

    In 2008, Mexican authorities rejected a shipment of U.S. beef because the meat exceeded Mexico's regulatory tolerance for copper. The rejected meat was returned to the United States, where it was sold and consumed, because the U.S. has no regulatory threshold for copper in meat.

    Incidents like this are why the food safety arm of USDA, known as the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), is under USDA scrutiny. While the public has gotten used to microbes like E. coli and salmonella threatening the nation's meat supply, and while food safety agencies make food-borne illness a high-profile priority, contamination of meat by heavy metals, veterinary drugs and pesticides has been slipping through the bureaucratic cracks.