Friday, April 11, 2008

Beef! What's it having for dinner?

This is why you should limit your online time. I started out reading an email asking me for a favor (completely unrelated to food in any way). And the next thing you know, I'm clicking in to this story. The video is by the subject of the article. I've disjointedly quoted the articl below:

The early 20th Century was, in retrospect, a golden era for food-production animals. Cows grazed on grass, traipsing the bucolic pastures of family-owned farms. Chickens strutted about the barnyard, pecking contentedly at their mostly corn-based meals (the lucky clucker might occasionally happen upon a worm). The arrival of factory farming in the Twenties increased production, widened availability, and reduced the price of fowl. It also represented the beginning of the end for family ranching.

When fast foods arrived in the early Sixties, the clamor for beef and poultry spiked, and so did demand. Industrial facilities with highly automated production methods were required to meet these new needs.

Enormous feedlots needed massive quantities of high-protein rations that could fatten and speed growth at the lowest possible cost. Expansive slaughterhouses had to find an inexpensive way to dispose of waste.

Mitchell found an FDA registration form listing 26 categories of feeds — including one for "Recycled Animal Waste Products" — and sought information about the companies producing it, "assuming it would be public information — or obtainable by a Freedom of Information Act request." He was astonished when Shannon Jordre, a liaison between the FDA and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), told him the agency would not release this data because "it had been classified as a homeland security issue."

Real stuff like a 1984 "manual" put out by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations called Feed from Animal Wastes, which details precisely how to process manure into dinner for farm animals. "This is the actual recipe book," beams Mitchell, holding aloft the 214-page publication as if it were the Holy Grail. "Martha Stewart gone mad."

It is indeed Martha-esque, the way just a few simple ingredients can be turned into 171 nifty serving ideas. Surprise your bovines with a scrumptious tropical blend of chicken feces and pineapple cannery run-off! Gastronomic flourishes notwithstanding, the cookbook concedes,"Animal wastes may not be equal in all ways to the feeds they replace."

What we don't know can hurt us. The USDA calculates that during summer months, up to 50 percent of feedlot cattle carry E. coli, which translates to an average plant processing 150 to 200 infected cows every hour (though not all are strains of O157:H7, which is the killer).

Ironically it is because of the BSE (Mad Cow) scare that fecal matter is being used more to feed animals. Public fears about the disease the same year prodded the FDA to ban many of the meat industry's previous bargain breakfasts — like brain tissue, spinal cords, and euthanized cats and dogs, millions of which were annually purchased from shelters to be ground into feed.

Things work in a cycle: The use of antibiotics in food-production animals speeds up development of drug-resistant bacteria in humans. So antibiotics used on people, aimed at curing illnesses caused by eating contaminated meat, become ineffective because of antibiotics used on animals to prevent them from becoming contaminated.

Now if you havent had lunch yet, read the whole article(or maybe you should read before lunch).


Amber said...

Tomatoes are so good to eat.
Tomatoes- they are really neat.
Sometimes veggie, sometimes fruit.
Tomatoes never make you toot.

Anonymous said...

We all should have listened to John Titor

Anonymous said...

Read my book entitled, "Why I Hate Every Jew!"

Jimmy Carter

Anonymous said...

I hate christians, capitalists and gun owners.

Senator Michael T. Obama (D-KS)

Anonymous said...

May the cows drink a quality barely based beer! Save the gluten crap for the sports fans.


Anonymous said...

should you come down with an illness, pray you can pass yourself off as an undocumented immigrant.