Tag Archives: Mad Cow

How do humans know what’s edible? Nature or nuture? Pink Slime vs GMOs

Is fellatio by nature homoerotic?SO I am going to brave the hypothesis that you can write about Twinkies without having to eat one. Actually I discovered Twinkie image aversion easily overcomes Twinkie the concept, and I don’t just mean examples like the phallic Strangelove Slim Pickens hat tip at right, excuse me? Even to look at the dubiously baked confections is unappetizing, so why do we think they’re edible? This might be a recurring quandary of mine to which short term memory blinds me. Why don’t we try to eat dirt? (Easy for a well fed person to ask.) Where do we get a hunger for breakfast cereals, but not processed pet food? Why do humans stop consuming a fruit at the seed or rind, yet question why those discards fail to interest animal life too? Taste? We grasp that fire consumes nutrients, a toaster sometimes terminally, but how do industrial processes blur how we discern between live food and dead? Is it box art? Which grocery aisle? Sugar and butter are both edible and inedible, with flour it’s the reverse –never mind, that’s not what I meant to write about, I wanted to address the sudden Soylent Greening of PINK SLIME.
I know that vegetarians deride animal flesh for being inhumanely unsavory, but since when have “food activists” been motivated by what’s “gross”? Exactly. Gross has yet to stop sausage makers, and obviously the “Pink Slime” assault on ground beef production is food industry astrotruf. It’s a PR back-burn against the real public outcry, the wildfire of resistance to Genetically Modified GMO Frankenfoods.

The Famous burger not most famous

Burger from The FamousOnce again COLORADO SPRINGS STYLE nominates THE FAMOUS for the city’s best burger. It ran against the usual lineup of respectable dining establishments plus King’s Chef, the token dive, but there were notable omissions worth pointing out. At the crux, The Famous grinds their own hamburger from bits trimmed from nonpareil $40 steaks, but we’re talking Iowa corn-fed variety, not prairie grass fed beef. You can find a free-range burger at Adams Mountain, which is listed, and Manitou’s The Keg, which is not. The health aspect is a first omission that might have informed local diners immeasurably.

Ranch Foods Direct, and their packing house on the west side, is a regional wholesaler of sustainable, safe meat. But they supply only a few local joints, from The Blue Star to Cy’s Drive-in, to Barney’s. If their burgers didn’t make the culinary grade, I think it’s worth noting they are orders of magnitude healthier than what the others are serving. Get that word out, and those restaurants charging $12.95 for a burger will allocate some of their cost to better beef.

Conways Red Top was also overlooked, whose burger is arguably Colorado Springs’ most famous. Red Top’s giant burger had its own chapter in Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation. The local chain was praised for its favorable labor practices and better food sources, in comparison to its fast food competitors. Red Top has since made some compromises with its hamburger patties, but they’re still a local favorite. I remember once taking some Norb’s Whole Burgers from carryout to a Spring Spree park event downtown. Amid brats and roast turkey legs, Hawaiian tacos and the usual concession fare, everyone wanted what we were having.

Thankfully STYLE ignored the fast food chains, the ceaseless Carl’s Junior ad barrage notwithstanding. Likewise there was no dwelling on the corporate theme restaurants for whom the better burger is a raison d’etre. Those omissions, if you’re avoiding the mad-cow feed-lots, meet our approval.

Korean education system beats US

Forty thousand demonstrate in Korea against US beefThe next time you are in a line of cars wrapped around a fast food outlet showing your interest for a burger. Consider this photograph. These are forty thousand lit candles, held by 40,000 South Koreans who do not want American beef allowed into their food chain. Many nations ban US meat because of its probable Mad Cow contamination, but Korea is being coerced into accepting it, against the will of the Korean people. These 40,000 assembled in the streets not only to protest against the toxic meat, but to block the trucks from removing the poisonous US food product from where it had been safely quarantined.

No more reporting on the beef recall?

Suspect beef product ON HOLD on school shelvesThe largest beef recall in history has taught us what, so far? That 37 million pounds went to the USDA school lunch program, which was distributed to schools unknown. We quietly presume the USDA had been pawning off the questionable product to the poor and dismissible among our population. But why won’t they release the names of the schools? In whispered tones with food program insiders, you learn why. Because the USDA product goes to ALL schools. (NOTE: Corpus Christi School found the recalled meat on their shelves and made the switch to a safer supplier, shouldn’t your school do the same?)

While all or any of the Colorado schools may have taken delivery of the Hallmark suspect product, the USDA school food program in Colorado gets the bulk of its meat from Advanced Meatpacking out of Oklahoma. Advanced is regarded by industry watchers as likely worse than Hallmark. We’re not talking about the tip of an iceberg, we’re [not] talking about the as yet largely unexposed large underbelly of American factory farming.

What’s so bad about US meat that foreign markets won’t buy it? Our government regulators won’t test it adequately. Individual meatpackers who want to submit their product for voluntary testing are prevented by the USDA, for fear of creating a stigma around non-tested meat.

Other countries test their 100% of their herd animals for BSE. They also prohibit the feeding of rendered animals to other animals. This is the process by which BSE spreads. The US does not prohibit the use of rendered feed. US calves are raised on a diet of milk and blood: milk fortified with the blood of their predecessors. It redefines “adulterated” I think.

US methods to prevent mad cow disease resemble more the measures necessary not to see it. The official word is that the USA doesn’t have mad cow disease. Cattle which display the traits resembling mad cow disease in Europe, here are called “downer cows.” Our safety guidelines are thus: keep those cows from reaching the meat packers. Easy enough, unless you run across slaughterhouse workers with the initiate to use forklifts and chains to harvest downed cows like any other. Then you need video cameras to catch them.

But video cameras cannot catch the biggest flaw in this screening process. Most cattle infected with BSE do not begin to show symptoms until after they are two years old. Most cattle in the US reach the slaughterhouse before they are two.

Even with a breach of our paltry preventive procedures, the USDA is still unwilling to say their prescribed screening is insufficient.

Perhaps the USDA fears that implementing European testing standards would reveal a huge chunk of US beef to be tainted with mad cow. This would profoundly impact the food industry and our economy as a whole. Perhaps a few thousand CJD fatalities five years from now is a small price to pay for stability now. Besides, those in the know have money to buy organic beef from verifiable sources. The prosperity of the market has always been borne on the backs and at the expense of the common mortal. CJD means fewer to reach retirement.

Newspapers don’t want to touch this subject, many of their advertisers are restaurants which can’t afford to deal in the more expensive meats. Alternative news-weeklies rely on supermarkets for their distribution sites.

(NOTE: Except Ralph Routon and the Independent, March 6)

No one wants to shake consumer confidence in the food supply. The problem extends beyond beef, beyond poultry, beyond farmed fish, beyond ocean fisheries, beyond imported produce, beyond domestic agribusiness, beyond pesticides, irradiation and biogenetics. So the media is not going to start with any of it. As it is with the American health care system, your health is up to you.

By the way, most of the meat being recalled has already been consumed. Of what’s left, the USDA is only asking schools to set it aside for the time being. It is being neither recalled, nor destroyed. Probably it would be too alarming to ask cafeteria workers to destroy what only a day before they had been serving up for their kids for years.

This is good news for you, if you want to find out which schools were serving the bad meat. You still have a chance to call those responsible for the food service at your child’s school. Public or private, I assure you the probability is similar. Ask them if they’ve got the recalled Hallmark stock on hold.

How many BSE burgers did the kids eat?

What is the extent of the current beef recall? I’ve read that 143 million pounds of beef corresponds to two hamburger patties for each man, woman and child in America. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy That’s the meat of questionable safety produced by the Westland Meat Packing operation in Chino, California since February 1st, 2006, most of it already consumed, and we’re reminded, there’s no need to panic. Why did the USDA set the date at Feb 1st, if only because some of that product is still on the shelves? Since what actual date is Westland thought to have been putting “downed” cows into the food supply?

The Humane Society tried to get the attention of California law enforcement in January, based on a video they’d obtained late last year. We could presume that the Hallmark Slaughterhouse was already coercing downed cattle into its lines which is what prompted the undercover activist to bring a camera in the first place. How long were the scapegoated workers, with their forklifts, chains and water hoses circumventing USDA regulations? How many BSE burgers would that make, per each of us?

The sum total ground beef patties through Jack-in-the-Box, In-N-Out, Regal, King Meats, and the Federal School Lunch Program would be hard to calculate. The task remains to find out who were the 150 school districts receiving the 27 million pounds of BSE contaminated meat.

State school lunch programs which use meat product from WestlandSince not everyone is eating from school cafeterias, we are left to calculate how many times more BSE burgers or BSE pepper steaks each of the exposed kids would have had to consume among themselves.

No need for alarm, but let’s clarify what the AP is reporting: Downed cattle do not “pose a higher risk of contamination from … mad cow disease because they typically wallow in feces and their immune systems are often weak.” Downed cattle are kept out of our food system because they are symptomatic of having Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly called mad-cow disease.

In Europe, livestock which cannot walk are forbidden from all food systems, including the rendering of carcasses to feed other animals, to prevent BSE from reaching the human food chain. To this end, Europeans test 100% of their herd animals, unlike the US which tests less than 2%, and whose industry uses terms like “downed cows” and “downers” and “non-ambulatory” in lieu of “mad” or BSE. This is why several international markets will not import US beef. Ingestion of meat with BSE leads to the fatal brain-wasting Jakob-Creutzfeldt Disease in humans.

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Here are the products being recalled. (Up next: recalled from whom.)

Various weight boxes of WESTLAND MEAT CO.,
BURRITO FILLING MIX.
PACKED FOR JACOBELLIES SAUSAGE CO., 74/26 GROUND BEEF.
RAW GROUND BEEF MEATBALL MIX FOR FURTHER PROCESSING.
COARSE GROUND BEEF ‘FOR COOKING ONLY’, FAT: 15%.
COARSE GROUND BEEF ‘FOR COOKING ONLY’.
COARSE GROUND BEEF TO BE FURTHER PROCESSED INTO COOKED ITEMS, FAT: 15%.
COARSE GROUND BEEF 85/15.
COARSE GROUND BEEF 93/7.
FINE GROUND BEEF ‘FOR COOKING ONLY’, FAT: 15%.
FINE GROUND BEEF ‘FOR COOKING ONLY’.
90 – 10% GROUND BEEF, 3/16 GRIND.
GROUND BEEF 1 LB. PACKAGE, FAT: 15%.
GROUND BEEF, FAT: 15%.
RAW BONELESS BEEF TRIMMINGS, ‘FOR COOKING ONLY’.
RAW BONELESS BEEF, ‘FOR COOKING ONLY’.
BEEF GROUND 50/50% LEAN.
BEEF GROUND 73/27% LEAN.
BEEF GROUND 81/19% LEAN.
BONELESS BEEF 90/10.
GROUND PORK FOR FURTHER PROCESSING NOT TO EXCEED 30% FAT.

Various weight boxes of PACKED FOR: KING MEAT CO.,
BEEF TRI TIP.
BEEF TOP SIRLOIN BUTT.
BEEF STRIP SIRLOIN.
BEEF RIB EYE LIP-ON.
BEEF PISMO TENDERLOIN.
BEEF O/S SKIRT.
BEEF I/S SKIRT.
BEEF FLANK STEAK.
BEEF BOTTOM SIRLOIN FLAP.
BEEF STRIP LOIN BONE-IN, FURTHER PROCESS 1X1.
BEEF EXPORT RIB 2X2, FURTHER PROCESS.

Various weight boxes of REGAL brand USDA SELECT,
And REGAL brand USDA CHOICE OR HIGHER,
BEEF RIBEYE ROLL LIP-ON.
BEEF PLATE, OUTSIDE SKIRT.
BEEF PLATE, INSIDE SKIRT.
BEEF LOIN, STRIP LOIN, BONELESS.
BEEF LOIN, BOTTOM SIRLOIN BUTT, FLAP, BONELESS.
BEEF LOIN, TOP SIRLOIN BUTT, BONELESS.
BEEF LOIN, TENDERLOIN, FULL, SIDE MUSCLE ON, DEFATTED.
BEEF FLANK STEAK.
BEEF, BOTTOM SIRLOIN BUTT TRITIP BONELESS.

Various weight boxes of HALLMARK MEAT PACKING:
BEEF LIVERS.
BEEF FEET.
BEEF TRIPE.
BEEF REGULAR TRIPE.
BEEF HONEYCOMB TRIPE.
BEEF TAILS.
BEEF CHEEK MEAT.
BEEF TONGUES.
BEEF TONGUE TRIMMINGS.
BEEF BONELESS.
BEEF RIBS.
BEEF HEARTS.
BEEF CHEEKS.
BEEF PLATES.
BEEF SMALL INTESTINES.
BEEF LIPS.
BEEF SPLEENS.
BEEF SALIVARY GLANDS, LYMPH NODES AND FAT [TONGUES].

Six-gallon containers of HALLMARK MEAT PACKING BEEF BILE.

One- and six-gallon containers of HALLMARK MEAT PACKING BEEF BLOOD, .2% SODIUM CITRATE ADDED.

Mad cow in school cafeteria food chain

Downer cows and now called non-ambulatoryIt is the largest recall of beef in our nation’s history, notable also because most of the meat in question has already been consumed, and so can’t be recalled, eaten by children in school cafeterias.

The reasons given by the USDA speak vaguely about animal abuse and downplay the health concern. But why would mistreatment prompt a recall if there wasn’t fear about what’s come through? You have to read between the lines. There are no reported cases of illness, it will take five to seven years before Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease begins eating the brains of the school children.

Prompted by activist videos which show slaughterhouse animal abuse, the USDA is now trying to clean up the meat packing practices at Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. Workers at these California plants were documented moving “downer” cows through the slaughtering process, by kicking, shocking or other cruel means. Not only was this inhumane, it was against the precautions which the USDA has been trying to enforce to keep cattle with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy from getting into the human food chain.

In the UK, cows which can no longer walk for themselves are suspected of Mad Cow Disease, which has been linked to Jakob-Creutzfeldt fatalities in humans. The US meat industry has successfully kept mad cow under wraps on this continent by renaming the symptom “downer cow syndrome,” or in today’s instance, “non-ambulatory” cattle, averting the link to JCD.

Even the BBC is helping to confuse the issue, describing the fear about the Westland/Hallmark downer cows as being more likely to contract BSE, as opposed to being likely to already have it.

The current ban/recall, which affects public food programs in California, and the Jack-in-the-Box and In-And-Out-Burger fast food chains, is about animal abuse, yes, and illegal contraventions of the feeble US preventive measures against Mad Cow. The official statements raise concerns about E. coli and Salmonella. Between the lines you can see the alarm because our system’s only protection against BSE contamination was to keep downed cows out of our food chain. Apparently slaughterhouse operators don’t share that concern. Westland/Hallmark was caught not by the USDA, but by a lone Humane Society camera. Where else are there no cameras to record the beef industry pushing mad cows into the grinder?