From David Fisman and Sarah Elton, Postmedia news:
“Canadians, this week, are a little nervous around beef. For good reason.
“Verotoxigenic” E. coli (VTEC), which are often a strain known as E. coli O157: H7, are yet again causing an outbreak, with numerous Canadians sickened by tainted beef. Now what’s being called the country’s largest food recall is unfolding. We’re being told not to eat the steaks, hamburger and other beef products handled by Alberta’s XL Foods that have been sold in supermarkets across the country. Meanwhile, the federal government is under attack for not having protected our food from this bug, which generally causes bloody diarrhea and an associated blood and kidney disorder.
It will likely be many weeks before epidemiologists have a clearer picture of what’s happening. However, this is by no means a unique event. Continue reading
From Josh Wingrove and Dawn Walton, in the Globe and Mail:
XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alberta. Photo via Calgary Sun. Click image to go there.
“At each stage, the E. coli sneaked through. It came in with the feces caked on the hide of at least one cow, a so-called “super-shedder” of bacteria, and persevered. The E. coli wasn’t caught on the kill floor, survived cleaning and clung on during dehiding, in which a cow’s skin is peeled away.
It reached the cutting table – a bacteria watershed, where the cow is cut into different types of beef, including “trim,” the odds and ends that become hamburger. The E. coli went undetected in the 325 grams of beef trim tested from this particular 2,000-pound batch, so it moved through. When alarms sounded, it was in stores. Continue reading
From Melody Petersen, on The Chronicle of Higher Education:
“A sales brochure touts Zilmax to children raising show cattle. The drug and others like it have been banned in the European Union and elsewhere because of concerns that they might endanger human health.” – from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
“Cameras rolled one day last fall as Ty E. Lawrence led journalists into a room-sized meat locker on the campus of West Texas A&M University, where bloody sides of beef, still covered with a slick layer of ivory-colored fat, hung from steel hooks. Dressed in a white lab coat, a hard hat on his head, Lawrence pointed to the carcass of a Holstein that had been fed a new drug called Zilmax. He noted its larger size compared with the nearby body of a steer never given the drug.
“This is thicker, and it’s plumper,” said Lawrence, an associate professor of animal science, pointing at the beast’s rib-eye. “This animal right here,” he said, waving his hand at the pharmaceutically enhanced meat, “doesn’t look like a Holstein anymore.” Continue reading
Underground sources report that U.S. food safety legislation is already being implemented. Here are a few snippets:
S510 is going into effect. For those who supported it, arguing it was needed and wasn’t going to destroy local farmers and food producers, here is the reality.
This radio show gives detail. Listen to the podcast at: http://www.derrybrownfield.com/tracks/042511.mp3
They are using it to try to shut down Mike Callicrate and/or people doing the same work he is, with HACCP. He produced raw beef and delivers it fresh every day, within just hours of grinding it (or cutting, too?). They are imposing a “test and wait” rule, in which ground beef (or other kinds, too?) has to be tested daily (sent off for tests?) and then held for test results (for days). This would kill the business of anyone producing fresh meat. Continue reading
Here’s an excellent response by Kimberly Hartke, to the recent bad news about the sad state of America’s meat processing industry. This story was recently published in Lancaster Farming:
The Sunday New York Times recently ran an article by Michael Moss entitled, E. Coli Path Shows Flaws in Beef Inspection
. Because of the scope of this article and the influence of the New York Times, it is important that farmers take the implications of this expose of our current food system seriously.Health conscious consumers will read the article and conclude that avoiding beef is necessary to prevent serious illness. The article portrays in vivid detail large processing plants with shocking hygiene practices, numerous food safety violations and inspection failings. The story begins with a horror story of a young woman who may be paralyzed for life due to complications from a virulent e.coli infection.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that our current system is failing the consumer, and that our government is powerless to prevent massive foodborne illness outbreaks. It’s enough to make a meat eater go vegan.
However, the article focuses like a laser beam on one segment of the industry only, the large meat conglomerates and the mega processing facilities. To the uneducated consumer, it would seem that there is no other option available but to shun beef, especially ground beef, altogether. Continue reading