Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Factory Food In The News

Nationwide study finds U.S. meat and poultry is widely contaminated: Multi-drug-resistant Staph found in nearly 1 in 4 samples, review shows. According to this article from a non-profit biomedical research institute, when a survey was done of supermarket meat from five cities,
Nearly half of the meat and poultry samples — 47 percent — were contaminated with S. aureus, and more than half of those bacteria — 52 percent — were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics, according to the study published today in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
So we should do something about this, right? Why don't we go inside factory farms and meat processing facilities, and shed some light on the situation? Send investigative journalists in to document things?

Unfortunately, the factory food industry is one step ahead of us. If a new Minnesota bill becomes law, anyone caught going undercover to document animal abuses at a factory farm could be sentenced to 5 years in jail.
[A]nyone who produces a recording of an image or sound occuring at an animal facility—or anyone caught possessing or distributing such content—could be charged with a gross misdemeanor. Presumably, that would include anyone who shared a video on YouTube.
So no longer would we be able to see such inspiring videos as these.

Similar laws have already passed in other states. And whose name do you think came up in the middle of all of this
? You can probably guess (from Grist):

Monsanto has more facilities in Iowa than in any other state in the country, with more than 25 offices. The company is heavily invested in the bill's outcome because "crop operations" are also covered, which would apply to Monsanto's seed houses, pesticide manufacturing plants and research facilities throughout Iowa. The biotech and crop chemical giant wouldn't want any undercover videos produced on its clock, apparently. 
That's a bit ironic, however, given the fact that Monsanto investigators are notorious for trespassing on farmers' property and going to extreme measures to produce evidence of seed patent infringement, including posing as land mappers or even joining a local Alcohol [sic] Anonymous group to gain the farmers' trust and gain video access to their fields. Talk about undercover.
Taco Bell has the answer to all of these problems: Put less meat in your meat! They were recently sued by a woman alleging that the "beef" in their beef tacos contained less than 50% beef. Au contraire, they responded, our beef contains closer to 88% beef! Hmm. Their ingredient list is not inspiring, and their explanation is weasely. But at the end of the day, it's not all that different from the worst of the processed food you can buy at the supermarket.

Bon appetit, folks.

1 comment:

Carla said...

Chickens live in my back yard. I eat the eggs they make. The roam around all day long, in the grass, scratching and dusting. I am psychologically preparing myself to one day slaughter a chicken, but that day seems very far off. On the other hand, I have no problem disposing of the remains of gophers I've managed to catch in my traps. Those rodents destroy many useful foods in my garden.

I still purchase organic chicken at the butcher shop, will not go near the non-organic stuff. But I know "free range" doesn't necessarily mean that which it should. At least I no longer have to buy eggs. Even those cage-free or free-range eggs don't mean happy chickens. Having my own chickens has shown me happy chickens. They are interesting creatures to be sure.