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Healthy Living Healthy Meat Kids & Family Real Food Toxin Alert!

In ‘n Out Burger Cancels Contract with Plant Found Processing Downer Cattle

www.mypicshares.com
This week the news has been splattered with reports about downer cattle discovered at Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford, California, a processing plant which supplies up to 30% of the meat used by fast-food chain In ‘n Out Burger, and also to the U.S. school lunch and emergency food programs.  This establishment, known by its slogan ‘quality you can taste‘  is now facing a publicity nightmare.

Watch the ABC news report

What was shown in an undercover video produced by animal rights group Compassion Over Killing in June and July of this year is that there were animals being poked, proded, and who could barely stand or walk. Federal law prohibits the use of meat from animals that cannot walk on their own for processing.

Ho hum, you might think. Food recalls happen everyday and packing plants are getting shut down pretty frequently. True. However, if you look on the FDA Food Recall list you can see just why the U.S. food system, touted by its defenders such as politicians, big wigs at the FDA, CDC, and USDA, and “food safety” experts from medical and health authorities as being “the safest in the world”, it’s obvious that our system is anything but safe.

“But”, you might argue, “I eat out at restaurants pretty regularly and I’m just fine. “ So why should you care? Sure, maybe you’ve gotten away with doing this for some time and things have been all right. But what about that time that you got sick because you ate at the local drive in or maybe your favorite Chinese restaurant that serves General’s Chicken? So maybe you get food poisoning a few times a year. It’s no big deal. Normal, even…right?

Not really.  As a culture, we’ve grown so accustomed to food recalls, food poisoning, and chronic health issues we don’t really give a second thought to the idea that maybe the food we’re eating is causing more problems than we realize. Consuming industrial foods are now being linked to many different health issues such as antibiotic resistance and the development of superbug viruses such as Salmonella, E. coli, MRSA, Enterococcus, and Campylobacter, yeast overgrowth, heart disease, obesity, cancer, and many other degenerative diseases.

Food poisoning is not something that is normal or that we “should get” regularly. Some years ago when I was eating out a lot and not paying attention to my diet, I had food poisoning 1-3 times a year, whether it was a terrible upset stomach, diarrhea, or all out vomiting for 12 hours or more.

Since I changed my diet and eat mostly real food from safe sources, I haven’t had food poisoning in at least 7 years, maybe longer. During this time, it was common for me to have bowel irregularities, stomach cramps, bloating, and feeling bad in general. And I thought that was normal. It now very rare that I have a mild upset stomach or  nausea, and most of the time I feel great. So when I hear about people I know with “stomach flus” and digestive distress, I remember very well how it used to be. No fun.

Why does factory farmed food make us sick?

  • The food we eat from these facilities, whether it’s from a restaurant or store is filled with preservatives, fillers, dyes and colors, and other chemicals that are harmful to human health on many levels.
  • The food is nutritionally imbalanced because it’s grown or produced in the most unnatural ways – as is evidenced by the video footage from the packing plant supplying meat to In ‘n Out Burger. Many foods are irradiated, heat-treated or pasteurized, extruded, or highly processed in some manner that removes colors, flavor, and nutrition. Then food companies add back in synthetic nutrients and chemicals that give food the right texture and flavor so people will eat it. But it’s completely devoid of anything good or natural for our bodies, and is mostly lacking in any easily-absorbed nutrients.
  • Factory meats contain residue from antibiotics & hormones to make them grow faster than normal to increase business profits, and also  residue from pesticides and herbicides used on the feed consumed.  These substances are linked to many health issues including digestive problems, yeast overgrowth, antibiotic resistance, hormonal and endocrine problems, weight issues, and much more.
  • Cattle and other animals are not on pasture, and are crammed into too-small quarters, standing on dirt or cement, and within close proximity of excrement piles or standing cesspools of feces. The feces is supposed to be used as fertilizer, but you wouldn’t want anything you are eating to be fertilized with this stuff. Because it comes from sick animals, it’s not healthy to use on anything. But it gets used on crops and also ends up running off into other areas such as waterways and land and seeps into our groundwater. It’s a contaminant and makes people sick. Have you heard about spinach, tomatoes, or watermelon recalls in recent years? That’s thanks to contamination from disease such as E. coli and Salmonella from factory farms.
  • Cattle are fed something besides grass and hay (which is what they are meant to consume) such as corn, soy, grain, and are genetically modified (GMOs).  Among other problems, consuming these feeds causes the nutritional content of this meat to be too high in Omega 6s, which contribute to inflammation in the body.

The news reports say In ‘n Out Burger has canceled their contract with the offending CA meat packing plant. ABC News also stated that this packing plant does not only supply In ‘n Out Burger and the school and emergency systems with meat, but other businesses and entities as well.

At this point, 3 very important questions need to be asked:

1)  Should In ‘n Out Burger, who claims to pay a premium price for “quality meat”, be given kudos for ending their relationship with the meat packing company that broke the law?

2) Will In ‘n Out Burger sign a contract with yet another processing plant that has unsafe and inhumane practices?

3)  After the offending meat plant “cleans up their act”, will it then be “safe” to purchase meat from restaurants and grocery stores that have a contract with this company? 

Here’s the reality of this situation: most meat comes from factory farm settings, and simply because the cattle found there are not staggering and unable to walk does not mean the meat produced there is safe to consume. And, just because your favorite fast food joint doesn’t get their meat from this particular plant in CA with downer cattle does not mean they don’t get their meat from a facility that doesn’t use unsafe and unhealthy practices. Downer cattle are not the only factors which make meat from factory farms unhealthy to consume.

Another critical point: because food companies and establishment get busted by the FDA does not mean we have to stop eating meat. You’ll hear many voices from animal activist groups, health groups, and others proclaiming that this is why meat is so harmful for us, causes high cholesterol, cancer, heart disease, and so on.

Animal and environmental activists will prey on your emotions by saying that animals are getting murdered and are suffering mercilessly at the hands of big corporations (which they are), and that all meat farming is devastating to the environment. They will  attempt to persuade you with false studies and infamous books like The China Study by T. Colin Campbell about how all meat is bad for your health, and that you should avoid it as much as possible.

But don’t be fooled. There is a better way, a more natural way practiced for thousands of years by traditional populations around the world. Healthy meat from animals and birds raised humanely, and from natural environments is not only okay to eat, but critical to our health and the environment  – as described by Joel Salatin, sustainable food activist, grassfed farmer and author of various books on the subject.

The solution should be clear:

Choose sustainable meat from healthy, happy animals and birds raised on pasture

Learn why not all meat is harmful to our health 

Questions to ask your farmer – know what’s in your food!

A great rebuttal of The China Study from Denise Minger

 

More information on food recalls and factory farmed foods:

1 in 4 meat packages tainted with pathogenic bacteria 

Nina Planck talks candidly about industrial food

Is cheap food really cheap? The hidden costs of industrial food

Industrial meat and pink slime: more recalls = drug resistance

Healthy Living Healthy Meat Real Food Toxin Alert!

Deceptions in the Food Industry: Applegate Organic & “Natural Meats”

www.mypicshares.com

I love bacon. It’s one of life’s most wonderful pleasures. I love to eat it with eggs from pastured hens cooked sunny side up or over easy, in plenty of Kerrygold butter.

When you go to the store, there are many products on the shelves claiming to be healthy and natural. It’s overwhelming  just how many there are, and confusing to the unaware consumer.

Applegate Organic & Natural Meats (formerly Applegate Farms) sells different meat products including sliced turkey, chicken, roast beef, ham, bacon, hot dogs, sausages, and salami. Yes, there are many other companies selling products claiming to be a healthy choice which really aren’t…or, facts about the product are concealed, and if you really knew the truth, you may change your mind about buying the product.

This brand happens to be one of those I keep seeing everywhere as one that many people seem to trust, even when many others are rejected. It’s a “compromise” brand that a lot of people seem to believe is better than many conventional meat products.

Their slogan “changing the meat we eat” implies that the meat they sell is different from other choices on the market. Their labels tell the consumer that their products:

  • come from animals and birds receiving no antibiotics, no hormones
  • are gluten and casein free (the proteins found in wheat and dairy that are highly irritating and indigestible to those who have digestive problems and sensitivity)
  • are low-fat
  • are “humanely raised”

For some years, I thought this brand was a better alternative than some. Unfortunately, there are times where I  will buy the Applegate organic variety of meats.  I either buy their bacon, or we don’t have bacon.  Because we only have it once a week or so, it’s a compromise. But I don’t like it.

Where I live (Boise, ID), there are no better alternatives for traditionally cured meats such as ham, bacon, or salami.  None of the local farmers around here are able to produce these meats without using some type of nitrate.

So, is Applegate really changing anything, or is it just an illusion?

What Dr. Weston A. Price learned about real food and healthy populations

One of the things many modern food companies – and the mainstream health system – try to convince us of is that we need less fat, cholesterol, and calories.  If you look at the work of Dr. Weston A. Price, author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, he discovered in the 1930s by traveling the world that all healthy populations consumed TEN times the amount of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K2) from sustainable-raised animals and birds, raised in natural environments with no chemicals, pesticides, hormones or GMOs. People in these populations consumed a lot of animal fat – fatty meat, poultry, and fish, butter, lard, tallow, ghee, dairy products.

So, even though modern doctors and health experts tell us to avoid fat and cholesterol, this is false information. And the truth is coming out about this big lie; current research shows why health authorities have been wrong about this all along.  Fat and cholesterol are extremely important for good health.

Dr. Price found no successful plant-based societies.  Dr. Price never said vegetables weren’t good for us, just that there were no healthy societies that avoided meat or animal fat and thrived on plant-based foods. Dr. Price discovered the healthy populations consumed animal products and they also consumed properly prepared foods that were soaked, sprouted, fermented, and soured. That includes grains, dairy, nuts, soy, vegetables, meats, fish, and other foods. By and large, we don’t eat food like this today. It’s no wonder we have health and digestive issues that are so rampant.

Compare what Dr. Price found in the 1930s with how meat is raised today. Most meat comes from feedlots and factory farm environments. Are Applegate meats and poultry raised in feedlot environments? We don’t know for sure. But, even as the labeling goes, it’s possible to discern that Applegate isn’t as natural as they claim to be.

This post on Mark’s Daily Apple touches on this subject and mentions that an individual on the Paleohacks site contacted Applegate to learn more about their grassfed meat claim on the label, only to discover that when grassfed is not available from one of their farms, they use grain-fed beef.

Most grain-fed cattle are housed on feedlots. So the likelihood of the meat coming from a factory farm is definitely not out of the question. Even if those cattle spent the previous period of their lives on pasture, the fact that they were on a feedlot anywhere from 90-120 days before slaughter diminishes health benefits significantly.

Vegetarian fed

Animals and birds slaughtered for Applegate products are “vegetarian fed” (excluding the “grass-fed” hotdogs and roast beef lunch meat, although we have no proof that these are actually grassfed and grass finished).

Vegetarian fed means the animals or birds consume soy, corn, and grains. Cattle are ruminants and are not designed to eat anything but grass, and a very SMALL amount of grains, if any, that might grow naturally in the pasture or field. When cattle eat these substances, it causes an acidic environment in their digestive tracts, creating inflammation and illness.

Cows, pigs, and poultry birds need open access to grazing, foraging, sunshine, and vital nutrients found in the outdoors from sun and eating grasses, plants, and for birds, eating worms and insects. This is why meat from healthy sources is so much higher in nutrients and in particular, the fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K2 – essential for all aspects of health including bone, cardiovascular, brain and nervous system, immunity, and digestion.

Many farmers use antibiotics, to “prevent” disease. But antibiotics don’t prevent disease. In fact, they make matters worse by weakening the immune system and causing yeast overgrowth and other problems. They also cause antibiotic-resistance. So, even though Applegate meats don’t contain antibiotics, the animals and birds are still fed inflammatory and disease-causing feed.

Pigs, chicken, turkeys, and other animals that are vegetarian fed – even if it is organic, are still eating soy, corn, and possibly some grains. The U.S. currently grows and cultivates a huge amount of grain, soy and corn crops for the purposes of feeding livestock.

GMO-sourced feed

Many of  the crops grown for animal feed come from GMO sources. There are currently no labeling laws for GMOs.  Some Applegate products are not organic, and many of them are labeled “Natural” even though they are fed GMOs.  Residue from these feeds are passed from animal to human when you consume feedlot meats (dairy and eggs too, for that matter) from these sources.

Even if GMOs didn’t exist, animals and birds fed soy, organic or not, are not going to be healthy. Soy is highly processed, contains a lot of estrogen, is a goitrogen (thyroid and hormone damaging), and is a nutrient inhibitor and pulls or leaches minerals out of the body due to its phytic acid content. These kinds of diets, coupled with not enough exposure to the outdoors and sunshine cause a nutritional imbalance in the meat and poultry. These meats end up with higher Omega 6 fatty acids – currently what people in developed countries such as the U.S. have too much of in their diets. This causes inflammation and disease in the body of animals or birds, and those consuming their meat, and subsequently, those consuming it.

MSG

Most Applegate Meat products contain hidden MSG. Carageenan, another name for MSG used by the food industry, is a highly processed food additive that comes from seaweed, but by no means resembles the naturally occurring glutamate that occurs in plants. This substance is formally classified as a potential carcinogen to human beings by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization).

Read this post The ingredient allowed in organic food that can cause cancer from The Healthy Home Economist about carageenan.

Hidden nitrates

Nitrates and nitrites are used by the industrial food industry in meats to “cure” and preserve them, for longer shelf life and prevent the development of Clostridium Botulinum, the bacterium which causes botulism. Applegate  packaging claims to have “no nitrates”, and yet they use this ingredient in many of their meats such as hotdogs, turkey, bacon, and ham.

Celery root or celery juice powder, used in Applegate products, is still a nitrate even if it’s not the synthetic sodium nitrate. Plant concentrates of natural nitrates are even higher than the synthetic, because they are compounded and isolated in a laboratory to include more nitrates than you would naturally get from just eating a stalk of celery. Do you know how many stalks of celery you’d have to eat to get the amount of natural nitrates in an Applegate serving of meat? A lot! You’d never eat that much at once.

Here’s what Weston A. Price Foundation has to say about natural nitrates/nitrites:

“As far as your body’s chemistry is concerned and for the curing process, a nitrate is a nitrate is a nitrate. It doesn’t matter if it is a chemically produced nitrate or nitrate from celery juice powder. So the notion that uncured bacon has no added nitrates or nitrites is completely false advertising; on the contrary, they are loaded with nitrates.

Now here’s where it starts to get a little crazy. There is no way to gauge how much nitrate is in celery juice powder. Conventional bacon production uses chemical nitrate so they know exactly how much is added to the pork for curing, based on parts per million. In fact when chemical nitrates are utilized the FDA and USDA mandate how much the processor can put into the bacon, how little they can put in and how much is left over. However because celery juice powder is considered a natural additive, there are no restrictions or mandates to follow. It’s as though the nitrates were never added. When it comes to how much nitrate is being added to uncured bacon with celery juice it’s a complete crapshoot. It’s a loophole that gives the meat producers one less inspector looking over their shoulder but leaves the door wide open for possible health issues.

In 2010, Cook’s Illustrated tested different types of bacon and found that two brands of “nitrate-free” bacon had significantly more nitrates than their conventional counterparts. The residual levels in the “uncured” bacons tested were all above the allowed levels in the conventional way of processing. So the very same nitrate level that everyone is trying to avoid by purchasing the uncured bacon is above, sometimes well above, that contained in the conventional brands.”

If the meat cures for long periods of time – such as salami and other cured meat products that cure for anywhere from a month up to a year, over that time, sodium nitrites convert to harmless nitric oxide (NO). This leaves only residual amounts of nitrites. With uncured meats, no extended curing process occurs. When you eat uncured meats, you receive a full dose of of sodium nitrite because these meats go from the processing facility to the grocery store and then to your kitchen.  Higher amounts of nitrates are naturally found in uncured bacon via celery juice powder. So what is actually happening is that you consume large and dangerous amounts of sodium nitrites.

Some people have experienced an adverse reaction called cyanosis. Cyanosis occurs when a lack of oxygen in the blood is present. Symptoms include a bluish tint to the skin, feeling as though you cannot breathe, and even feelings of death.  Unless there is some underlying issue such a blood clot or related problem, after eliminating the suspected cause of the problem – bacon or other meat with the celery root powder in it – people’s symptoms disappear.

From Naturally cured meats; Quality, Safety, and chemistry:

“Cyanosis caused by ingesting sodium nitrite or nitrite containing food has been reported throughout medical literature (Aquanno, Chan & 8 Dietzler, 1981; Bakshi, Fahey & Pierce, 1967; Barton, 1954; Bradberry, Gazzard & Vale, 1994; Harvey, Cave & Chanwai, 1976; Oppé, 1951; Simon, 1966; Walley & Flanagan, 1987; Wilson, 1976).”

A similar thing occurs when you drink a glass of juice. You are getting the juice of 8-10 oranges, but no nutrients, it’s all sugar. When you eat Applegate meats with natural nitrates (celery powder), you are getting the effect of  compounded nitrates that you’d eat from a lot more celery than you’d ever consume at one time. This is not natural, and the food industry persists in using these tactics to fool consumers into thinking they are doing something better for themselves by eating these products instead of others on the market which are probably about the same. In this case, the compounded nitrates from celery powder are actually worse.

Here’s a New York Times article about celery powder used in preserving commercial meats. While I don’t agree with some of the commentary in this article about salt or saturated fats, I do agree with their overall assessment that nitrates in any form are harmful to human health. Apparently, some of the companies in this article (Organic Prairie) attempted to sell the same product to people without any nitrates or celery juice powder and no one wanted them.

The best way to cure meat is with salt, the traditional method that has been used for thousands and thousands of years by many populations on the planet. These meats are delicious and people have consumed them for a long, long time with no ill effects.

Don’t let mainstream food producers fool you with slick marketing and label claims. Applegate  claims to be a more natural choice, but when you look at their ingredients and realize just what’s in their products, it becomes plain that their food is just as processed and unnatural as many other products on the market.

If you want to learn more about how to find good, local foods from sustainable producers, read Questions to Ask Your Farmer – Know What’s in Your Food!

More Deceptions in the Food Industry topics:

All-natural

Lean meats

Low-sodium and no salt added

Omega 3s

No MSG