Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mad Cow & Meat

On one of my old websites, which no longer exists, I had a mad cow section. I collected stories and information about this horrible disease. I know there's a rather tiny potential for a person to contract mad cow disease in the big scheme of things, but it's such a nasty bugger that it's worth keeping an eye on trends and possibilities.

After reading about it over the years I'm not so sure that here in our great and usually wonderful country that we're as safe as "they" like to portray. We don't keep our cows around long enough to figure out whether they might have it. We raise 'em and kill 'em quick.

Years back I read a book by a reporter who traveled the country and wrote about our food supply. One of the things I remember in particular was how chickens were processed. If the chicken has a diseased wing or other part it was, per his reporting, targeted for chicken parts or canned chicken. The problem part was discarded, the rest was used. So picture this: a chicken with cancer in one part of its body, the rest cut up and stuck in a styrofoam container covered with shrink wrap in your local grocery store. Yum. Somehow I don't think they have doctors checking these little critters to see if maybe there are cancer cells in its breast or whatever part is deemed OK for us to eat.

If I hadn't already been a vegetarian that would have been enough to stop me from ever eating chicken!

Here's a story or two on the latest and greatest scare in regards to our meat supply:

Inspectors say meat safety is threatened
LOS ANGELES - Sometimes, government inspectors responsible for examining slaughterhouse cattle for mad cow disease and other ills are so short-staffed that they find themselves peering down from catwalks at hundreds of animals at once, looking for such telltale signs as droopy ears, stumbling gait and facial paralysis.

Canadian mad cow concerns focus of U.S. lawsuit
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Lawyers representing cattle, consumer and health interests urged a federal judge in Sioux Falls today to stop imports of older Canadian cattle because of the potential threat of mad cow disease.
An attorney for the federal government countered that a preliminary injunction should not be granted because rules and changes in the industry do a good job of protecting American animals, people and markets.

US meat recalled after mad cow concerns
It is the biggest food recall in US history. About 65 million kilograms of beef products from a Californian slaughterhouse have been recalled because of concerns about the plant's production line. Some animals were unable to stand and that has prompted concerns about their ability to be tested for infections like mad cow's disease.

Beef industry responds to secret video
DENVER (AP) About 150 school districts have stopped using beef from the Southern California slaughterhouse where workers were caught on videotape abusing sick or crippled animals.And two fast-food chains, Jack-In-the-Box and In-N-Out, say they will not use beef from Westland/Hallmark Meat Company

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