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Activism Green Living Healthy Living

1 in 4 Meat Packages Tainted with Pathogenic Bacteria

www.mypicshares.com

Tainted meat is available everywhere…grocery stores, restaurants, schools, hospitals, prisons…you name it. And it’s all over the news this week and last week – NY Times, NPR, Food Safety News, Sauk Valley News, The News Tribune, Daily FinanceBellingham Herald, and many others. And you know when mainstream news outlets start reporting news items like this, the problem is an epidemic.

This is not a new problem. In 2008, the largest meat recall in history (to that date) was issued, as reported by many different outlets – again, so it’s not like people weren’t made aware of this issue.

Other nationwide meat recalls were issued in 2010 such as the one from Rudolph Foods Company, Inc. in California (205 pounds in January),  Huntington Meat Packing Inc. in California (4.9 million pounds in February),  Zemco Industries in New York (380,000 pounds in August), and there were many, many more.

What’s wrong with the meat?

In short, animals and birds are raised and processed in the most abhorrent conditions possible. They are cramped into close quarters, many of them indoors for most of their lives, and are not given access to sunshine and the ability to roam and graze, and behave naturally. They are fed unnatural substances that are treated with dangerous chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, and come from genetically-modified organisms like soy, corn, grain, and other toxic silage and substances (in some cases, tainted meat by-particles and products).  Animals are given hormones to make them grow faster and antibiotics, and birds get antibiotics “to keep them healthy”.

Cattle are not supposed to consume anything but grass because they are ruminants, which means their digestive systems are designed to process grass. Healthy cattle on pasture produce superior, healthy meat.

Animals become sick from living in these conditions and the result is pathogenic bacteria that our bodies simply cannot fight off. As a result, bacteria  like Staphylococcus aureus prevail. According to news sources, “proper cooking” kills these bacteria, but do you really want to eat something you have to cook the life out of in order to consume? And if you don’t cook it enough…well, you just never know what might happen. If you get sick, you won’t be able to successfully treat it with antibiotics because these pathogens are RESISTANT to commonly-used drugs like amoxicillin and penicillin. We’ve abused their use for so long…using them for prevention and for everything under the sun, instead of letting our bodies fight illness naturally.  Commercial farming uses antibiotics liberally on animals and birds to as a preventative measure, and animals receive daily doses of antibiotics in feed their entire lives, from birth until death. It’s no wonder these bacteria are as powerful as they are now.

When we eat this food, we get sick.  We’re eating bacteria, genetically-modified organisms, pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics…all of it negatively impacts our health. It may not happen today, but it could be next week, next year, or longer. But the more these practices occur and the more we eat this food, the more you’ll be hearing about people getting sick and dying from degenerative or sudden illness that is caused by consuming it.

So why aren’t people waking up yet?

There are many reasons…

  • People believe they are too busy and harried in their everyday lives to go somewhere else besides the grocery store
  • They genuinely can’t afford it or just don’t want to spend the extra money or make time to find better sources of meat
  • There is a widespread belief that we can’t possibly feed everyone sustainably and the factory farm model is “essential” to feeding the world
  • There are folks who simply don’t think it’s an issue (or as I’ve heard some say, “it’s just a scare tactic of the news media”)

It’s frustrating to hear people say they can’t afford to eat healthy because they:

  • believe that if they can’t go all organic, they might as well not even try at all
  • believe organic foods are too expensive, and in some cases they are referring to packaged, processed organic foods (which are not much healthier and are certainly very expensive!)
  • believe that good food is entirely out of their reach, but perhaps have money for vacations, hobbies, or other things that aren’t absolutely necessary

But it’s not impossible!

Please understand: my comments here are not a judgment toward people who don’t eat organic food.  Every family’s situation is unique. And don’t get me wrong, I do realize it costs more to buy healthy food, and with our sinking economy and fewer and fewer jobs, it’s certainly difficult.  The purpose of this post is to make aware this issue, and more importantly, to acknowledge that many of us are in the same boat - short on money and living paycheck to paycheck (sometimes FAR between). And yet, many people on budgets are figuring out ways to spend less and eat healthy. Remember that doing something is far better than nothing…and if you don’t have your health, you really don’t have much of anything at all.

Living on a budget and eating good quality meat and other foods CAN be done. And from what I know about meat and how the body digests and processes it – meat and meat products are some of the most critical foods NOT to skimp on because our bodies store these substances in our cells and they are harder for the body to detoxify.

Read this post from last year about the subject of cheap food, and how those up-front, somewhat lower costs you pay at the grocery store for a box of cereal, package of lunch meat, crackers, or container of sugary yogurt don’t account for the hidden costs of eating industrial food. If you figure out how much per pound you are spending on these foods, it makes a $3.99 per pound whole, pasture-raised chicken look pretty darn cheap!

And, don’t forget all the sickness, doctor visits, missed work and school days, and long-term health issues you incur from eating processed foods with chemicals, fillers, antibiotics, hormones, and other toxic ingredients. Eating healthier food supports health, plain and simple. Makes eating healthy look quite a bit cheaper, doesn’t it?

My own family doesn’t eat everything organic, but we do the best we can. We’ve struggled for years to make ends meet…and now we are about to lose our house. We started a brand new business two years ago when the economy was just starting to slump, and let me tell you, sometimes we go for MONTHS without any paycheck at all. But some things are just way too important, and I put healthy food at the absolute top of that list. We do without many things (and I’m not complaining) so we can continue to eat healthy food. To save money, we buy any foods we can in bulk, we work for our food, or trade when we can. Buying meat by the side is cheaper than buying it piecemeal. And, using all the parts you can from the meat you get – bones, stew meat, organ meats, etc. stretches out the meat you get and is more nutritious.

If you want ideas for eating healthy on a budget, here are some of our past posts on this subject:

3 tips for eating organic on a budget

Food budgets – using creativity and prioritizing for healthy eating

Waste not want not – tips for saving in the kitchen

Proof that real food doesn’t have to cost a bundle, is nourishing, and satisfies!

Many bloggers have written posts about how they manage to feed their families on a limited budget, barter or trade, and use their creativity and prioritizing skills to buy at least some of their food sustainable or organic:

Eat well, spend less: how to spend less money across the U.S. and Canada Kitchen Stewardship

Super-charge the grocery budget – Modern Alternative Mama

Real food on a real budget – Keeper of the Home

Saving money while eating “real food” – Naturally Knocked Up

Real food, frugal food: compromises can save money – Milehimama

Whatever the reasons that are given…it’s pretty apparent to me that eating a hamburger or steak from a restaurant or a grocery store isn’t worth MY life or one of my family member’s lives, or risking that one of us might get sick enough that we won’t come out on the other side in the same condition.

What can YOU do?

It’s way past time to give up our modern ideals about food is produced because it’s convenient and cheap. If, as culture, we decide this issue is not important enough to make a change in their lifestyle and buying habits, then the problem will only continue to get worse as time goes on.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many opportunities in virtually any local area to make satisfying relationships with local farmers who care about sustainable and safe farming practices, and bringing food to their customers. And supporting local farmers who do good for us can change the future for everyone. By buying from local farmers, you are making it possible for them to continue to provide you with healthy foods.

There are also opportunities lurking everywhere to save money, trade, improve your way of life and the future for our environment and earth, and have better health.

There is also the opportunity to grow or raise your own food:

  • Maybe you have some space for a garden or for chickens
  • Maybe you know someone with land who is willing to allow you to raise a steer or have a milk cow
  • Maybe you have been fortunate enough to have a chance to acquire your own land.

Whatever the case, take the opportunities that come your way and use them!

I’m imploring everyoneplease, please, please, reconsider your buying habits if you are still purchasing from the grocery store or other mainstream outlet.

Go into your local community or farmer’s market and find out how your meat is being produced. Make sure your farmer uses mindful practices such as allowing cattle and poultry on pasture, avoiding antibiotics and hormones, and not using harmful chemical toxins like fertilizers and pesticides.

If we don’t change our buying habits and lifestyles soon, this problem will continue to create viruses that will sooner or later, wipe out big portions of our population. In the meantime, it can make us very sick, or cause people we know or care about to become sick or die.

Ask yourself this very important question: is it time to change?

Food recalls why they could mean the end of food as we know it

Huge FDA recall of 10,000 products – another wakeup call to avoid processed foods

The egg recall and why local isn’t necessarily better

Whole and healthy meat…does it really exist?

Activism Green Living Healthy Living Kids & Family

The Truth About Factory Farms – Oppose Bill S.510

www.mypicshares.com

Time is running out. Factory farms are one of the biggest threats to our food supply. The more we understand the enormous impact these operations have on our health and the environment, the more we know that these operations are those who will benefit from the passage of The Food Safety and Modernization Act S.510 – and that if it is voted in, the future for small, sustainable farmers may be over.

The problem is becoming so acute, the American Public Health Association has declared a moratorium on new factory farm facilities. Since 2006, The World Watch Institute has considered factory farms to be “mini Chernobyls” due to the endless amount of pollution created by these operations and emptied out into the air, groundwater, and soil. The damage will only continue to escalate without some type of intervention in the way we allow food to be produced.

Please watch this critical film, A River of Waste: The Truth About Factory Farms:

The problems with these businesses should be so apparent – environmental damage, hazardous working conditions, unsanitary processing methods, contamination of the meat and meat products people eat due to toxic substances using hormones/antibiotics/pesticides/genetically-modified feed, and yet the government chooses to turn a blind eye to continued food recalls coming from these operations, while at the same time has been committing raids and shut-downs on more and more small farms who produce real, healthy, sustainable food.

Read about Morningland Dairy and Estrella Creamery.

These farms were subjected to harassment by the United States Government and forced to close their doors, even in the face of questionable testing procedures and protocol, and despite the fact that no one has ever been reported sick from consumption of these products.

The same cannot be said about commercial and industrially-produced foods.

Contacting your state senators now is more important than ever, we are in the last few hours before votes go through. Votes may be cast on Monday, November 29th for this horrendous bill that could irrevocably alter the future of our food!

Please let your legislative body know you oppose  The Food Safety and Modernization Act Bill S.510 because of how it will first limit and then eventually shut down small, sustainable farmers.

Go to Congress.org, type in your zip code, and contact the congressmen and women listed there to make a difference!

The FDA has been granted more power than ever to tell states how to conduct themselves, and it is critical that we make our voices heard in this matter. When you call your senators, you’ll most likely get a staff member on the line. Tell them to please let your senator or any other senator you are calling to reach that you would like for him or her to vote:

  • “No” on cloture,
  • “Yes” on the Coburn substitute,
  • “Yes” on the Managers’ substitute bill, if Coburn fails
  • “No” on the overall bill.

The more you know about the Food Safety Modernization Act S.510, the more evident it becomes that this bill is the WRONG approach to taking care of food safety.  If you have been following food recalls in the news and read about the origins of the food that is being recalled, you will find again and again that these products all come from industrial and concentrated animal feeding operation environments (factory farms). You will not find any valid food recalls from sustainable farms.

Some people are saying the Tester-Hagan amendment will be the saving grace for this harmful bill, but the entire bill itself contains such damaging language that any part of it will adversely come down on small, sustainable farmers who be rendered effectively unable to compete with larger agricultural operations with more profit and power. In reality, the Tester Amendment may just serve to stall this bill from being passed temporarily, but won’t actually change the fundamental problems inherent in the bill.

This bill is extremely damaging to the entire face of agriculture as we know it – but especially to those who want to grown, produce, eat, and sell safe, healthy, sustainable food.

Talking points (from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund page):

  • FDA has powers under existing law to effectively deal with outbreaks like Wright County Egg. FDA has power to inspect, power to detain product and can readily obtain court orders to seize adulterated or misbranded food products or enjoin them from being sold. The problem isn’t that FDA needs more power; it’s that FDA does not effectively use the power it currently has.
  • S510 will give FDA power to regulate food in intrastate commerce; state and local governments are more than capable of handling any problems related to food in intrastate commerce. All the major outbreaks of foodborne illness involve either imported food or food in interstate commerce.
  • S510 will hurt our ability as a nation to be self-sufficient in food production; it has more lenient inspection requirements for foreign than domestic producers creating an unfair advantage for food imports. Giving an advantage to foreign producers will only increase the amount of food imported into this country that does not meet our domestic standards. As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S. must accept imported food that meets WTO standards, even if those standards are not up to our own. The bill does not address food security; the ability of a country to produce enough food to meet its own needs.
  • S510 will provide a competitive advantage to industrial food producers–the sector of the food system causing most of the food safety problems; they will benefit from this legislation because it will burden small farmers and local producers, the solution to food safety problems in this country.The bill will impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme that will punish local food producers, many of which won’t have the economies of scale to comply with S510’s requirements.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should not be involved in domestic food regulation. The best way to protect our food supply is to decentralize and localize food production. There are already enough problems coordinating on food regulations just between FDA and USDA without bringing DHS into the mix. DHS is a huge disjointed bureaucracy whose employees have little experience in food regulation.
  • S510 gives FDA the power to dictate growers’ practices by establishing national standards for produce; the same standards applying to big firms—where the food safety problems have occurred—will apply as well to small growers who have had no food safety issues. Small growers will be forced to change practices that have produced safe, quality food.
  • Food safety plans can be used to drive small producers out of business for reasons that have nothing to do with food safety; this has been shown by the experience of the meat industry. In that industry, USDA overwhelmed small plants with paperwork requirements, most of which had no connection to safe food; small plants were targeted for a higher number of enforcement actions while there was lax regulation of big plants. There’s nothing in the bill preventing the same thing from happening to small producers subject to the S510 food safety plan requirement.

Click here to let your congressmen and women know how you feel about S510. Fill in your zip code in the box on the right and contact your local state senators.

Click here to sign the petition to reject S.510 and make your voice heard – push back and let your congressmen and women know you won’t allow our freedom and rights to real food disappear!

Click here to go to the National Health Freedom Action page and read more information about how damaging this bill is and how to contact your senators to oppose it!

Read more:

Woman Poisoned by Pesticides Speaks Out on S.510

How The FDA Can Use S.510 to Close Down Raw Milk Dairies

Photo from Victoria by Liberation Photography.